Ahh, summer travel plans. The kids are out of school, the mountains and beaches are calling, the temperatures are rising, and the vacation days are set. Summer is a time when memories are made that last a lifetime, adventures are sought with reckless abandon, and long, lazy days spent by the water help us take some sorely needed self-care.
Are you still trying to figure out what to do this summer? Or maybe you had some travel plans, but you need to make changes or cancel entirely? Maybe you were planning a cruise or a trip to Europe? You understand that these measures are necessary for the safety of yourself and everyone else, but you’re still longing to do something with your time off — especially if you can do so safely.
If you’re looking for a different type of vacation, one where you can skip the usual travel hassles and stay safer this summer, maybe it’s time you give RVing a try. While most people are worrying about shifting flights and returning rental cars, taking an RV vacation means you can un-cancel your vacation plans and avoid common travel hassles…
Airports. The long, boring line ups; the bland, overpriced food; three hours spent staring at a wall mural because you wanted to get through security early and relax; those potentially awkward or nerve-racking security screenings. Let’s face it, airports are both stressful and boring at the same time.
Those are all things you don’t have to worry about when you’re traveling by road. When you’re ready to embark, instead of expensive parking with long line ups and endless waiting, you just load your belongings into your RV, hop into the drivers’ seat, and set off. No metal detectors, no baggage checks, no TSA agent keeping you safe by confiscating your water, just a turn of the key and off you go.
Luggage restrictions. Have you ever had to leave behind a part of your daily routine because it won’t fit in a 3oz bottle? Had to explore in inappropriate footwear to avoid checking a bag? Left behind essential travel gear to avoid luggage overage fees? Or worse, have you ever been overweight on your luggage on return because you bought too many souvenirs?
RV travelers only have to worry about cargo limits, often in excess of a thousand pounds. While you should always check to make sure you’re traveling safely by not overloading your RV, you have a lot more flexibility in what you can and can’t bring. Beyond just outerwear and extra shoes, with some RVs, you can even bring along bikes, kayaks, or canoes! The options for what you can bring on your RV adventure are only limited by your imagination.
As an added bonus, if you wish to document your adventure with a fancy camera or other sensitive equipment, no need to worry about how your cargo will be handled. You’ll be loading it personally, and able to access it at any time.
Crowded planes. If you’re worried about your health, or even if you just like personal space, flying may not be the best choice for you right now. Between recycling air and sharing armrests, you’re likely to leave the airplane with more than just a cramp in your neck (and back, and leg…) No one likes to start their vacation by sitting uncomfortably for 3+ hours, up against a stranger.
When you’re traveling in an RV, it’s just you, your travel companions, and the open road. Roomy vehicle seats give you the opportunity to sit comfortably while you’re driving, and the very nature of traveling by road gives you the chance to hop out and stretch your legs at nearly any opportunity.
Imagine being able to stop by roadside attractions, or pull over to snap photos of beautiful vistas. Think of how good it would feel to take a lunchtime hike or stop by the beach for an afternoon because you can. In an RV, how far you travel before you take a break is entirely up to you. Never mind the convenience of traveling with a private washroom!
Immunizations and Visas. For international travel, you often have to book immunizations weeks ahead of time in order to stay safe from local illnesses, especially food- and water-borne illnesses like hepatitis and enterotoxigenic E-Coli (the most common cause of travelers’ diarrhea.) Filing paperwork weeks or months ahead to secure travel Visas can be quite the hassle, often costing additional hundreds of dollars in application and filing fees — especially if you require help.
While many people consider international destinations for their summer vacation, the average American has only visited 12 states right here at home. When you travel in an RV, rather than just choosing a single destination, you’re able to plot a course that could take you on multiple adventures and through multiple states. Imagine being able to check off all of New England or the entire Redwood Forest or the Pacific Coast on a single trip.
Jet lag. Nothing is more familiar to air travelers than the weary-eyed passenger whose internal clock is completely out of whack. Jet lag is a disruption to your circadian rhythm, the technical term for your body’s internal clock, that can occur when you travel across two or more time zones. It happens because your internal clock is out of sync with your new time zone.
Jet lag can leave air travelers feeling drained, tired, irritable, and even slightly disoriented. Veteran flyers often leave a day or two early to allow for the disruption when they’re traveling especially long distances.
While jet-lagged passengers landing overseas may take a few days to get used to their new rhythm, RVers get to adjust to more subtle changes as they travel. It’s rare for an RV traveller to even cross into another time zone on an average day, making “RV lag” something you don’t have to worry about.
Travel advisories. While you shouldn’t be afraid of traveling internationally under normal circumstances, having a travel advisory or ban come into place while traveling can impact your travel experience.
Recently, air travel from Europe for non-US citizens was banned, and flights home to the US jumped to several thousands of dollars overnight. If you have to return home quickly, flights are often costly and hard to secure.
While you’re unlikely to be impacted by a travel ban in an RV unless you cross international borders (like those into Mexico or Canada, for example), if you should have to return home quickly, your highest expense would be a potentially pricier tank of gas.
Right now, with global pandemic fears high, additional restrictions are being placed on travel. Those who travel by RV and remain in the US can also likely avoid some of the bigger risks, including:
Lengthy quarantines on arriving at home. Currently, the minimum self-isolation of 14 days is required for any travelers entering from outside the US, including citizens. If you stay inside of the US and travel in an RV, you won’t be subjected to self-isolation restrictions.
If individual states make the move to ban travel, you likely still have travel options within your state that will allow you to avoid crowds, avoid restrictions, and still have fun.
Crowded transportation hubs like airports, ferry terminals, and train and bus stations. Governments around the world are asking people to avoid gatherings larger than 250 people. Busy transportation hubs can contain thousands or even tens of thousands of people at any given time, all traveling from various locations with varying degrees of risk.
If you’re traveling in an RV, you’ll likely drive by a few of these often beautiful landmarks, knowing that you and your travel companions are safely enjoying your holiday without putting yourself or others at risk.
Park and campground availability. Some state parks are being closed to camping for the time being, but there are plenty of options for private campgrounds, national parks, and even what RVers call “boondocking” — camping without services in remote areas, such as lands available from the Bureau of Land Management. Most National Parks are open for business.
Some campgrounds and RV resorts are offering discounts at what normally is a busy time of year, when normally they would be nearly sold-out. Fort Wilderness Campground at Walt Disney World in Florida is open and offering a 20% discount for stays Sunday through Thursday from March 29 to May 21. Disney World is closed (as is Disneyland in the West).
You can even stop in rest stops and some parking lots to camp. Cracker Barrell and Walmart are RV hot spots. Aside from being available nearly everywhere, these locations are often extremely cost-effective — oftentimes, they’re free. There are several apps available for both iPhone and Android to help you find free and affordable camping spots across the country, hookups and dump spots, and even just scenic stops.
Toilet paper shortages. While this risk may not be completely avoidable, the RV toilet paper is often the last to go, stocked in the back corner of the RV section in most major stores. Shhh, it’s an RVer’s secret!
While everyone else’s summer plans are being sidelined because of cancelled flights and cruises, contagious airports, quarantines and closed theme parks, you can be confident knowing that you’re doing the responsible thing, and heading into nature to socially isolate yourself in the great outdoors. Not to mention the other benefits of RVing you’ll be able to enjoy, including:
● Enjoying the journey and the destination. While regular air travelers fly over some of the great sights of the world, RVers drive right by them and have the opportunity to stop and take a look. You’ve probably flown over the Grand Canyon before, why not go camping there for a night or two? RVers in-the-know prefer to camp on the south rim in Kaibab National Forest, where careful campers can stop overnight in some of the pullouts along the side of the road for free.
● Increased flexibility without the added expense. If you feel like extending your vacation, going to a totally new destination, or if the worst strikes and you’re forced to return home due to illness, you can simply change course — no expensive cancellation fees or penalties for changing flights. Experienced RVers will use a travel tracking app to share their progress with friends and family, and a GPS navigation app to reach their destination. Try an app meant for truck drivers to navigate — they mention the heights of overpasses and restricted roads, which are common hazards for newer RV drivers.
● Better sanitation. You’re traveling with your own sink, soap, and water, along with a private bathroom. You’re not passing through public spaces everywhere you go, but rather a controlled environment that you can clean to your satisfaction and return to anytime you feel the need.
● More outdoor time. Have you ever spent an entire trip indoors? Most travelers go from car to airport, to plane, to the airport, to the car, to the hotel, and maybe heading out to catch a meal or a show. When you’re RVing, nature is at your doorstep. You can wake up in the morning next to a great trailhead, a national landmark, majestic mountains or ocean beaches — all right outside your door. You can choose to dine under the sun, sip wine under the stars, or enjoy your breakfast with the sunrise. If you’re seeking outdoor adventures or even just more time outside, RVing is a great way to travel.
● Unplugging. In our modern, fast-paced lives, it can be hard to keep up with all of the emails, social media posts, push notifications, YouTube videos, and endless news feeds. RVing is a different way of traveling. Instead of rushing to your destination and frantically trying to fit it all in, RVers meander down the road. This slower pace of travel becomes something that you feel, and mid-way through your vacation, you just might not want to go back. By encouraging you to slow down and take in the beautiful sights, you’ll spend less time staring at your screen, and more time staring at sunsets.
While flights are being cancelled and cruises are docked, it may just be time to consider bringing back the great American road trip in your very own RV.
If you don’t own your own RV yet, renting an RV from a site like RVnGO may be an option to consider. For less than most hotels, you can get your travel and accommodations together without the commitment of buying or maintaining your own RV.
When shopping for an RV rental, save money by searching RVs on sites that don’t charge RV owners any fees to list or rent their RV. RVnGO.com is the best known RV rental site that doesn’t charge RV owners any fees, making RVing cheaper for everyone.