At one point, meeting other RVers meant you pretty much only met your neighbors in the campground. If you were full-timing, it was hard to keep in touch with other full-time RVers while you were all traveling. Escapees actually started as a newsletter to help solve that problem by keeping the community in touch. In the ensuing forty plus years, much has changed with mobile communication and the ways to meet new friends. There are many in-person opportunities for gatherings and the last decade or so has seen an explosion in digital ways to stay in touch and meet others. RVing doesn’t have to be a solo activity. You can make it as social as you want!
Meeting RVers Digitally
Using digital tools and apps allows you to connect with others before you ever “officially” meet. With social media, you can connect with the person in the next park over that you may have never met otherwise. It can also take some of the pressure off from walking up to strangers for us introverted folks. You can follow other RVers’ social profiles and chat online giving a familiar feeling when you finally do meet in real life. At that point, you can talk like old friends.
Facebook is the biggest and most well-known social platform. Most of us are already on it to connect with family and friends, but we can find new ones there through common interests, too. There are Facebook groups about every interest you can think of including RVing. This connection point between everyone in the group is a good way to break the ice. We all know the topic and can comment on posts, ask questions, and share helpful info. There are general RVing groups, ones dedicated to full-timers, solo women, boondockers, and more. You’re sure to find one that fits you.
Once you’re in a group, actively participate (make sure to read the group rules before posting). You’ll find you start chatting with some of the same people forming a bond. And when there’s a role call to see where people are, you may be surprised to find someone near you.
You’ll find Instagram on many RVers’ phones. This social photo sharing app appeals to travelers because you can visually share all the great places you’ve been, pictures of your RV, and the fun things you do while on the road. You can also follow others’ feeds and get ideas for new places to visit or just get inspired by all the pretty pictures.
There are many ways to connect with other RVers through Instagram. You’ll need to set-up an account to start sharing photos and comment. You’ll notice that RVers tend to choose fun names that express their personality or journey, but a name always works, too. After you follow a few people, Instagram will suggest similar accounts making it easy to find other RVers. You can also search and follow hashtags like #RVlife, #EscapeesRVclub, #homeiswhereyouparkit. Scroll through your feed and leave some thoughtful comments on the photos that speak to you. The back and forth in the comments is what starts to create connections.
When you post to Instagram, you can geo tag your locations letting others see from where you are posting. This tag allows others to chime in with recommendations or to say they are nearby. Or you can flip it and search your location and see who is near you! It might seem odd at first to reach out to a stranger, but it’s fairly common etiquette for RVers on Instagram. We all want to meet others that enjoy the same things we do!
RV Network Forum
Escapees RV Club hosts a discussion forum online where anyone can post a question or join a thread to discuss all topics RVing.
On RVNetwork.com, you can register and participate in many different threads about all things RVing and RV life. The discussion forum is an invaluable place to get answers to all your RVing and travel-related questions and make new friends while doing it.
Meeting RVers In-Person
Meeting other RVers digitally is all well and good, but you’ll want to connect with people in-person sooner or later. You can choose to start big and go to big rallies like Escapade or start with smaller groups often based around interests or a shared itinerary. Or maybe start by walking the loop in your campground! Any way you do it, you are sure to see some new faces and meet new friends.
Rallies and Convergences
You’ll never meet as many enthusiastic RVers at once as you will at a rally. Depending on the size and your personality, it may feel a little overwhelming to attend some of these get-togethers, but there is no better place to meet a group of people with an instant connection. During a rally or convergence, don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Everyone is there for the same reasons. And though these connections may start in person, you can move them online to any of the social platforms and stay in touch. Then you can meet again in the future.
You’ll find rallies and gatherings for RV clubs like Escapees National Rally Escapade, chapters of RV clubs, brand owners groups, and other interests. You just need to decide which one interests you. The chapters and birds-of-a-feather interest groups of Escapees (BoFs) hold many events throughout the year.
Chapters and BoFs
According to Chapter Director Lockie Sailer, “Some chapters are constantly getting together to dine or have “camp-outs”. Other chapters may only gather when they host rallies, with the greatest number of these occurring in the spring and fall.
Chapter 8, the Mexican Connection, hosts a “rolling rally” that travels together into Mexico and remains together as they immerse themselves into the culture in a number of events that are educational as well as fun. Then there’s Chapter 18, the Maple Leaf Chapter, that holds their fall rally during the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Ontario, that is described as the “mother of all county fairs.”
Then there is SKP-ACRE and WARE; Escapees All Chapters Rally East and Western Area Rally for Escapees. Just as the names imply, these are gatherings for all chapter members that wish to attend but allows them to attend a large rally closer to them, whether in the east or west, as they choose. There are organized activities during these rallies, along with lots of food and visiting.”
The Birds of a Feather groups (BoFs) are comprised of members with a common interest. Whether it is hiking or alternative medicine, geocaching or genealogy, there are many special interest groups available. The groups keep connected in many ways including newsletters and Facebook groups.
As an example, The Boomers are the largest BOF. Lockie lovingly describes them as “the most organized un-organization” she’s ever known. They can put together events that rival the most well-planned ones simply with a “let’s do something” attitude. Joining a planned or impromptu BoF event can get give you a chance to meet others with similar interests.
The Escapees HOPs: Head Out Program gives Escapees member a chance to connect through shared experiences whether by land or cruise. You join fellow RVers on excursions that target unique locations, special events and theme-related activities to create fun-filled and memorable adventures. HOP Director Lisa Koca says there have many long-term friendships form because of being on a HOP together. There have even a couple of attendees get married!
Joining a group tour with fellow RVers or a caravan made up of RVers gives you an immediate connection and experiences that you can share and discuss. Later, you can gather around the campfire and remember and retell your adventures.
Creating a community of RVers was the inspiration when Escapees RV club was founded in 1978. Hangouts are a continuation of this core value and are a great way to get to know your fellow Escapees and find your community on the road! Escapees Hangouts were created to provide more opportunities for all members to make new friends and share fun, active and adventurous experiences together.
At a Hangout, you can expect a schedule of organized events such as kayaking, hiking, bicycling, foodie tours, winery and brewery visits and tours, group campfires, and more. In addition to scheduled activities, there are plenty of opportunities for spontaneous socializing with your new friends!
Whether you choose to start a conversation online, when walking the dog through a campground, or by attending an in-person event, you can meet other RVers and life-long friends on the road. RVing is what you make of it, but there is no shortage of ways to meet others doing similar things. Get on Facebook, join an RVing group, and say hello. We hope to see you at an event, too. Since winter is the time of year that you’ll find most RVers in the south, the Party on Plomosa in Quartzsite is a great place to start. Watch the January event calendar and we hope to see you there!
Kerensa & her husband Brandon hit the road in January of 2014 and haven’t looked back. After years of moving for jobs, they decided to go where they wanted and take the jobs with them. They left with their two dogs and cat in a motorhome to explore the country after an extensive research and planning period. She joined the Escapees team as a Director of Marketing.
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