It’s unlikely that 2020 will go down as the year that we RVers achieved our travel dreams and hit all the remaining places on our destination bucket list. We’re more than halfway through and so far this year has been dominated by COVID-19-related campground closures and travel restrictions.
As some of the world starts to venture back out there, you may find yourself looking at your 2020 summer plan and considering how you might adjust it. Maybe you’re not sure you want to head to a particular state anymore, or maybe you already blew your budget quarantining for March and April at a safe RV park.
Although I have no doubt this year will have plenty more interesting things in store for us, there are some ways we can shift our perspective about travel to still enjoy new adventures, enjoy the freedom of RV life (whether you’re a weekender or a full-timer), and stay safe and healthy.
Here are the six ways I’m revamping my summer travels that you might find helpful too:
1. Travel Slower
You might already be an RVer who likes to linger in locations, but if you’re usually a more active traveler, then shifting to a slower pace could be a helpful way to approach the summer.
Some states are seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases, whereas others are seeing an increase. If we believe the quarantine helped slow the spread of the disease, then traveling slowly could be a good way to not contribute to the spread as well. By not bouncing around too fast, we lower the risk of exposing ourselves and others.
Additionally, if you’re looking to save money staying at RV parks or developed campgrounds, weekly and monthly rates are often less expensive than daily rates. So if your travel budget also needs time to recover, then shifting to moving slowly might help.
2. Help The RV Newbies
All signs and statistics point to this being the year of the new RVer. In fact, a recent FinanceBuzz survey about summer road trips found that 38% of prospective RVers have never driven one before. If that’s you reading this: Welcome aboard!
If you’re a veteran of RV life, let’s be good lamplighters and remember to be patient with and helpful to those who are new to this lifestyle. This is not to say that it’s OK to be unfriendly in a normal year, but that some extra patience could be good for everybody as the highways see an increased amount of RVs this summer.
So if you see someone struggling to hook up their utilities, consider helping. Or if someone parks right next to you at a boondocking location, choose to take it as a moment to educate someone on etiquette instead of getting mad.
3. Respect The Locals
We’re living in stressful times, and it can be easy to take that stress out on each other. Reports of conflict between locals and visitors are surfacing in a variety of places around the country.
Although it’s natural for each of us to have our own opinions, it’s still important to also be good travelers. Respecting not only regulations of an area, but also being empathetic toward the local sentiment will be important for everyone to have safe and stress-free travel this summer.
4. Sight See Differently
If you’re new to RVing, then everything might be brand new to you. But if you’ve been RVing for a while, then it might be a good summer to change things up a little:
- Stay in state parks instead of national parks.
- Check out drive-through destinations instead of jamming into museums or other places that require being on-foot and around crowds.
- Maybe some of the must-see National Parks get bumped off your itinerary, and you replace them with a few of the more overlooked National Parks where you can avoid the crowds.
5. Have a plan B (and maybe a plan C, too)
The COVID-19 hot spots are continuing to shift. As a result, local and state governments are changing their reopening plans regularly. Some states are fully open for just about any activity, whereas others are reinstating curfews and closures. Some businesses are opting to shut down their retail or dining space on their own even if their municipality isn’t requiring it.
You may think you have a perfect summer plan lined up, but something completely out of your control could throw it all up into the air. As an RVer, you’ve probably experienced this before. So make sure you have a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C. Make multiple reservations if you need to; research more boondocking locations; or have a short-list of places you can safely moochdock on short notice if you really get stuck.
6. Expand your financial tools
RV life is full of the unexpected. This is often one of the best things about it, but it can be stressful if you’re experiencing some sort of crisis. Although having an emergency savings fund is ideal for these times, some may not be in a position to stow away money while others may have already dipped into it back in March and April. This is why I always have a credit card with a 0% interest rate on hand. That line of credit could get me free financing in the event of an emergency.
Credit cards can be useful beyond this summer as well. One of the ways I stay on budget as a full-time RVer is by using cashback credit cards. I save hundreds of dollars each year on groceries and fuel this way. Although credit cards may have a bad connotation for some people, the truth is that if you pay your balance off each month, then you can earn a lot of cash back without ever paying interest charges. I think of it as advanced couponing.
Some RVers are very spontaneous travelers, so maybe this summer isn’t an experience of upheaval for you. Others are looking at the calendar wondering if we’re going to have to change all our routes, plans, and reservations again. It can be hard to manage our anxiety in a crisis, but taking some time to reconsider your plans and adjusting your pace and destinations may pay off in an unexpectedly positive summer of adventure.
Becca Borawski Jenkins
Becca Borawski Jenkins is a senior editor at FinanceBuzz and has been living and traveling full time in an RV for the past three years. She loves to write about saving money, saving for retirement, and cashback credit cards. You can find her, her cat, and her husband driving in a big circle around North America.