Should I Buy or Rent an RV?

Are you debating whether to buy or rent an RV? Here’s what you need to consider.

Do you think you’ll love the RV lifestyle and want to try it out?

Before running out and purchasing an RV or committing to renting only, read my list of pros for both. 

Whether you want to be a weekend RV warrior, snowbird, or full-timer, the following info should help you decide if you want to buy or rent an RV.

Renting an RV is a less risky investment than purchasing one but does not quite feel like home. But making a large purchase is daunting if you’re not completely sold on the idea. Especially since new motorhomes can range from over $100,000 to millions of dollars.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of each.

Rented Class C motorhome at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Benefits of renting an RV

Let’s kick off the list of different benefits of buying or renting an RV with renting.

If you are curious about what an RV lifestyle is like, renting might be for you!

Renting: Discover what you want (or don’t want) in an RV

Sometimes, the decision to buy or rent an RV is a progression. Many people rent first to better inform their purchase.

If you have never owned or rented an RV, you may not know what you want in one. You also may not know what you don’t want in an RV. For instance, if you visit cold, rainy areas, you might want a larger indoor space to stay dry during storms. Or, you might camp in warmer areas and love to utilize the outdoor living space. Are you a football fan who would use an outdoor TV for game days?

Trying out different features is a great way to compile a list of RV must-haves for a future purchase. Trying out different RV floor plans can also help you decide what really works (or doesn’t) for you and your family.

Do you like to cook? Which RVs have a kitchen in a great spot for you? Or, are you planning on working remotely when on the road? Different RVs have areas that work well as a workspace while others don’t. Trying out different layouts lets you try out the spaces that may or may not work for you. 

Motorhomes at Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Renting: Learn how RVs work

Renting an RV allows you to understand how they work. Not only can you drive it to see how it handles but you can learn how to operate all of its features.

RVs do take a little getting used to. Being able to learn how different parts operate such as the dining room slide-out or draining the grey and black water tanks lets you experiment before leaping to purchase an RV.

Renting: It’s cheaper (sometimes)

Depending on how much you intend to use your RV, renting one can be cheaper in the long run. You do not have the hefty upfront cost of purchasing the RV nor do you have to pay monthly insurance or maintenance fees

It can also save you emotional currency as well. Many people purchase an RV to find out that it does not meet their needs so they end up selling it at a loss or living unhappily with it. By renting one, you can try RVing without the commitment and save yourself heartache if you decide it is not for you.

Of course, there is a tipping point where buying would be more affordable. So, you’ll need to do some math based on how often you plan to use it.

Motorhomes (and a truck camper) in Jasper National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Renting: No RV maintenance

Another great benefit of renting an RV is that you are not responsible for its maintenance!

The average cost of maintenance is about $1,000-$2,000 per year depending on the type, size, and age of your rig. So, when it comes to buying or renting an RV you’ll want to factor in maintenance costs. 

Renting: No commitment

Renting an RV is is relatively low commitment. You can choose to rent for just a few days and then give it back. Aside from fuel and stocking it with food and supplies, you don’t have to worry about RV expenses. You do not have to fix broken parts or keep up other maintenance.

The time and monetary commitments are far less than if you own it. 

Truck camper in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Benefits of buying an RV

We know deciding whether you should buy or rent an RV can be difficult. So, let’s take a look at the pros of buying now.

Purchasing an RV to own can also be a very rewarding experience.

Buying: It’s all yours

One great thing about owning your RV is that it’s all yours! You can store your items such as clothing, books, dishes, and favorite travel movies or games, just to name a few.

When you return home from a camping trip, you don’t have to clean out all your possessions. You can also decorate the RV to your liking so that it feels like your home away from home. 

Class A motorhome at Orange Groove RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buying: You can travel whenever you want

Do you feel like getting out of town this weekend? When owning an RV, you can pick up and travel whenever you want. Feel like staying an extra day or two? You also don’t have to worry about returning it by a certain date. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s booking schedule.

Buying: You can rent it out

Did you know that you can rent out your RV to make some money when you are not using it? Individuals can rent your RV for a specific amount of time for whatever price you set.

There are websites similar to Airbnb, but for RVs.

You can read How to Make Money Renting your RV if you want to learn more.

Class A motorhome driving Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buying: Pay less monthly than renting on several occasions

If you intend to make great use of your RV and travel monthly or even live on the road, owning an RV will likely cost less per month to operate.

While there is a large upfront price tag, the monthly cost of owning can often be less expensive. 

Buying: You can take your office with you

More people are working from home than ever before. If you’re one of them, working from the road might be a great lifestyle for you.

You can see different places, all while having your office with you.

Class A motorhome at Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Renting or buying: Conclusion

There are many things to consider when deciding whether to buy or rent an RV.

Renting can help you identify what you are looking for in an RV purchase. Or, it may even help you decide against that lifestyle altogether. Either way, there are pros to renting.

But if you already know that you love the lifestyle and understand your needs as an RV owner, you may want to skip renting and jump right into owning an RV that is suited just right for your tastes.

Sometimes, the decision to buy or rent an RV is a progression. Many people rent first to better inform their purchase.

Worth Pondering…

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.

―Amelia Earhart

How to Make Money Renting your RV

Have ever thought about renting your RV? Here’s what you need to know.

It was inevitable that with RVs in such massive demand for road trips and camping vacations, the same peer-to-peer businesses would arise that came in the vacation home rental industry. That demand has increased exponentially since people turned to RVing during the pandemic. No other way to vacation or getaway is as safe as RVing. RVers, as we used to say, were socially distant before it was cool.

An entire side industry has developed over the past few years: Rental companies that facilitate private RV owners who want to earn extra cash with their RVs. Those companies list the RV, help in providing insurance, and offer marketing to promote them.

RVers get to use their RVs when they want but when the RV is usually in storage or sitting in the driveway they then get to earn cash by renting it out. Some RVers even get to buy their RV with little out-of-pocket expenses because the rental fees more than cover their payments.

Private RV owners are sometimes making five-figure incomes a year just by renting out their RVs. Some have started their own businesses, buying multiple RVs and renting them all out.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros and cons of renting your RV 

The path to renting out your RV can be a perilous one for many people. Whatever your motivation is for renting out your RV, there are some risks. There’s the additional wear and tear, extra maintenance, time spent dealing with customers, cleaning, and so on.

Of course, there are also numerous advantages to renting out your RV. Chief among them is that you’ll receive extra money to cover your RV payments which might help you afford a better unit. 

And it doesn’t matter if you have a Class A, B, or C motorhome, travel or fifth-wheel trailer, or a truck camper. Demand is unprecedented!

Reasons for renting your RV

Here are some reasons WHY YOU SHOULD rent out your RV.

1. Monetize the downtime

Unless you’re a snowbird or full-time RVer, the chances are high that you only get a few good days each month using your RV. Maybe even a full week or two each summer. And if you are a snowbird your rig may sit idle for six months or more. The rest of the time, the rig is sitting in storage or in your driveway.

Renting out your RV allows you to generate some additional revenue covering a large part if not the entire monthly payment. Knowing that your schedule (for now) doesn’t accommodate using your RV full-time, you can rent it out when it suits you. 

Have a week between trips this summer? Rent it out for an extra $500-$1,000. 

2. Buying and using a unit before retirement or going full-time

Many people are looking forward to retiring and hitting the road. But what can happen is that even when you’re dreaming from the office you don’t have the time or finances to fully commit to the RV lifestyle. 

Buying and renting out your RV before you retire is a great way to get involved without the full financial commitment. You can offset some, if not most, of the cost of your rig by renting it out. This allows you to start enjoying the lifestyle now!

Renting your RV will let you take the trips you want and rent out your unit the other times you’re busy. 

Now you can start enjoying the RV lifestyle before you sell your sticks and bricks home or start collecting pensions upon retirement. Buying an RV before you want to go full-time or on a longer trip will also help you get familiar with how all of the systems on your RV function and what features you like or dislike in a rig. 

3. Being able to afford that extra nice unit you’ve wanting

Due to having an extra rental income, you can offset between 25 and 100 percent of the cost of your RV depending on how often and how much you rent it for. That opens up additional options when deciding which unit to purchase.

Maybe you’d rather have a nicer motorhome or go for that Airstream you’ve always wanted. If the deciding factor was the monthly payment and whether or not you should stretch that far then renting out your rig for the first few years of ownership can be a great option.

With rentals, you can offset some of that cost if not the total difference between what you want and what you really want. Newer and nicer units will typically rent for a higher cost too. So you can get something a little nicer in the long run and know that it’ll offset some of the total cost of the RV.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Starting a business

There are enough tools to allow you to start a bonafide rental business especially if you are located within a short distance of major attractions, sporting events, entertainment destinations, or beautiful nature. 

Done properly, each rental unit can become a little profit center. It’s not uncommon for people to start with one unit and later add a couple more. Depending on the unit/location, each full-time rental can pull in between $30,000 and $60,000/year. Warmer climates with a longer rental period and can be rented year-round.

This can make your ROI on each RV roughly 3-4 years, if not sooner whether you keep it, trade it in, or sell it off. This can become a viable business for someone willing to manage all of the moving pieces. With business scale, you can also improve margins. Instead of all your booking coming from an online booking site with a 25 percent commission fee you can manage your own book of business and recover those margins. 

RVers get to use their RVs when they want but when the RV is usually in storage or sitting in the driveway they then get to earn cash by renting it out for extra money.

Private RV owners are sometimes making five-figure incomes a year just by renting out their RVs with these RV share programs. Some have actually started their own businesses doing so, buying multiple RVs and renting them all out.

Understanding the RV rental industry

The RV rental boom shows no signs of slowing. Besides, even if your potential customers wanted to buy a brand new RV or are maybe considering camper vans or some other type of RV, some manufacturers are still reporting six months to one year waits for new orders to be completed.

The bottom line—which is good for the RV rental business—is the only way some folks will be able to get out there and experience the RV lifestyle for the first time is by renting one. Tens of thousands of people are interested in the RV lifestyle and a good way to experience it before buying is to rent an RV for a camping getaway.

How much can you make renting your RV?

I went to two of the largest RV Rental marketplaces (RV Share and Outdoorsy) and looked at average RV rental prices across several different types of RVs in five different metropolitan areas across the US.  

These are the average rental prices for 75+ units across five locations (Atlanta, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, and Boston) within a 100-mile radius of each city.  

Class A motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $266 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $200 net
  • Nightly rate – $266 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $213 net

Class B motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $222 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $167 net
  • Nightly rate – $222 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $177 net

Class C motorhomes

  • Nightly rate – $205 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $154 net
  • Nightly rate – $205 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $164 net

Travel trailer 

  • Nightly rate – $124 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $93 net 
  • Nightly rate – $124 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $99 net

Toy hauler 

  • Nightly rate – $164 (-25 percent for RV Share cut) = $123 net
  • Nightly rate – $164 (-20 percent for Outdoorsy Share cut) = $131 net
The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How the seasons affect renting your RV

The number of rentable days you have each year is also largely dependent on your location. You can expect to rent your unit during peak summer months in the northern portion of the U.S. and the rental period is almost year-round in the south. 

Using a third-party platform like RV Share (25 percent commission) or Outdoorsy (20 percent commission) here is the maximum you could expect to make renting out your RV. 

Class A motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $266/night average = $46,534 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $34,901.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $37,227. 

Cool climates – 120 days x $266/night average = $31,909 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $23,932.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $25,527.

Class B motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $222/night average = $38,790 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $29,093.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $31,032.

Cool climates – 120 days x $222/night average = $26,599 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $19,949. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $21,279.

Class C motorhomes

Warm climates – 175 days x $205/night average = $35,844 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $26,883.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $28,674.

Cool climates – 120 days x $205/night average = $24,578 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $18,434.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $19,662. 

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travel trailers

Warm climates – 175 days x $124/night average = $21,678 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, that max revenue to you is $16,258.

With a 20 percent commission the max revenue to you is $17,342.

Cool climates – 120 days x $124/night average = $14,865 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $11,148. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $11,891.

Toy haulers

Warm climates – 175 days x $164/night average = $28,723 maximum revenue potential. 

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $21,542.

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $22,978.

Cool climates – 120 days x $164/night average = $19,696 maximum revenue potential.  

With a 25 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $14,772. 

With a 20 percent commission, the max revenue to you is $15,756.

Know ALL the details about renting your RV

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At any price, renting out your RV is a win

Perhaps you’re not making the complete amount of the final booking cost with renting out your RV but it is a lot more than you would be making with just letting the RV sit in storage or your driveway and the extra coverage provided by the rental company is worth the cost.

Not only will you save on storage fees but you’ll have extra income for those upgrades you always wanted. Your RV will also run better when the components are used more frequently.

The expanding rental market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Can you really trust those renters?

Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about making lots of money by renting out your RV, let’s talk about the less exciting topic: the renters. Peer-to-peer RV rental companies like RV Share and Outdoorsy not only vet the renters for you but have a massive insurance policy to protect you, at no extra cost to you.

You have the complete freedom to decline potential renters at any time and for any reason. Most of these rental sites will require the renter to make a profile first that will include some personal information and history that you can look through to decide if you think you can really trust them to treat your RV well.

In the off chance that something does end up happening to your RV, the renter’s security deposit and renters insurance can cover the cost of fixing it before you even have time to worry about it.

Worth Pondering…

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.

―Amelia Earhart

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next RV Road Trip

A helpful guide for planning an affordable RV trip including budgeting techniques, free places to camp, and useful travel discounts

Going on an RV trip doesn’t have to mean big spending or months of saving. With a little bit of research, careful planning, and some simple techniques, you’ll quickly realize just how affordable an RV trip can be.

Rental RVs at Jasper National Park, Alberta © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Advice for non-RV owners

For many non-RV owners, the cost associated with renting an RV for a trip might seem sky high. And while it’s true that renting an RV can sometimes be more expensive than booking a hotel room, there are actually more opportunities to save with an RV.

You have the ability to cook all meals which greatly reduces the amount of money you have to spend on food. You can pack extra gear (bikes, kayaks, canoes, surfboards) and eliminate the need to rent these items elsewhere.

If you’re traveling with a family or large group, it might be tough to squeeze everyone into one hotel room (most standard hotel rooms can accommodate four people). And some hotels don’t even allow pets or charge an extra pet fee. But with a wide variety of RV sizes and layouts to choose from you’re likely to find one that fits your whole crew—dog included—without having to pay double.

Class A motorhome and toad at a rest area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Before you hit the road

While most people think of food, fuel, and campground costs when putting together a travel budget, one factor that is often forgotten—but is still extremely important—is maintenance. Taking good care of your RV goes a long way in preventing major, costly repairs.

Just like a car, your RV’s oil should be changed regularly and the tires inspected daily. If something in your rig needs fixing, do it sooner rather than later. Letting a problem sit for too long can end up costing you more in the long run.

Double-check that your insurance and roadside assistance plans cover not only your tow vehicle/toad but also your RV. There’s nothing worse than breaking down and finding out that your insurance won’t pay to tow your rig to a repair facility.

Fall colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Plan around peak travel times

When considering prospective destinations, take note of the peak travel seasons and accessibility—for example, fall foliage in New England or holiday weekends at national parks. Peak seasons will not only impact reservations and campgrounds rates but fuel and grocery prices as well which can vary based on demand and time of year. Tours and entry fees may also fluctuate by season, day of week, or even time of day.

To help save money, when possible travel during shoulder seasons (commonly early spring and late fall) and visit the most popular destinations on weekdays or during slower hours. If you’re thinking about taking a longer trip—a few weeks or even a few months—consider staying in one place for more than a few days. Most RV parks and campgrounds offer weekly and monthly rates which will reduce your per night cost. Minimizing your driving time and staying put can help keep the cost of fuel down as well.

Newfound Gap Road, an RV-friendly route through Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Be mindful of fuel prices

When deciding which route to take, try to use an online fuel calculator to help budget. 

Once your RV-friendly route is set, search for fuel stations along the way and compare prices. Even if the difference is only a few cents per gallon, the cost can add up quickly when you’re averaging 8 to 10 miles per gallon. Try to fill up well in advance of national parks and other popular tourist destinations, top off your tank before you hit a stretch of road with limited fuel stations (these have a tendency to be more expensive), and keep any border crossings in mind. Fuel prices vary by state based on taxes, types of fuel, and other variables like real estate.

Boondocking along Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Venture off the beaten path

Humans are programmed to do what is familiar and popular, including visiting well-known tourist destinations. However, with a little extra research you can often find a similar view, a little-visited roadside attraction, a self-guided tour, or an alternative hike without the added crowds or cost.

Also, keep in mind is that not every night has to be spent at a five-star luxury RV resort. While you may want to budget for one or two nights at a more upscale place, your other nights could be budget camping or boondocking on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. 

To prevent trespassing or illegal overnight stays, always read posted signs and generally don’t stay longer than 14 days. 

6. Pack for various situations

Always check the forecast before you leave including average temperatures and storm seasons. Being prepared for various weather conditions will prevent unnecessary shopping trips for warmer clothes, rain gear, or alternative footwear. Travel with an umbrella, a rain jacket, waterproof pants, and warm layers just in case. Other essentials include a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and extra batteries as these tend to be more expensive at travel plazas and RV parks.

Driving Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Plan inexpensive driving routes

You’re always going to spend money on a road trip but the route you take heavily influences how much you spend on things like fuel and overnight stays. For example, the highest fuel prices are in Washington and California. You still want to find pleasant campsites with electrical, sewage, and water access, if possible, but compare prices to locate the cheapest campsite in each area.

Other considerations you should have when planning an RV route include:

  • Points of interest along the route
  • Cheap gas station/truck stops availability
  • Avoiding areas of congestion and toll roads

When researching your route and destinations, look into various pass options for state and national parks. Figure out how often you will visit to determine whether paying for each entry is cheaper or purchasing a multi-visit pass, such as America the Beautiful.

8. Cook in the RV

An RV is a home on wheels which means you can limit the cost associated with restaurants by cooking your own food. However, if you do want to eat at a local restaurant, consider eating there for lunch instead of dinner—lunch menus allow you to experience the regional food without paying the premium pricing.

Include some healthy road trip snacks and beverages. This will prevent you from pulling over to buy higher-priced, less-nutritious gas station treats. Additionally, food prices will vary by location. Produce, meat, and dairy are almost always more expensive in remote areas and can be harder to find, so stock up before you go.

Make use of campground grills and enjoy the ever-changing scenery with home-cooked meals. A small crockpot or slow cooker can be another great time and money saver when it comes to food on the go.

Not a good way to care for your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Keep your tires properly inflated

It may not be something that you associate with saving money but keeping the tires on your RV properly inflated will not only make it easier to drive and handle but it will save you money over the cost of the trip on fuel, as well. The U.S. Department of Energy states that for every 1-psi drop in tire pressure, you can expect your gas mileage to lower by 0.4 percent. This can certainly add up over a lengthy trip, so take the extra time to make sure your tires are properly inflated.

RVers should give a visual inspection of their tires before every travel day and at each stop along the way. But that’s not all! It may seem tedious but you should also check your RV tire pressure before you hit the road—every time!

Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Consider a membership

There are many different RV clubs and other types of travel memberships including Good Sam and Passport America. One of the biggest benefits of joining is the discounted camping rates. Some other cost-saving perks include promotions at RV retail stores, fuel savings, propane discounts, and free dump station privileges. Other memberships to consider include Thousand Trails, Escapees, Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, and KOA (Kampgrounds of America).

If you and your family enjoy visiting museums, botanical gardens, plantariums, and science centers, consider a membership. Reciprocal museum memberships allow you to visit other participating museums which grant free or heavily discounted entry to members.

Worth Pondering…

Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will—whatever we may think.

—Lawrence Durrell

RVshare: 2023 Travel Trend Report

RVShare just released their 2023 Travel trend report

RVshare has released its 2023 Travel Trend Report, chock full of stats on how people are looking to travel in the next year, what kind of trips they’re taking, and what age demographics seem the keenest to take an RV vacation in the next 12 months. Want a glimpse into the travel scene in the New Year to see how your plans stack up? Read on.

The report predicts another major year for travel. According to new research conducted by Wakefield Research, nearly all Americans (99 percent) are planning leisure travel in 2023. The RV travel boom continues to press on with 61 percent planning to take a road trip or vacation in an RV. Travelers are still seeking relaxation and time with family and friends, and work flexibility continues to evolve and become a more permanent lifestyle for many Americans ultimately affecting their travel decisions.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV travel is mainstream travel

Gone are the days of RVs only being for snowbirds and touring rock bands. More and more people are seeing the appeal of a good old-fashioned road trip and booking an RV is part of many travel plans. RV interest has continued to grow with 62 percent likely to consider renting an RV for a trip in the future, a 9 percent jump from 2022. What are some reasons travelers prefer an RV road trip over other travel options? Not only are they more affordable with no charges for baggage and an onboard kitchen to prepare food on your terms but they make for a more pleasant travel experience allowing you to stop along the way, sit where you’d like, and avoid travel delays.

Old Town Temecula, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other benefits of RV travel that survey respondents found valuable include:

  • Greater ability to change the schedule (59 percent)
  • Lower costs by avoiding fees for extra luggage (52 percent)
  • Allows them to budget around predictable travel costs (47 percent)
  • Helps to avoid loud and unruly passengers (47 percent)
  • No need for secondary transportation at destination (45 percent)
  • Fewer travel delays (44 percent)
  • The ability to have no assigned seating (42 percent)
Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Who is actually renting RVs?

So we know RVing is more popular than ever and spans more demographics, but who is really renting and traveling in them?

Related article: The Expanding Camping Community

One big group that spans across generations is parents. Eighty-one percent of parents are likely to consider renting an RV for a trip in the future. And who could blame them, an RV parked in the driveway alone is pure excitement for kids and it makes for a smooth travel experience. Having a kitchen and bathroom on board, a living space, and cozy beds means your hotel is built right into your vehicle making any stops much more pleasant.

Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV enthusiasts span age demographics, with Millennials being the most interested age group followed by Gen X and Gen Z.

Among those who plan to take a trip in an RV in the next 12 months:

  • 75 percent are millennials
  • 65 percent are Gen X
  • 58 percent are Gen Z
  • 41 percent are Boomers
Bison at Custer State Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2023 travel plans

After the frustrations of travel the past couple of years, people are equally divided in how they want to make up for it with 50 percent planning on keeping things simple and the other half going big and finally hoping to check out some bucket list trips they’ve been putting off. Many travelers are still seeking time in nature and enjoying wildlife (47 percent), prioritizing the importance of enjoying peace and quiet (49 percent), and placing importance on catching up with friends (34 percent).

Camping at Buccaneer State Park, Waveland, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hush trips

Another way many are planning to travel is in the New Year? Enter hush trips. Hush trips are enjoyed by remote employees who are leaning heavily into the remote aspect of their jobs by taking vacation time while continuing to work—maybe from a lounge chair by the pool or at a campground with strong Wi-Fi. These employees are still putting in the hours but working from an alternative location where they plan to enjoy leisure activities in their off-hours and don’t feel the need to disclose their location.

Related article: Are New Campers Really Interested in Camping?

Savannah, Georgia, a bucket trip destination © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other 2023 travel plans include:

  • Annual trips with family and friends (49 percent)
  • Laid-back trips focused on relaxation (48 percent)
  • Local trips (44 percent)
  • Big trips to bucket list destinations (29 percent)
  • Cross-country road trip (28 percent)
Boondocking at Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs go beyond camping

While the classic way to take an RV trip is to park it at a campground, there are other places that lend themselves well to an RV.

Related article: RV Sales Continue to Soar and Here Are the Reasons Why

Wakefield Research reveals that travelers are seeking to experience RVs in new ways—beyond the typical road trip. According to RVshare insights, 20 percent of rentals are booked for event purposes like tailgating, auto and aviation shows, music festivals and more.

  • 63 percent say they are likely or 100 percent likely to stay in an RV for multi-day festivals, a 10 percent increase from 2022
  • 52 percent say they are likely or 100 percent likely to stay in an RV for tailgating events, a 10 percent increase from 2022
  • 68 percent say they are likely or 100 percent likely to stay in an RV for trips to national parks, a 10 percent increase from 2022
  • 55 percent say they are likely or 100 percent likely to stay in an RV for hobby events, a 10 percent increase from 2022
Camping on Jekyll Island, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Delivery is still in demand

First-time RV renters account for one-third of bookings on RVshare. A factor that can deter those inexperienced renters is the thought of having to physically drive the RV. RVshare provides the option for RV delivery, which continues to increase in popularity. Our report found that 79 percent of people think a delivery option would make them more likely to consider an RV trip and 71 percent of parents say they’re much likelier to consider an RV trip if the RV is delivered to their destination.

Related article: Why RV?

Nearly half of RVshare rentals were delivered in 2022 and RV rental deliveries are up increasingly compared to prior years:

  • +48 percent since 2021
  • +150 percent since 2020
Bay St. Lewis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Top delivery destinations include:

  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • Camperland on the Bay, San Diego, California
  • Ginnie Springs Outdoors, High Springs, Florida
  • Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Georgia National Fairgrounds, Perry, Georgia
  • Lazy L & L Campground, New Braunfels, Texas
Camping at Arches National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The economy isn’t stopping travelers

Survey results reveal that the economy won’t be stopping vacationers anytime soon. Inflation is unavoidable but just 2 percent are likely to cancel their vacation because of it. In fact, 88 percent of Americans are planning to travel as much or more in 2023 compared to last year. Instead, travelers are considering cost-cutting options.

  • Would look to cook some of their own meals instead of dining out (57 percent)
  • Would travel during the off-season (49 percent)
  • Would partake in fewer fee-based activities (43 percent)

Worth Pondering…

Road trips have beginnings and ends but it’s what’s in between that counts.

30 Tips for Spring Break Road Trips

A road trip guide

So, you’re planning a road trip for spring break. You’ve got so many options when it comes to where you’ll go and what you’ll do along the way.

Road trips are fun because they can be something that is planned for a while or just planned last minute. You can kind of just have a loose plan and still have a great time.

Additionally, road trips are a great way to meet all kinds of new people. Whether you’re just road tripping to visit friends or relatives or your whole trip is just a big circle, here are 30 tips for spring break road trips.

RV rental at Wahweap Campground in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Rent an RV

Get an RV! If you can fit get into your budget, getting an RV makes a road trip oh such a simple thing. No bathroom stops, a full kitchen, even a place to sleep. An RV can combine several expenses into one. It’s a fun way to travel.

2. Or a rental car

Think about a rental car if an RV isn’t in your budget. Mileage is unlimited and you won’t have to worry about maintenance before during or after your trip.

Wild burros roam the hills along Route 66 between Kingman and Oatman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Plan your route ahead of time

Plan your route before you leave. Download a map of the area you’ll be traveling, so you can still get directions without a wireless signal.

4. Clean the RV/car before you go

Clean your vehicle before you leave. Start your trip off with a nice clean car or recreational vehicle, all organized for the fun times ahead.

Related: Get Your Rig Ready for Spring Camping

Blue Bell ice cream anyone? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Pack the car the night before

If traveling by car, pack the car the night before. Put the things you will need first into the car last. That way they’re easily accessible when you need them. Things like snacks, water, blankets, and pillows should all be in inside the car with you rather than in the truck.

6. Pillows and blankets

Bring pillows and blankets. Road trips, whether in a car or RV, need blankets and pillows. Snuggle up put on your headphones and listen to some jams when it’s not your turn to drive.

7. Fuel up the day before

Fill up with gas (or diesel) the day before you plan to leave. Having everything ready before you leave makes the start of the trip seamless.

Kalaches are great for snacking and, oh so delicious © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Road Trip snacks

Road Trip snacks. Get your favorite snacks. Also grab high protein snacks to keep you going. Relying on fuel stop snacks are expensive and can limit your options.

9. Paper towels and hand wipes

Paper towels and hand wipes for those snacks. I despise being sticky. I need to rinse or have wipes for my hands.

Road trip playlist © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Make a road trip playlist

Music is a must for road trips. Downloading your playlist will make it accessible when you travel out of your cell phone’s coverage area. For the ultimate road trip play list, click here.

Related: Cleaning Your RV Exterior

11. Hoodies, sweaters, and sneakers

Being comfy in the RV or car (and with snacks) is a must. Hoodies, sweaters, and sneakers give me the ability to cool off or warm up a bit when everyone else in the vehicle feels fine.

Hiking in Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Hiking boots

I like to be comfortable and prepared. A road trip may lead me to explore rough terrain. I believe every road trip should include at least one nature adventure. The more the better though.

Springtime in the Skagit Valley, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Bring drinking water

Be sure to bring water bottles and at least a gallon jug per person. You may need to wash your hands or drink it if you end up stuck somewhere for an extended period.

14. Top off your fluids

If bringing your own vehicle, check the fluid levels a couple of days before you go. Coolant, oil, and windshield wiper fluid should be topped off. Be sure you won’t need an oil change in the midst of your trip. If so, get that done before you leave too.

Not a good way to treat your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Check your tire pressure

When you fill your tank the day before, check your tire pressure too.

16. Bring cash

Stop at your bank and pick up some cash. You may not wish to charge everything. You may also need cash for tipping or for buying things in smaller towns. Always carry cash as a backup.

Spring along the Penal Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Tool kit

Carry a basic tool kit and stow on the curb side if traveling by RV. Include the following basic tools: High visibility cones, reflectors and/or vest, wheel chocks, tire pressure gauge, assorted wrenches and screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, duct/gorilla tape, work gloves. You should also keep jumper cables and extra fluids (windshield washer, oil, and coolant). If you’re driving in winter you should also keep an ice scraper, shovel, and traction aid (cat litter or sand).

Related: America’s 10 Best Scenic Byways for a Spring Road Trip

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Consider AAA

You can’t go wrong with an AAA membership. You are covered anywhere in the US and Canada, even if you aren’t on a road trip. In addition to roadside assistance, they offer road maps and trip-planning services.

19. First Aid Kit

Your first aid kit should include: Bandages (different sizes), sterile gauze (different sizes), rolled bandages, triangular bandage, cleansing wipes, tape, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, skin rash cream, anti-itch cream, antiseptic cream, sunburn cream, painkillers, antihistamine, ice packs, emergency blanket, disposable sterile gloves, and first aid manual. You should also have any prescription medications on hand. 

Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Flashlights

A flashlight is essential to help you get around in the dark. It can also be used as a signal. Make sure you keep at least one per person and have spare batteries. 

21. Cell Phone Charger

Cell phones are incredibly useful in emergency situations—you can communicate with loved ones, seek emergency help, figure out where you are, and get important information and updates. Always keep a phone charger in your RV emergency kit.

Consider the needs of your pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

23. Pet Emergency Kit

If you have pets, you shouldn’t forget to include them in your emergency kit: Pet food, medications, toys, blanket, collapsible food/water bowls, cat litter and pan (if you have a cat), leash, collar/harness, and copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records.

The World’s Largest Roadrunner is located on I-10 at Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

24. Break up driving with roadside attractions

Break up the driving with numerous stops along the way. All manner of strange and interesting roadside attractions are found across the country. The highways are dotted with oddities that are as head-scratching as they are alluring: highly specific museums dedicated to whatever or gigantic versions of everyday items plunked into a field for no particular reason. For more on roadside attractions, click here.

Related: The 16 Best National Parks for Families to Explore this Spring

Travel with safety in mind © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

25. Do the speed limit

Do the speed limit, especially in small towns. They are sticklers for obeying all traffic laws, especially their (sometimes seemingly unnecessarily) slow speed limits, just outside of town.

26. Avoid rush hour traffic

Avoid driving through cities during high traffic times. Highway gridlock and city traffic jams can suck the fun right out of a road trip. Plan ahead to avoid areas of heavy traffic during rush hour (roughly between 7:30 and 9:30 in the mornings and from 3:00 to 7:00 in the evenings).

Old Town Temecula (California) makes a great stop © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

27. Don’t be afraid to make some stops

As eager as you might be to reach your destination, the random stops you make along the way are what will make your trip truly memorable. Visiting local businesses will give you a truer sense of the area you’re traveling in and could point you in some directions you didn’t know about before. Not to mention that getting out of the car (or RV) to stretch your legs is essential to ensuring everyone’s comfort the entire way.

28. Travel during daylight hours

It is best to travel during daylight hours. This is the best time to see everything around and it’s the safest time to drive too. A safe road trip is the ultimate goal.

El Morro National Monument is a short distance off I-40 in western New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

29. Consider sights off the main highway

Driving a bit off route for sightseeing can be worth it.  Dark sky communities, for example, are always worth a stop. These are places where you can see the Milky Way. These communities keep artificial light to a minimum, so you can better see the night’s sky.

Whitehall, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

30. Be flexible

Things don’t always go exactly as planned. The adventure is all in your attitude whether that’s a flat tire or a spontaneous invitation to join others at a campfire. Take (calculated) risks and enjoy the moment!

Worth Pondering…

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.

—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1968)

6 Great Tips for RV Beginners

Here are six quick tips for every RV beginner to consider

Have you ever loaded up a camper and ventured into the wilderness? RVing might not be everyone’s idea of a great vacation but that hasn’t stopped it from growing in popularity over the last few years. With many favorite summer activities closed by COVID-19, more people are turning to RV trips to have a safe and exciting vacation this year. Even if you’ve never gone RVing before, now is the perfect chance to try.

Fifth wheel trailers at Canyon Vista RV Park, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs are exciting and they come with some new challenges, ranging from finding the right RV to getting comfortable with driving your home-on-the-road. This is all part of a journey that will bring a sense of freedom and discovery to your life.

Here are six quick tips to consider before you pile in and head out.

Class A motorhomes at Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 1: Choose the Right RV For You

There is no right or wrong choice. Each type of RV has features that are attractive to some RVers, and less attractive to others. It’s really not a matter of a towable is better than a motorized, or vice versa, rather, it’s a matter of what will fit best with your RVing lifestyle.

Fifth wheel trailers at Katy Lake RV Resort, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Factors such as family size, whether you want to tow it, or need a bathroom play a role in your choice.

Class C motorhome rental from Cruise America at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 2: Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

This isn’t always an easy decision, with pros and cons for both. However, when you consider a few key factors, the answer becomes clearer.

Buy: You plan to go RV camping often or full-time and you have storage for the times when you aren’t traveling.

Rent: You plan to go on a single trip, or want to test the waters before making a purchase.

Class C motorhome at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 3: Get to Know Your RV

With little road experience, it’s especially important that RV beginners take time to learn how the RV works, even if it’s a rental. If something breaks, you should be able to assess the problem, and potentially fix it. This saves time and money spent on a mechanic.

Know how to hook up and use electric, water, and sewer servies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you get to know your RV, you’re less likely to make operational errors. For example, if you don’t know how many amps your main breaker can handle, there’s a good chance you’ll blow it. This is a potentially expensive error that can be avoided by getting to know your rig.

Class A motorhome traveling north to Page, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 4: Take a Practice Drive

Many find driving an RV easier than they thought, but it’s important to practice. Get in the driver’s seat and adjust the mirrors, seat belt height, lumbar support, and armrests so you’re comfortable, and make sure you can easily turn your head to see in all directions. Become familiar with all switches and controls.

Class A motorhomes on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Then take your RV for a drive around a big parking lot practicing backing up, turning, braking, and parking. It’s best to have a partner to assist with the backing up. Finally, take your it for a drive on the road over varied terrain, if possible.

Once you know the intricacies of driving an RV, you can make necessary adjustments. For example, if your drawers pop open you need to find a way to keep them shut.

Learn the correct way to use a dump station © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Pack Tools and Spare Parts

Pack a well-stocked tool kit and store on the curb side of your RV. Include basic tools and items that may need to be replaced including LCD flashlights, spare fuses, LCD lights, jumper cables, nuts and bolts, WD-40, silicon spray, duct and gorilla tape, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to bring spare parts that are unique to your rig.

Know how before you go © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 5: Don’t Wing It

The urge to be spontaneous is tempting when your home is on wheels. There’s a certain pleasure in going where you want, when you want. However, it does help to have a solid plan in place especially if it’s your first RV trip.

When planning your RV trip, consider:

Use a pressure regulator when hooking up to city water © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tip 6: Use a Campground Setup Checklist

Pulling into your RV campground is just the start. A set-up checklist will help you keep everything in order and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Use an electric management system to protect against surges and high and low voltage © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Walk your RV site before you pull in to ensure you have the adequate space and clearance for your vehicle checking for low hanging branches and obstacles on the ground. Locate the hookups, including electric, water, cable TV, and sewer. Level the RV if needed. Test that the hookups are working properly.

Worth Pondering…

Our wish to you is this: drive a little slower, take the backroads sometimes, and stay a little longer. Enjoy, learn, relax, and then…plan your next RV journey.

The Ins and Outs of Renting an RV

You don’t have to buy a home on wheels to enjoy the experience of camping in comfort

Ever see that classic movie The Long, Long Trailer about newlyweds, played by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, hoping to make the honeymoon last as they travel across country in, well, a long, long trailer?

Class C motorhome at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Their RV dreams didn’t go exactly as planned but RV travel has come a long, long way since then. Especially with the need for social distancing and a sharp rise in the number of people working remotely, the RV experience is appealing to travelers who never considered it before. From young couples looking for new experiences to parents eager to make memories with their children to seniors enjoying their retirement freedom, people are hitting the road.

Class C motorhomes at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can park your RV at a campsite in a national or state park or a 5-star RV resort. And, if you’re not ready to buy your dream home-on-wheels, no problem! Rentals are available for you. Want to know the ins and outs? Read on…

Airstream travel trailer at The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where Can I Rent an RV?

Renters have two primary options: A major rental company that owns a fleet of its own RVs (e.g. Cruise America) or individuals who rent out their personal RVs when they aren’t using them (e.g. RVshare, the Airbnb of renting RVs).

Class A motorhome at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Do I Have to Choose From?

You can rent everything from a tricked out van with no bathroom to a home on wheels complete with kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and all the amenities.

Fifth wheel trailer at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?

Simply put, as much as you want to spend—from a small RV rental to a luxury RV rental. Just to give you a ballpark, I found a drivable RV that sleeps 6 on RVshare.com for $179 a night or $1759 for 7 nights, including taxes and fees.

Class C motorhome at Palo Casino RV Park, Palo, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are There Additional Fees Besides Taxes?

Most of the rentals have a mileage charge and some have a generator fee. At Cruise America, for example, the mileage fee for a 400-mile trip in a standard motorhome was $140. A kitchen kit (your dishes, pots, and pans, etc.) costs $110 if you add that option, though you can skip it and bring your own; the same is true of a personal kit (very basic linens, towels), which costs $60 per kit. With those additions, a four-night rental with a base total of $620 inches up to over $1000 by the time you add standard fees and taxes. And then there’s the damage deposit, though with any luck, you’ll get that back.

Class A motorhome at Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Do I Know What to Rent?

That depends on your needs and your comfort level as a driver. Are you an off-the-grid adventurer happy to rough it or a family of five requiring a bathroom and a shower? More than two people would be cramped in a truck camper or souped-up van while a Class A motorhome can sleep 7 to 10.

There’s an awful lot to choose from out there, but basically, RVs break down into two main camps (no pun intended): towable and drivable.

Towable RVs at Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Towable RVs

  • 5th Wheel: Requires a fifth-wheel hitch in your truck bed and a truck with sufficient towing capacity, a three-quarter-ton or more.
  • Travel Trailer: Attaches via trailer hitch and comes in different sizes, suitable for SUVs and pickups.
  • Popup Camper: Pull it behind just about anything. It expands (i.e., pops up) to give you more space once you reach your campsite.
Motorized RVs at JGW RV Park, Redding, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Motorized RVs

  • Class A: Think “big-as-a-bus house on wheels”
  • Class B: Think “oversized van”
  • Class C: Think “cab over driver”

(Why the smallest RV is a Class B and the mid-sized RV is called a Class C, we have no idea. It’s just one of those mysteries of the universe.)

Fifth wheel trailer at Lost Duthman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cruise America’s fleet includes large, standard, and compact RVs, as well as truck campers, all of them attached to the truck or chassis cab you’ll need to pull them. RVshare offers both drivable and towable RVs which you’ll rent from the owners. (You’ll need your own vehicle for the towable ones if you drive it yourself; some owners will deliver to the campsite for a fee.)

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

Traveling By RV? Everything You Need To Know Before You Hit The Road.

From finding a campsite to keeping clean

After months of isolation, summer travel season is upon us. And as travel restrictions ease up, all signs are pointing to a vacation season defined by the great American road trip. And at the center of it is the humble land yacht: The RV. A whopping 46 million Americans plan to take an RV road trip this summer, according to Ipsos. In an era where hotel stays can cause tremendous anxiety, it makes perfect sense: An RV is basically a motel on wheels, and you alone control the breakfast buffet, guest list, and zip code. 

Class A motorhome at White Tanks Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether you’re buying an RV or renting, here’s everything you need to know before you hit the road.

First, you need to figure out which type of recreational vehicle is right for you. If you’re looking to rent, you’ve essentially got three options. 

Camper vans (aka Class B motorhomes) are the least expensive, most discreet, and the simplest way to ease into the lifestyle, but aren’t usually equipped. This is especially troublesome in the pandemic since many public restrooms are closed. Also, it’s really tough to stand up inside. 

Class C motorhome at Wind Creek Casino, Atwood, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class C motorhomes are recognizable by the cab over the driver and the boxy back. These usually have a toilet, a shower, a small kitchenette with a fridge and stove, and are commonly available as rentals. 

Class A motorhome at Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Finally, Class A motorhomes are the bus-like behemoths with stuff like TVs, multiple beds, and lounging areas. These tend to cost more than an actual house and are expensive to rent… and operating one for the first time can feel like driving a condo. 

RVs at Rain Spirit RV Park in Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re just testing the RV lifestyle for a weekend or even a week or two, renting is probably the best idea. RVShare, the Airbnb of renting RVs, is a good place to start while nationwide companies like Cruise America will set you up with a land yacht. 

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re buying into the lifestyle for the long run expect to drop an anvil of cash. RVs are in serious demand this summer. If you can find a good deal on a used one that’s also a solid option but be aware that you could be buying someone else’s problem. Like buying any vehicle, check the mileage before buying and get it inspected by somebody who knows what they’re doing. Mold and dry rot can also be problems in older models.

Driving Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan your route, but be ready to change course. You can’t see it all. You should plan a route, sure, but leave yourself open for those spectacular nights beneath the stars. 

Walking tour of Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s good to have a rough idea of what you want to do so you can prepare. You don’t want to miss anything that could be really special but at the same time you want to leave room in your plans for the unexpected. That’s what really makes it special. The unknown and spontaneity of it!

Snake River at Twin Falls, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Google Maps is an obvious way to plan your trip. Or use a site called Roadtrippers ($29.99/year) which allows you to plan your route and highlights cool stuff to see along the way including roadside attractions. And, to alter your plans on a whim!

Campground in Glen Canyon National Recreation, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Choosing the right campground for your needs

If you’re reading this now, chances are you’re not going to easily find a campsite in a national or state park. They exist, but in the summer of COVID they’re in extreme demand. The likelihood of just rolling up to a panoramic site in Arches without a reservation is basically out of the question. RV Parks and campgrounds are also hot commodities, but might be the safer bet and easier to book.

Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having a toilet on wheels means you get to experience the joys of pumping grey water (shower waste) and black water (toilet waste) into the sewer. Your RV should come with the tools to do this but before you hit the road make sure your hose doesn’t have any holes in it (and you carry a spare). Just make sure you’re pumping it in the right place and not going full Cousin Eddie in the storm drain. 

Sewer connection at a full-service RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As for showering, folks with camper vans are advised to pack baby wipes or a camping shower that can be set up when you stop. If you want a quality shower, campgrounds are your best bet, but some truck stops like Love’s and Pilot Flying J’s have coin showers you can use too.

Dump station for gray and black water disposal © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Prepare for Campground Safety Regulations

Be aware of any safety requirements in place due to COVID-19. Some campgrounds require campers to wear face masks when there’s a risk of contact with anyone outside of the household. Be sure to bring hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and disposable gloves to keep your hands and any surfaces clean during your RV camping trip.

Worth Pondering…

RVing puts the world at your doorstep. Wherever your doorstep happens to be!

Advice to Help You Get Outside This Summer

Tips for people who don’t really camp but kinda want to camp

It’s the summer of camping. It’s the summer of RV rentals and takeout picnics, of visiting national parks, and exploring small towns. Summer has always been the season of road trips, but this year, being able to escape the four walls you’ve been quarantining in holds even more appeal.

Versailles, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

After spending half the year cooped up inside due to a certain virus we’re all sick of thinking about, our need for a good old fashioned camping trip has never been greater.

But camping can be intimidating, especially for first-timers. The key is preparation.

Babcock State Park, West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to bring (sunscreen and socks!), what to do (hike and stargaze!), and what to know (bears and bug prevention!) for a successful camping trip.

Socks might be the most important thing you pack. No kidding! Wet socks—whether from rain, mud, sweat, or a wet trail—make feet blister easier which can pretty much end your fun times right there.

Quail Gate State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To avoid unwanted run-ins with bears and other wily critters, you’ll need to put all of your “smellables” away (this includes toothpaste). If you plan on doing any hiking in bear country, invest in some bear spray.

Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t forget the deet. And don’t stress about it too much, either. Past health problems caused by the insect repellent were mostly due to overapplication and ingestion. If you apply as the label recommends (once a day, to exposed skin only), and wash it off at the end of the day, you’ll be fine. It certainly beats risking mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile—or the woes of being the mosquito magnet at camp.

An added benefit of camping: You might just wake up to the sight of a rugged mountain range bathed in morning sunlight, like we did in the photo below at Catalina State Park.

Catalina State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shutdown-induced boredom renewed our appreciation for scenic drives; now, we’re going full-on day trip, complete with roadside attractions, oldies on the radio, and a cooler in the back—but wait. 

Weekenders, meanwhile, are back in love with RVs. According to industry predictions, 46 million people plan to hit the road in an RV this summer. And it’s not just seniors getting in on the wonderful world of sewer drains and s’mores; millenials who used to roll their eyes at their parents’ traditional ways are largely behind the wheel. 

Camping in Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Those motorhomes, camper vans, and trailers are bottlenecking the national parks which are reopening across the country to renewed enthusiasm. For self-contained campers—those whose idea of roughing it includes being able to keep all your stuff within 10 feet—campsite reservations are among the hottest tickets to be had. Want to camp in Arches? Check back in October, when some spots might open up.

Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With the more popular parks at capacity, people are discovering America’s beautiful B-sides: Enter national forests with millions of acres to explore and hardly any people. America’s 154 national forests cover more than 188 million acres across 40 states: three times the total area protected by the 62 national parks. State parks, county and regional parks, and the lesser-loved national parks are now as valid a destination as Disney World reminding us that sprawling protected lands should never be taken for granted. So yeah, you’ve got options in these favorite often-overlooked natural playgrounds from coast to coast.

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These throwbacks to the “good old days” have always been available to us. But a funny thing happened this spring when we all started to hunker down, faced with unprecedented anxiety about the still-uncertain future: Collectively, people yearned not just for fresh air, but for the familiar

World’s Largest Pistachio Nut, Alamogordo, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The past is telling us that the best way to experience the present is to hop in an oversized vehicle and hit the road. To take a three-hour detour to see the world’s largest pistachio nut or some cute little town that somebody said has good pie. To struggle with a cheap popup tent and tell ghost stories with our friends. To get out this summer and barrel down the highway to rediscover places from our youth.

Discover cute little towns like Midway, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For now, those simple pleasures of discovery and escape from an increasingly fraught world—and sometimes, that’s enough.

Worth Pondering…

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.

—Douglas Adams

Is This The Summer Of The RV?

States across the U.S. are starting to open back up. What does that mean for when, where, and how to travel?

With the unofficial start of summer behind us and months before the kids go back to school—or not—many would-be-travelers with canceled plans are looking for ideas to travel safely. “Safe” does not mean the same thing to all people: While one person might be comfortable in an RV park because they have personal accommodations, another might find the campground itself too crowded for personal comfort.

Sea Breeze RV Resort, Portland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In any typical year, the end of May marks the official start of road trip season. But 2020, as we’re all painfully aware is not a typical year. The COVID-19 pandemic is not just wreaking havoc on people’s health and livelihoods—in just a few months it’s all but decimated the travel industry as well. Airplanes are grounded, cruise ships are docked, hotels are closed, and several states still have stay-at-home orders in place. 

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But for those of us who prefer road travel in our own vehicle over flights and cruises, the news isn’t all bad. According to recent headlines from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, LA Times, and many others, the American road trip is about to make a grand, splashing comeback. (Though, if you ask me, road trips never went out of style in the first place.)

Spirit River and Mount St. Helens, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Summer vacation will look at lot different for many families this year but perhaps what no one saw coming was the rise of the RV. The spread of COVID-19 has made air travel and public transportation mighty unpopular options while personal vehicles feel like more of a safe haven. Recent studies have shown travelers feel more comfortable in a personal vehicle where they can control the scenario, unlike shared transportation.

Dauphin Island, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV Industry Association says RV sales have increased 170 percent when compared to this time last year. Some dealers are reporting sales at any all-time high.

In an effort to keep things more contained, those renting RVs aren’t looking to hit the road and travel to crowded areas. RVshare said its study found 93 percent of respondents want to avoid crowds and 65 percent want to be surrounded by nature. We could see a far greater number of trips to national and state parks and wide-open spaces.

Along the Colorado River, Arizona side © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Perhaps playing to Americans’ stir-crazy feelings of confinement, they’re planning to take longer trips, too. Almost half of those surveyed planned to get away for a week or more than 10 days. But, if you’re thinking about taking the plunge on an RV and socially distanced vacation, just know you’re not alone. Quickly, isolated areas could become the next popular destination.

Sedona, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadtripping is a great way to explore some of the most beautiful places in the country while still avoiding big crowds, and after being cooped up at home many are understandably antsy to hit the road again. Remember to be mindful of risks, both to yourself and others.

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As we venture out consider that some of our fellow travelers are still adjusting to a new normal. To ensure everyone enjoys their chance to travel, keep these common-sense guidelines in mind:

  • Before heading out, check the status of the area you plan to visit
  • Phone ahead to determine under what conditions a park or attraction has reopened
  • Check the rules for recreation ahead of time for the specific area you’re planning to visit
  • Avoid high-risk activities like rock climbing or backcountry activities as law enforcement and rescue operations may be limited
  • Select low-traffic locations and times
  • Consider visiting less-traveled locations at off-peak hours to avoid potential crowding
  • Practice physical distancing outdoors by staying at least 6 feet apart
  • Avoid crowded locations where physical distancing may be difficult
  • Plan ahead, as services and facilities will be limited
  • If you are feeling even mildly sick, you should remain at home until you feel better
Historic Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If we learn anything from these last few months, it should be to behave respectfully toward any people you encounter or communities you visit during your travels. Be kind, act responsibly, and leave it better than you found it.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.

—Okakura Kazuko