For thirteen years full-time RVing has given us so much joy and adventure. My husband and I couldn’t imagine living any other way. Through all the pros and cons of the nomad life, we never encountered one big full-time RVing drawback so powerful it altered our ability to enjoy this offbeat lifestyle. And then the pandemic happened.
A Full-Time RVing Pandemic Reality Check
As my fingers tap away on the keyboard to write this, my steadfast RV-driving husband commandeers us into another state. A generous friend has offered us a full-hookup spot on her gorgeous mountain property. Knowing that we could be there a while, she insisted. And as independent and self-contained as we are, my husband and I agreed to her generous offer. We would be fools not to.
The pandemic fallout has hit the full-time RVing community hard, and we are only seeing the beginning of it. For starters, thousands of full-timers like my husband and I are competing for ever-shrinking numbers of long-term RV campsites at parks across the U.S. Also, the many RV travel resources we count on as boondockers are dwindling.
Apparently, the biggest disadvantage to full-time RVing is a global pandemic.
The UnWelcome Mat is Out
The welcome mat for full-time RVers like us has been pulled right out from underneath our feet. For example:
- The list of public campground closures is getting longer by the day.
- Many private RV parks are also shutting down to newcomers.
- Public land boondocking access is more limited.
- Dump station access is more challenging.
- Small tourist towns are telling visitors to stay away, amid growing reports of sentries standing guard to keep visitors out.
The weather isn’t helping.
Following the seasons has always been one of the biggest advantages of the nomad life, but now it’s also one of the biggest full-time RVing drawbacks. It’s the reason we left our previous location. Temperatures at our favorite Southern California snowbird getaway, Fountain of Youth, are slowly climbing into the 80s. The weather is perfect now, but triple digit heat is just around the corner. Our Arctic Fox is well insulated, but with just one air conditioner, even 110-degree temperatures are too much for it.
Is Home Still Where You Park It?
We had to accept that the global pandemic hit home and something needed to be done. In a blur of packing and prepping the fifth wheel, we fled to our friend’s property. We will be there tomorrow and hopefully, the people in her small town will not come at us with pitchforks when they see our out-of-state license plates.
The saying “home is where you park it” has always rang true for us. And while we still believe that a “home” isn’t a necessarily a physical place but a mindset, the advantage of being a property owner is now quite apparent.
The biggest full-time RVing disadvantage is clearly, not having a spot to call your own during a pandemic. Are the current circumstances enough to make me want to become a property owner again? Not yet. But as this growing pandemic proves, nobody ever really knows what the future holds.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
Stephen Monteith Albers says
Obviously, 4-season off-grid capability will have extreme value going forward. The open question is, how long it will take the industry to produce viable product.
Gregg Remedes says
You could have had a spot if you took it seriously at the beginning of march. parks were still open and excepting guest for long term stays (if there wasn’t a waiting list). back at the beginning of this pandemic, to many RVers were in disbelief and thought it’s just a bug and the flu is worse, ignored it, spread it, and continued traveling regardless how many people told them it was a bad idea. they laughed and said they would continue traveling anyway. That was not only full-timers but people with sticks -N- bricks as well, heck, beaches, campgrounds, and stores were closing, states, counties and cities had already issued the “stay at home” orders and people were still posting how they were going camping that weekend. I have no sympathy for those that showed no respect to the rest of the RVing community and society as a whole. now that we are nearing “D” day and things are worse and continuing to get worse…. all I have to say is ” Home IS where we Park it” we listened to the warnings and tried to help others, but you can’t help people that don’t want to listen. Now all I have to say is Good Luck, best of health and safe travels.
Frank Greenberg says
Hi Rene ,
Great article .
We own XS12RVRanch in Liberty Hill Texas …near Austin.
We are Open and have a very unique Long Term Park on 250 acre
Fenced and Gated Ranch .
We are professionally Managed
We have Fishing, lighted tennis court
kayaking, paddle Boats , hiking and
Beautiful new Party Barn that seats 60
We have 140 Acre Dog Parks .
We cater to Long Term RVs
We are 5 minutes from great Restaurants and Shopping.
We are 15 minutes from Costco and all Major Retail centers
We are 10 minutes from hospitals
Give us a call if you need a safe and beautiful Ranch to stay .
I couldn’t have said better Gregg! Many Rvr’s complained about the Presidential actions – then they insisted the media – at the gov’t’s direction were hyping it! Well, here we are!
Gregg: See comment reply below Frank Greenberg comment – landed on the wrong reply!
L. S. Wallace says
❣️ I would not want to be full timers at our ages, we do drivy our Coach to Michigan every year, we live in Florida, full time but, we do go to see our grown Children, Grand Children & Great GrandSon every year. Except this year of course & my Husband got sick & we had to put it off for now.
Stephen Cornelius says
Your new post made me sad to think I will not be able to hit the road this summer in my brand new Jayco 36B motor home. We were excited about going to Memphis this month but the virus cancelled my wife’s brothers wedding. All the parks here in Myrtle Beach are closed. We hope to hit St.Pete and Tampa in June, but that’s an if.
Like your posts. Keep the dirty side down
Clifford Smith says
Has anyone heard of rumors that states are closing it’s borders due to the recent covid virus? I don’t see how that is possible, but we live in strange times. My wife and I hope to return to our home state of AK at the end of the month driving our motorhome from AZ. We were told by our US Senator that Canada is letting Alaskans drive through their country if we are returning home, but if we hit roadblocks just traveling north through the US, we might as well stay put in AZ.
Drew Mueller says
Even though we’re not full timers I feel your anxiety. I’m going to encourage you to hang in there anyway- better times are surely to come. We’ve got a trip planned to Junction City, Ore. towards the end of the month. The Winnebago/Country Coach service center is going to repair one of our slides. Now we’re not sure that trip is going to stay on schedule- very annoying but I too know this will happen eventually. People have the ability to rationalize and work situations- it’s one of our traits. Keep going, enjoy your stay and look forward to a brighter future soon…it will come.
Susan Smith says
We are fortunate in that we own a small lot for our rig in an RV resort, but I know what these fulltime RVers are going through…we wintered on the Gulf & as we left, the “crisis” started escalating…we got kicked out of state parks..we had no choice but to come back to our base.
Other people are caught in a situation with no place to stay or hook up..and with private parks closing now it is a real problem for full time people. I don’t know if property owners with acreages would be willing to let a rig stay on their property while this is going on..but it is one place to try.
Eventually I am hoping the American public will not put up with this incredible suspension of many of our rights (BTW, God given rights, not government given)…and say enough is enough.
The only actual person I have heard of being virus positive…said it was a mild elevated temperature…I met his relative in a campground. Govern yourself if you know you are more of a risk…but our country is in deep trouble over this “solution.”
Kathi Feyti says
Thank you for the post. There is so much vitriol and finger pointing on social media. Full Timers versus Weekend Campers versus Long Distance Vacationers. You didn’t do that. Just state the facts. Well I have a few sites on hold in Florida and Alabama for the next 6 weeks. I’m going to see if I can find a full timer that could benefit from these parks that are not shutting down. Even if its just for a few days to help out. Take care and enjoy your life.
I strongly believe we are being railroaded to a socialistic society. It’s very suspicious to say the least. We experienced this same Sanrio of being removed from the Everglades National Park, and quarantined in other various parks. So we went home to Colorado.
Eddie Palmateer says
I am also a RVer but find it appalling that you think we should take back our “God Given Rights” during a pandemic that has already claimed many lives and will continue to do so. I don’t like it any better then you that we can’t wander the country but I chose to stay where I am at so as to not spread this virus around.
Maybe you should think a little more about the people you might harm moving from place to place during your travels as you might be spreading it. Sorry for your inconvenience.
Covid is a killer so its nothing to do with your “freedom” – its everything to do with social distancing to let this pandemic pass with as few deaths as possible.
Had our leadership acted in January instead of calling it a hoax this would not be as big of a cluster as its become.
Kathi Feyti says
Bye Michael – this article was not about politics and who said what. Read it again. Get your head out of your….
Mike H says
The administration did begin to act in January, by stopping travel from China into the US. But almost every media outlet (and their guests) took the opportunity to call him a racist for doing so. Many people are “arm-chairing” every decision made by the President. Although fashionable, it’s naive and sophomoric. No one likes to listen to the guy that criticizes a Quarterback on Monday morning. He takes no risk and has no courage.
Stephen Cornelius says
I just book marked your address. Next time we will be in the area I’ll be calling
Stephen Cornelius says
A virologist told me yesterday if you can take a deep breath and hold it for 15 seconds without coughing or gagging, your okay. Something to do with the lungs filling up.
Stephen Cornelius says
In Myrtle Beach if you are in the park you can stay in the park. If you ain’t, turn around
Wow that is something I just read and I see the problems as we travel every winter in our rv. I would open a spot to help if a rv’er is stuck in my area. I would be willing to help like the people in the this post. I had put in a full hook up for a 50 amp rv three years ago when our home burned down in the country ware we live as we stayed on the property wile we rebuild the home. We all need to help when people are in need in times we have today.
Stephen Cornelius says
We are all really in this togethet.
We’left NY last Nov. and have been in Fla. since. First in a county CG on West coast and presently on East coast. The CG on West side closed completely after we left and here no more can come in, but allowing those of us that are here to stay until our resv. is up – no renews. Beaches are completely shut down. We are planning on heading back to NY Monday, wondering how it’is gonna go.
Michael Mccracken says
Full time RV’er in a 31 ft motorhome. We were in Florida for 6 mos. Our time was up the end of March and we had made reservations for Oklahoma to visit family and friends. No reservations were made to stay in parks along the route. We had no problem finding a overnight park along the way. The only state that we saw with a check point was at the Florida and Alabama boarder on the I10. Traffic going into Florida was being stopped but not leaving the state. The RV parks we stayed in along the way were set up to take payment without human contact. They had vacancies posted. Trip went without a problem and we are spending a month in Oklahoma before traveling on to our home state of Arizona. Very disappointed that we can’t visit with friends and family but better safe than sorry. Hoping everyone will follow the guidelines and stay healthy during theses terrible days.
Joe Spidle says
Perfectly written article. It was great to hear from another full timing couple. For over 3 years we have been traveling and “following the seasons” in our RV. In February we found a different park in FL that we decided to try for the winter of 2020/2021. They offered us our own site (2 year lease) for $287 a month. In March we signed a contract with them and arrived here April 1st to try it out. So glad we did because now it appears we will have to stay here for part of the summer. Good luck to all full timers out there.
Harry Palmer says
The challenge for everyone is learning to cope with the changes caused by this pandemic. I would love to go camping and travel but it won’t happen until, maybe, this summer. Neither my wife nor I have been anywhere for the past few years since we’ve both had medical issues. Now we are doing well but we don’t want to be on the road if something happens.
If we can help someone, then we should do it since we might be in the same type of position in the future. I’m fortunate I have a good place to stay but I would like to go fishing at some point! However, the choice at this time is to stay home (or stay put somewhere) so the virus can hopefully pass you by.
Best wishes to all, whether in your RV or at “home”. Be safe and remember you can talk with your friends and relatives by Skype, Duo (on Google), or another video service.
Robert H says
As full timers ( 3 years) we had made a decision to get off the road and settle in Albuquerque this coming fall. We stored our RV in Arizona with plans to pick it up in may after we return from the UK.
We left on the last flight out and are staying with our daughter in the English countryside, but we dont expect to return in early May as planned.
The people here are working from home and practicing safe distancing.
No mixed messages.
Were following the situation in the US, and too many people are letting politics get in the way of good judgment.
Wash your hands,and keep your distance, listen to the professionals,not the politicians
The is no reason to not go fishing at anytime you want! My Mother who is 89 years old goes out every morning and afternoon to walk around this nice lake,she is not hiding at home or in a RV scared to go outside. Its sad that people always let Fear Rule their lives.