Eventually, we assume, life will return to a semblance of normalcy. At some stage in the process, it will be considered acceptable to venture out for recreational camping. Here’s a look at how the experience might be different, post-COVID.
While trip planning itself won’t differ all that much, ensuring your campground of choice has managed to stay in business and reopen their doors so to speak, might be. During the coronavirus pandemic, RVers desperate for a place to stay turned to RV LIFE Campgrounds for the most up-to-date list of campground closures.
Conversely, we can expect to find similar updates for those campgrounds that will start to open up. Since that same data permeates the campground information in RV LIFE Trip Wizard, it too will be another great source for RV trip planning in post-COVID times.
Driving won’t have changed dramatically during this forced hiatus, but fuel prices certainly will have. Initially at least, you should be able to enjoy low fuel prices as you set out to shake off the quarantine rust.
If you drive a diesel pusher you may already be used to gloving up at those dirty truck stops when refueling. Now more than ever, all RVers will likely consider hand protection when handling the fuel pump.
Stopping by the office and checking in will be one of the diciest encounters campers will face. Campground offices and stores tend to be fairly close quarters already. Some may continue to enforce a 6-foot social distancing rule, which could be a challenge in many smaller park offices. Those that have erected plexiglass shields may keep them up permanently, flanked on each side by a bottle of hand sanitizer.
RVers arriving during those busy check-in times might find themselves briefly closer to several other campers than they are now comfortable with. Without a doubt, COVID-19 will for many, turn camaraderie into caution.
The camping experience for a family or solo RVer should change very little. There is usually enough space between RVs to afford every family enough personal space. You’ll still be able to pass by your neighbor and wave hello without breaking any past or present distancing rules.
It’s the multi-family engagements, club meetings, potlucks, and rallies that will suffer the most. Expect it to take several months before campers are comfortable in those types of environments again.
We would expect campgrounds to be open as soon as possible to initiate a revenue stream to help them stay afloat. On-site amenities, however, may not be quite as quick to open. Pools, clubhouses, and other recreation areas could be slow to return depending on their size, placement, and demand.
Perhaps this year, RVers will seek to camp later in the season than ever before. Is this the year to skip winterizing and use that RV during the cold months? Will traditional snow-bird states be overrun by anxious campers this winter yearning to play catch-up, or be abnormally vacant while folks fearfully stay home?
One of the best parts of RV travel is eating at well-known restaurants and quaint cafes. Trying new foods, hitting the small-town diners, and sampling local specialties is for many, an important aspect of the traveling experience.
After a couple of months of careful home meal preparation, will RVers throw caution to the wind in favor of unfamiliar food in an unfamiliar town with an unknown COVID response? Or will this be the year you try chocolate-covered bacon on a stick at your campfire, instead of that famous local pizza?
Repair and maintenance
RV dealerships and service shops have either seen feast or famine during COVID-19. Will your favorite RV shop still be open after coronavirus? Are they barely hanging on or completely overbooked?
The long-term effects of this pandemic are still unknown. Expect some RVers to simply skip this year’s annual maintenance altogether, while others will wait until fall and overwhelm the service centers after a late camping season concludes.
Expect the unexpected
Again, much is unknown at this point, other than we are certain that we can no longer take anything for granted. RV parks may be completely overrun by stir-crazy RVers hoping to get away from it all and salvage what’s left of 2020. National Parks and National Monuments may see an unprecedented surge in visitations.
RVers are hoping for a safe but early rechristening of the 2020 camping season. If this occurs soon, expect a lively summer. If recovery happens later rather than sooner, many will simply pack it up, winterize, and wait until next year for their first post-COVID RV trip.
All around RV industry enthusiast who has been RVing for 8 years and enjoys trips with his wife and dogs in their diesel pusher.