Social Distancing for Full Time RVers
If you’re a full time RVer, you already know what everybody else is just now realizing: Traveling in an RV can be the perfect way to get out and explore during COVID-19. The open road stretches out before you, you’re not bound to the schedules of airlines and buses, and beautiful destinations like national parks and nature preserves become your temporary home for the night.
Whether you’re on the road full time year-round or on a seasonal basis, COVID-19 is likely going to affect your travel plans. Fortunately, it’s still possible to enjoy a lengthy RV trip–in fact, now more than ever, that’s the kind of travel that makes it possible to social distance while still enjoying yourself. If you’re considering full time RVing this summer or just taking an RV vacation, you’re in good company (metaphorically speaking, of course). According to the senior manager for the RV Industry Association, 2020 is going to be “the summer of the RV.”
Before you hit the road, here are some tips on how to RV safely:
Typically, as a full time RVer, you’re allowed to be spontaneous–stay in one city for a few weeks, head to a state park for a night, randomly take that exit to see what kind of adventure it might bring. During COVID-19, your RV treks will need to involve more planning.
Start with a basic understanding of where you can and can’t go, especially if you plan to cross state lines. Some states, such as Maine, require visitors to test negative for COVID-19 72 hours prior to arrival. Others may require you to quarantine upon entering or to quarantine after leaving. Restrictions may apply to everyone or just visitors from certain hotspots.
Additionally, check to see if campgrounds, state parks, national parks, and other areas of interest are open. For example, this summer, the entire east side of Glacier National Park is closed. Other national parks may have similar closures affecting locations inside and outside the park.
In a nutshell, here’s your plan of action: Restrict travel to in-state when possible, make campground reservations in advance, and confirm everything prior to hitting the road.
Regulations surrounding restaurants, bars, stores, and other services are often changing amidst COVID-19. To avoid closures and practice social distancing, pack everything you need with you. Bring food, clothing, toiletries, camping items such as bug spray and sunscreen, medical necessities, rechargeable or solar powered batteries for electronics, and of course, whatever you need to keep yourself and your family entertained. Now is the time to forgo theme parks for good old fashioned lawn games like bocce ball. Bring along novels, magazines, and playing cards too.
Keep it simple
Rather than counting on visiting a zoo, taking a tour of a museum, or booking a rafting trip, plan on activities that you know won’t be interrupted by unexpected closures or unavailability due to limited capacity and high demand. This can often mean spending time in nature. You can hike, stargaze, bird watch, or picnic without having to worry about buying tickets.
Choose public lands over private campgrounds
Private campgrounds may not make it possible to social distance or they may be temporarily closed. Fortunately there’s a great–and often free–alternative. Public lands. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, public lands include both developed and dispersed camping. The former may incur a small fee, the latter is almost always free. Dispersed camping, aka setting up your rig wherever you want in a designated wilderness area, may require you to boondock, but it also promises solitude and the best views. If you go this route, you can camp in the same spot for 14 days, after which you must move at least 25 miles to a new site.
If you’re at risk
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are immunocompromised, or are at-risk, you may want to curb any ambitious RV travel plans this summer. Stay at home if possible. If your RV is your home, stay in one area, avoid close contact with other people, and take it easy. Next summer will be here before you know it, and your RV travel dreams can still come true then.