Hitting the Road in an RV?

June 22, 2020

Categories: Education, Retirement, Tips

Why an RV May Be the Way to Go This Summer and Fall

Summer travel is popular for a reason. When the sun is shining outside, it’s natural to want to bask in it, to have fun and explore. And with school out for most kids, scheduling time away is more easily accomplished for families, not to mention largely devoid of winter weather snafus.

But the lingering pandemic has thrown many a monkey-wrench into people’s travel plans this summer and fall. What to do? Considering the COVID-related challenges of mass transit, lodging and popular points of interest, would-be travelers are looking for alternatives to the traditional summer trip.

Enter the Recreational Vehicle (RV). A veritable hotel room on wheels, choices range from the most bare-bones options to those complete with full kitchens, room for a dozen people to sleep, and even a fireplace. It’s like a private cruise on land, and you’re the captain!

Here are seven reasons to consider getting away… with an RV.

  1. It can be cost-effective.
    For sure, a recreational vehicle won’t get the fuel mileage of a hatchback. But with gas prices down, it could be the best time in recent memory to take a road trip at a lower cost. Buying and cooking your own food is cheaper than eating all or most meals out. And you’ll save big bucks on airfare and hotel rooms.
  2. See a different slice of the country.
    With your own vehicle, you’re at liberty to explore less-traveled routes, stumble across unexpected vistas or great unadvertised small-town attractions. There are lots of resources online for the RV community about routes, points of interest along the way, reviews and more. Be sure to check for COVID-related closures and restrictions. (See “resources for research” below.)
  3. Get back in touch with family.
    With so many attractions closed at this time, your friends’ or families’ homes can be a fun RV destination. Create your own attractions! Take socially-distanced walks, make a campfire with s’mores, play yard games like corn hole and so forth. Just be sure there is room for the RV in the driveway or yard, and check that there aren’t parking or other restrictions where your friends or family live.
  4. Your schedule is yours.
    Those with wanderlust can truly wander in an RV. By not being locked into an itinerary, it’s as easy as stepping on the gas to move on from an attraction that sounded great online but fell short in real life. Plus, with no stressful rushing to meet an airplane connection, you can take your own sweet time to get places.
  5. It’s easier to maintain health standards.
    With a kitchen and bathroom only your family accesses, you can make your RV a bastion of cleanliness. By eating at “home” and using your own bathroom exclusively, you’ll cut down on possible virus exposure. Of course, picnics are a great option as well if you take care to clean public tables before using.
  6. Go camping without actually camping.
    Have you ever woken in a tent with water dripping on your forehead? Or perhaps you’ve been unable to get comfortable because your tent was pitched on top of a rock, or you’ve had unwelcome furry visitors because you didn’t secure your food properly. If you’ve had a less-than-stellar traditional camping experience, RV travel might be the perfect version of camping for you.
  7. Bring more stuff. And bring your pet!
    Imagine being free from dealing with lost luggage, paying extra fees for all that fishing gear or worrying about having enough toys or other kid diversions. Bonus: the furry members of your family can come along, which also saves the money you’d spend boarding them.

Other Considerations

Make Sure Everyone is Healthy
Traveling while ill can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. If you can, have everyone get tested before you go and adhere to social-distancing and mask recommendations while you’re away and after you return.

Make Reservations
Though the ability to be without an itinerary is one of the benefits of RV travel, it’s probably a good idea to reserve your campsite ahead of time. Doing so will ease your mind that the campground will be open and that there will be room. This is especially prudent considering COVID-19 closures.

Making reservations can save you money as well, as advance reservations can cost less than paying for a spot on-site. With sites generally ranging between $50 and a couple hundred dollars a night, you could save a bundle by planning ahead. Be sure to research the amenities available such as power, water and sewer, plus whether bathroom facilities are open (important if your RV doesn’t have one). And calculate in any add-on fees for extra people, vehicles and pets. You may also wish to consider more unusual, less-populated places to park the RV for the night.

Campground “Extras”
Some campgrounds have things to do like miniature golf, swimming pools or group events at night. Remember, in the time of COVID-19, these extras may have changed. But even if they are open, if you want to maintain social distancing and dissuade kids from taking part, you may wish to pick a place that’s less equipped.

Resources for Research
With normal operations of campgrounds and attractions in flux, research is especially important. If visiting a national park or monument is of interest, visit the National Park Service (NPS) site, nps.gov, to see which parks are open, for what hours and in what way. Restrictions may include size of group, and visitor centers may be closed or have shorter hours. Shuttle bus service will likely be unavailable and picnic areas may also be off-limits. By visiting the NPS site, you’ll also learn about road detours, closures due to wildlife or weather issues, and other alerts for would-be visitors.

Be sure to check cdc.gov for the most up-to-date travel recommendations, as well as state and county health department sites. RV community sites like GoRVing.com, GoodSam.com and Escapees.com are great planning resources.

Considering an RV purchase? The Summit can help you get on the road with special low rates on RV loans. For more information, call our Member Service Center at (585) 453-000 or (800) 836-7328.

All loans are subject to credit approval. Must be 18 years of age or older to apply. The Summit’s loan programs, rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice. 100% financing available on recreational vehicle loans.

You must be a member of The Summit FCU to take advantage of its products and services. The Summit FCU is federally insured by NCUA. Membership eligibility required. The Summit is an Equal Housing Lender.

Cynthia Kolko, The Summit Federal Credit Union