13 Unexpected Benefits of Living and Traveling in an RV During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Is an RV one of the best ways to hunker down and stay healthy, safe and sane right now? The coronavirus outbreak is impacting lives, headlines, and markets on a global scale. And while we hit the road 6 years ago to be free to roam, travel and have adventures while working remotely. This week, we realized more than ever, the unexpected benefits of living in an RV. 

UPDATE 03/18/20: In just (5) five days since publishing this post, the concerns and risks related to the COVID-19 situation have escalated rapidly and alarmingly.

We just made updates to some of the points shared below, to reflect the changes we have made in response, and help flatten the curve:

  • We have canceled all travel plans and reservations for the next 10 weeks.
  • We are limiting our RV movements to stay in a small geographical area, to reduce the risk of other incidents (eg. breakdowns, accidents). Or possible concerns around closures of campgrounds, gas stations or state borders.
  • We are also encouraging others to postpone or cancel all non-essential travel at this time.

With all that said, we still live and work full time from our RV. And we are grateful for the flexibility and options we have to rapidly adapt to changing situations like this. So let’s jump into the article.

13 Unexpected Benefits of Living in an RV During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We reflected on the ways we’ve been able to maintain our ‘normal’ life as much as possible, during the coronavirus, while staying calm, healthy and responsible. And while we are sure we could come up with many more, here are 13 of them.

1. We are able to continue traveling the country. So far, we have been able to continue our travels without restrictions, parking and staying where we choose. We feel safer, as we are generally less exposed to the potential risks of COVID-19. We can easily avoid big cities, crowds, high risk areas, and seek warm, dry weather. We get to choose where we go, when, and how long we stay. 

UPDATE 3/18/2020: We just canceled our plans to visit Palm Springs, CA this week. We are avoiding ALL non-essential travel at this time and encouraging others to do the same. We will be hunkering down in our RV, boondocking on public open lands, until further notice.

UPDATE 4/10/2020: With triple digit temperatures looming in the desert, we decided to pack up and hightail it to Colorado and hunker down in a campground for two months.

2. We have our home and creature comforts with us at all times. Our RV has a comfortable bed, a well equipped kitchen, and bathroom. Everything we need to live, work, eat, sleep, play – and stay safe and healthy. We can whip up a meal, stream movies, or curl up with a book. With a reasonable supply of food on board, we can easily get through the next couple of week without having to re-provision. And we are sorted with an adequate (nothing crazy) supply of anti-bacterial cleaning products, paper towels, toilet paper, and over-the-counter medications.

We have our home and creature comforts with us at all times - a comfortable bed, kitchen, bathroom - everything we need to live, work, eat, sleep, play and stay safe and healthy

3. We can avoid all forms of public transport. Traveling by airlines, buses, trains, and subways would significantly increase our exposure to COVID-19. Our only modes of transport are our RV, tow vehicle and bikes, so we can still get around, while enjoying some fresh air and exercise. 

4. We are able to keep working remotely and run our business from our RV. With all the gear we need on board – our laptops, reliable internet access, unlimited cellular data plans, cell phones, plus a router and booster – we are connected, wherever we roam. We can write, film and edit videos and take photos wherever we are. It’s business as usual.

UPDATE 3/18/2020: What we ARE changing is our content schedule. We are presently rearranging the order in which we release RV and travel related content to be more sensitive, relevant and useful in respect of the current situation and people’s needs.

5. We can stay in campgrounds pretty much anywhere around the country. So far, we aren’t having trouble getting reservations anywhere. And there are thousands of RV parks and campgrounds, state parks, and city parks to choose from, when we’re ready for a change of scenery. 

UPDATE 3/18/2020: Many state parks and other campgrounds are closing, many remain open. While we have not been impacted, other RVers have been. The situation is changing daily. Click here to keep up with the latest updates on campground closures around the USA.

6. We can even camp off the grid, with our own power and water. Right now, we’re boondocking (also known as dry camping without hookups) in the Arizona desert. We’ve been parked out here in solitude, in a location that is popular among RVers, especially in winter. Our power needs are provided by lithium batteries, solar panels and on-board generator. We have a large holding tank of fresh water on board, plus two waste holding tanks. By conserving our usage, we can easily stay in one place for 2-3 weeks at a time, without having to break camp or go anywhere. 

Our power needs are provided by lithium batteries, solar panels, an on-board generator, fresh water and waste water holding tanks. By conserving our usage, we can easily stay in place for 2-3 weeks at a time, without breaking camp.

7. We can keep connected with people via Facetime, Skype, social media and email. Whether it’s communicating with our family, friends, or our community, we are using technology to stay in touch with our loved ones and customers, just as we always have. And while we still love to meet up in person when we can, we’re embracing social distancing for the next few weeks at least. In the meantime, Facetime, Skype and Zoom are great for digital face to face connection.

8. We’re staying sane by limiting our media exposure to occasional online news updates ‘as needed’. Our RV doesn’t even have a TV (intentionally) and we don’t watch the news. We simply keep up with what we ‘need to know’ as and when we choose. We try to manage our digital media consumption, and keep it to a minimum. We try to avoid talking about it much, or take on the heightened levels of fear, anxiety and emotions of others. Rationing news updates helps us manage our emotions and keep a healthy, balanced perspective.

We're staying sane by limiting our media exposure to occasional online news updates 'as needed'

9. We are still able to enjoy our favorite outdoor activities and adventures. Whether it’s hiking, biking, going for a scenic drive, or taking the Jeep out on a trail, we have so many options as we travel in our RV. We can visit lakes, have a picnic, visit national parks (with fewer crowds), and commune with wildlife. By continuing our outdoor activities as we travel, we are able to retain a sense of ‘normalcy’ as we go about our daily life.

UPDATE 3/18/2020: We are choosing not to travel widely in search of activities at this time. Many National Parks and State parks remain open for day use. However, they have limited staffing and resources to manage these facilities. Some parks are seeing a spike in crowds, which is advised against by the CDC. It is possible we may see some park closures in response to public health concerns. We are mostly avoiding to reduce the impact on these resources.

UPDATE 4/15/2020: After relocating to Garden of the Gods RV Resort in Colorado Springs for a two month stay, we have been able to drive, bike and hike in Garden of the Gods Park just behind the campground. The park has remained open to the public and has signs promoting social distancing.

10. We can adjust our travel pace to suit our needs and increase our productivity. Because we get to determine our travel schedule and itinerary, we can adjust our pace to suit how we’re feeling, and what we need to do. After a hectic couple of months, we’re actually happy to lay low in the RV and take it a little easier at the moment. With a big workload on our plates, we intentionally parked the RV in a quiet place so we can be even more productive, and get caught up on work and other household projects. 

11. We are able to save money, as most of our monthly expenses are variable – not fixed. A big percentage of RV life expenses are food, entertainment, fuel and campgrounds. We haven’t been eating out, socializing, or shopping much. We aren’t driving far, so we’re spending very little on gas. And camping out here in the desert on free public lands is, well, free! When we do stay in campgrounds, we use one of our camping memberships, so our camping expenses right now are next to nothing. In a nutshell, we’ve been able to modify our RV lifestyle to significantly reduce our expenses, which also helps reduce our financial stress, amidst economic uncertainty.

UPDATE 03/18/2020: Like most people, our income is likely to be adversely impacted by this situation. So keeping our expenses extra low can help offset that – we hope!

UPDATE 04/10/2020: Garden of the Gods RV Resort has monthly rates, plus metered electricity. We were able to stay as a value-exchange, comping our site for producing some campground related content for them. We’re paying for our electricity. 

12. We can easily self-isolate, quarantine with minimal disruption to our lives. RV life makes this easy, as our RV is self contained. If we did happen to get sick, we can even recover at home in our RV. In the (hopefully) unlikely event we may be exposed to COVID-19, we would not have to alter or disrupt our lives or schedule as much to deal with it. And that offers a great sense of peace and comfort.

UPDATE 03/18/20: This disease has the potential to be more dangerous and deadly than we initially thought. Being in a lower risk category, if we became infected, or experienced symptoms, we would first contact a Teledoc service for help. And try to avoid visiting a doctor or hospital in person, unless we experienced breathing difficulties or were advised to do so by a health professional.

13. Our RV life experience has taught us to be more self-sufficient than ever before. As RVers, we have learned – through necessity – to be pretty independent and take care of ourselves. We regularly have to fix things, change plans, adapt to new environments, and deal with breakdowns. We have learned to keep things in perspective, stay calm in the face of challenges, and be resourceful in how we deal with them. All we can do is take this one day at a time. And do everything we can to be part of the solution.

UPDATE as at 03/18/2020: The events of the past week have shown us all this is a serious and unprecedented situation. We all need to do what we can to help flatten the curve. Let’s follow the protocols advised by WHO and CDC. Follow instructions by authorities to stay home, avoid crowds and avoid non-essential shopping and travel. By staying calm and taking care of ourselves, we will also be better positioned to help others. 

UPDATE as at 4/10/2020: Case in point re self sufficiency, we had to pull over on the side of the road 45 minutes south of our campground so Marc could address a draining coach battery issue. We ended up having to spend the night on the side of the road, and he was able to DIY a quick short term fix the next morning before completing our journey. 

Lastly, we’re not saying that living and traveling in an RV is perfect. Nor is it necessarily ‘the answer’ to escaping the Coronavirus. Because there is no escaping the fact that this situation is affecting all of us in different ways. Life is going to look very different for a while. And none of us know how or when this will end.

In the meantime, we remain grateful for our RV and RV lifestyle. Our home on wheels definitely offers a very comfortable, convenient and flexible way to continue to live and work, while we ride out this situation. 

Got Comments or Questions?

How about YOU? Is your RV providing a safe haven right now? How has the coronavirus outbreak impacted your life and travels? Are you already traveling by RV (or considering it) to ride this out? What questions do you have about RV life?

We would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and questions, in the comments below.

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14 thoughts on “13 Unexpected Benefits of Living and Traveling in an RV During the Coronavirus Pandemic”

  1. It is certainly good to hear from you again. It is too long between communications. My biggest concern regarding you guys is that you tend to take on too much putting yourselves under extreme pressure. After Mark decided to resign from his employment for health reasons, you agreed to write a book for a publisher on an insane schedule. I keep wondering what you are getting yourselves into now. Glad to hear that you are curtailing your travels and other things that put you under pressure. One of the big things I miss when you post in written form is hearing Julie’s laugh. I have enjoyed that in your videos and in person. I enjoy your accent as well, but the big one is your laugh. Keep laughing!! Keep enjoying!! Don’t let the situation take that away from you!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Carl, always nice to hear from you. Yes the reason for the gap in communications WAS to take care of ourselves. Producing videos is what creates the most pressure, as it takes more time, work and energy than anything (30-40 hours each) which is practically a full time job, without even factoring in everything else behind the scenes like the website, our school, social media – and of course, time for us to be together as a couple, eat, sleep, explore. So don’t worry, we have been taking care of ourselves. And the book – well that happened about a year after Marc quit his job – and while the schedule was intense for a short time, we have zero regrets and are very proud with how it turned out, how many people it is helping, and that it’s been so successful (in its 3rd print run within a year). We have traveled very few miles since September, the longest trip being 950 miles over 2.25 days from AZ to CO and that was just fine. We have been full time for almost 6 years now and a lot of things have changed – us, the RV space, YouTube and it’s algorithms – it’s not like it used to be – YouTube creates a hamster wheel and so many people are just running to stay on it… but that is not sustainable… so we have taken a step back o review the bigger picture of where we can add value, be of service, make a difference, while enjoying our work and our lives. It’s not an easy juggle… And we don’t know anyone who has ‘mastered it’ but we are giving it all a lot of conscious thought and reflection as we reassess ‘where to from here’. Hope you are keep well! Promise to include a laugh in our next video! Take care – Julie and Marc

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  2. Full-time RV are presently in Birmingham Alabama hoping to get as north as possible because we are Boondocking and it’s getting really hot down here hopefully we can make it up to at least Indiana Illinois where it’s not so hot before we get tied down in a stay at home situation

    Reply
    • Good luck finding a cool place to hunker down! We are in the Arizona desert and starting to warm up here too but at least it is not as humid as Alabama. We plan to head to elevation still in AZ when it starts heating up. Stay safe and well!

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  3. Really enjoyed your blog. I was sitting here trying to convince my husband to take a trip in the RV, but after reading your article I am differently rethinking.
    Looking forward to reading your updates .
    Thank you
    Happy camper

    Reply
    • Thanks Sharon! Glad you enjoyed it! Honestly, at the moment, we really are discouraging everyone from moving. And NOT taking your RV out. It’s hard I know, but really important for what is happening in the world/country right now. Every bit we can all do to stay at home and not add strain to an already stressed system (including exposing others, as well as yourself) just makes sense, and helps a lot. We are seeing and hearing of people becoming resentful of RVers who are out and about and seen to be “above the rules’ and we want to respect that. Also many communities don’t want ‘transient’ people coming in at this time. We all just have to wait a bit longer before we can start gooing out and about about. But it’s a small price to pay for saving lives. Meanwhile, you can definitely do some trip and route planning. Hope you are staying safe and well, and thank you for being so considerate and rethinking your plans. In doing this, we can ALL be part of the solution 🙂

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  4. Great article. We too are in the AZ desert with cancelled East Coast trip plans waiting it out.

    Self-isolating and quarantine is one great benefit of full-timing in an RV, especially for those who own an RV that is “livable”. Practicing social distancing is much easier in many ways and spending more time outside in fresh air is essential according to the CDC.

    Another aspect that I think we’ll be getting to soon is related to the mental well being for most who live in apartments and homes. There is absolutely no way that staying inside for weeks or even months is possible. At some point, we’ll need a plan articulated for the millions who are coup’ed up, afraid (even paranoid), and looking for direction.

    In my opinion the outdoor community, including the RV community, needs to begin to outline options for the many who need direction. How can a family practice safe social distancing, comply with CDC guidelines, yet still maintain sanity?

    Yes, I’m biased in favor of the RV industry, but I think RV’ing is one possible answer for the health of kids and their parents. Even RV parks and campgrounds are safe places if you practice logical common sense distancing and cleanliness. An RV easily offers this option, and in comfort. We can do two things at once, and two things can be true at one time.

    Reply
    • That’s a really good point Russ! It IS going to start becoming difficult for people who are cooped up inside. We will give some thought to your ideas! Meanwhile, stay safe and well, and enjoy your time in the desert!

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  5. We left IN on 12-27-19, and arrived in Mesa, AZ on 1-9-20, and by 4 pm that day, my husband was admitted to the hosp. for congestive heart failure. We are now in the waiting period, waiting for 4-15, when he can get his echocardiogram and find out if he needs surgery. (we’re both over 60 and in the high risk group) The park we are in has full time residents so we are able to stay here as long as we need. We are pretty well stocked up in our RV (30 ft. Class C Bunkhouse). We are doing good entertaining ourselves, bingewatching, walking our 3 dogs, quilting (that’s me) and enjoying the sun. I never planned on living full time in an RV, but finding out now that I could, but I really would like more space.

    To help with the lack of perishables, I just bought an electric pressure canner so that I could can my own soups and meats. I think that will be an outside adventure as the counters inside are too small and I don’t think the dinette table could support the weight of the canner. 🙂

    Enjoyed seeing from your blog that you two were just down the street from us in Mesa.

    You both take care and stay safe… Linda

    Reply
    • Hi Linda, So sorry to hear of your husband’s heart condition! But glad you are safe and settled into Mesa through all this, and can extend your stay, are well stocked etc. 30′ is small for a couple to live in full time, especially when you are having to stay indoors so much. But glad this experience is showing you that you could love full time in an RV, but a bigger one. The canner is a great idea and being able to do it outside makes a lot of sense. We enjoyed our short stay at Mesa and are out boondocking on public land right now. You take care of yourselves too. And holding you both in our thoughts and prayers for your husband’s appointment on April 15. Stay safe.

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  6. Nice to read your article. We are hoping to leave for AZ April 1, but are concerned about diesel supplies out and about, and as 70+ yr old women, we are concerned about safety during this time, too. We thought our rv would be perfect for self quarantining, but getting there and back could be stressful. Any thoughts or suggestions for us or notes of encouragement are welcome. Thank you. Have fun and stay well.

    Reply
    • Hi Marcia. Glad you enjoyed the article. We are about to make some updates to the blog post, as there have been so many rapid and unprecedented developments in the past week that have revised our plans. At the moment, we are laying low in Arizona boondocking. We were planning to head to Palm Springs this week but we just cancelled that. We have decided to stay put for as long as possible, for many reasons. The situation appears to be becoming more serious and there are just no certainties anywhere any more. We are not fearful people, BUT this time is unprecedented. And we all need to do our part to take care of ourselves and each other. We want to minimize exposure and risk as much as possible for all, and reduce any possible chances of adding stress to an already stressed society. For example, if we were to break down, then what? If states closed borders, then what? If for some reasons gas stations were to close or ration., then what? We don’t want to be encouraging unnecessary travel right now – for anyone. If you are at home and safe right now, and just looking to vacation or get away, it may be prudent to delay your plans. Especially as, at 70, you are in a higher risk group. We honestly don’t know what the future holds, but the speed at which this situation has escalated even in the past 5 days, has been head spinning – and deeply concerning. We have been following the news, reading the advice of doctors in Italy/Europe – and it is overwhelmingly evident that we should ALL avoid non mandatory travel right now. We consider an RV to be ideal for self quarantining as well, but we are in a place where we can hunker down and not go anywhere already – and we also don’t have another home or option. You didn’t mention where you are located right now, or WHY you want or need to self quarantine – have you been exposed? Or just wanting to self isolate as recommended and have a change of scenery? As you probably know, we are optimists, but we don’t underestimate the gravity of this situation and importance of all of us to do our part in minimizing contact or travel. If you are at home and safe right now, it’s probably the best place to be. Sorry to be a downer on your travel plans, but the USA and world is in crisis right now. The USA is just at the beginning of seeing the full impact of this pandemic… we are a few weeks behind what’s happening in Italy. So closures of all kinds are entirely possible and will happen fast (based on what we have already seen this past week). We would say avoid putting yourself in a stressful situation, take care of yourself, and do your best to make the most of your time at home until we all see how this unfolds. Sending you virtual hugs and thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. Hope to see you out on the road some day!

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  7. We were just having this conversation this morning as we are in the initial planning phases of preparing for out RV launch. Stay safe and healthy out there!

    Reply
    • Hope you found the article helpful! Good luck with your RV planning to launch. If you don’t already, you’ll want to start with a copy of our book to get you started http://www.rvlove.com/rvlife And if you’re ready for a deep dive into learning what you need to know, we just released a 20% discount on our RV Success School online courses – use code CV20 to save 20% – https://rvsuccessschool.teachable.com – these will all get you on the right track and fast track your learning and help you avoid a lot of common (and expensive) mistakes. Wishing you all the best and hope our content is helpful to you 🙂

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