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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.
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.
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.
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.