A year ago if you had told me that in 2020 a new virus would essentially shut down the world for weeks, I probably would have scoffed a bit and chuckled at your doomsday prediction. And yet, here we sit, only a few weeks out from the Covid crescendo, and our world is forever changed.
Covid’s effects will continue to be felt for months to come, whether as lost opportunities, lost wages, or even lost loved ones. The trickle down effect has hit RVers, many of which have found their travel plans completely derailed. We had held out hope that our long RV trip to New England, scheduled for late-summer, might still be a possibility. But even something as simple as crossing state lines has become more complicated as travelers must understand and abide by each state’s specific Covid response plan. Since the states we had planned to visit had more stringent restrictions and requirements for entry, we decided our simplest course was to abandon our plans and seek other opportunities in and around our home state. It’s a disappointment of course, but there have been hidden blessings in our “silver-linings summer.”
We recently returned from a week of camping at Ohio’s West Branch State Park. It was the first time in a long time that life felt “normal” again. But even at the campground there were reminders of what life will be like in a post-Covid world. Jarrett and I have been pondering the ways our travel may look different, at least in the short-term but perhaps for even longer, as our world continues to grapple with Covid’s effects. Below are some of the ways we are modifying the way we RV:
Taking the camper with us more.
This summer we had planned to take a trip to visit family, sans camper. But in light of Covid, we were concerned about having to use restrooms along our 600-mile route. This is where having a camper is a huge boon! We’ve decided to take the camper with us so we have access to a bathroom, sink, and kitchen. Aside from fuel-up stops, we’ll be able to be self-contained and minimize any exposure.
I know of another family that had been using their motorhome for day visits to local state parks. By taking the motorhome on their day adventures rather than just the family car, they were able to have their own bathroom and a place to eat so they could limit their exposure to other people while still enjoying the outdoors.
Staying closer to home when possible.
I mentioned earlier how we’ve canceled our big New England trip due to the complications associated with traveling through multiple states with different Covid plans. Back in April when Covid hit its first peak, we began to wonder whether we would still be able to take our summer trips. So we decided to form a back-up plan that involved reserving full hook-up campsites at Pennsylvania state parks. Our rationale was, if travel restrictions were still in place, staying in our home state would make it more likely we could still go camping. We also thought it was possible bathrooms might be closed at state parks, so having full hook-up would be essential for being able to camp for longer stretches. Going forward, a lot of RVers may be seeking full hook-up spots at area campgrounds, so reserving early will be key to snagging those sites, especially at campgrounds where full hook-ups are limited.
Staying self-contained as much as possible.
During our week-long visit to West Branch, the campground posted signs urging campers to practice self-contained camping whenever possible. Since we were not on full hook-up for that week of camping (we made those reservations months before Covid even started), we still had to use the shower houses. We were careful to practice social distancing and proper hand-washing, and the bathrooms were well-equipped to handle the campers.
Campers were also asked to limit their interactions with neighboring campsites. At West Branch the sites were (for the most part) well spread out, so that wasn’t a problem. When we first arrived at the campground the playground was still shuttered, so the kids contented themselves with biking and playing yard games that we brought with us. Although it was a slightly different camping experience, RVing allowed for some normalcy even amid a national crisis.
Has Covid caused you and your family or friends to make adjustments to your RV travel plans? We’d love to hear how you are responding to the ongoing Covid crisis: Leave a comment below! 🙂