RVing for Millennials – Myths, Trends, and a Touch of Trepidation

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If you’re reading this you’re likely thinking seriously about RVing. You’ve talked to, read about, or lived vicariously through other people who’ve been living the RVing life, yet you just aren’t sure if you can hack the RV lifestyle.

You have questions. Hopefully, I have answers. So, let’s get to it!

Myths

Myth 1. RVing: Old Folks, Red Necks, and Hippies, OH MY!

So, you’ve been told RV camping is for old folks, red necks, and hippies. Well, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, and this is one of them. As it turns out, camping in the 21st century is far more diverse than one might imagine.

Much as it was way back in 2017, when Covid-19 wasn’t a thing, and remote work was still fairly scarce, Millennials are still a major force in the camping industry. In 2020 they made up 41% of first-time campers, a trend market analysts expect to continue. So, if you’re a Millennial, and you’re considering the nomad life, don’t be quick to shrug it off as a flight of fancy. Many Millennials are trying it on and finding that it fits!

You needn’t take my word for it; read it for yourself!

Myth 2. RVing Is A White Thing

When it comes to camping, stereotypes abound! The problem with Stereotypes is that they don’t change, even when that which they’re typing does. Camping is a prime example of biased stereotypes.

While it’s true that the majority of campers are Caucasian, it is not true that other ethnicities don’t camp. In fact over the past 10 years African Americans have increased from 6% of all campers to 12% of all campers. Not to neglect other ethnicities, Hispanic/Latinx campers have jumped from just 2% in 2012 to 13% in 2020, and Asian/Pacific Islanders have gone from 1% to 7%.

RV camping is becoming an every-man’s (or woman’s) game, so don’t let demographic misperceptions hold you back! If you want to camp, get out there and do it!

Myth 3. Camping Is Too Rustic

Traditionally people think of camping as something straight out of the Wild West. However, the truth scarcely resembles this picture. Modern RV camping has a lot to offer. Depending on your camping style, you can find an RV that fits your needs quite comfortably. Need space to stretch out? There’s an RV for that. Need a smaller, more romantic space for you and your partner? There’s an RV for that, too. Or maybe you are looking more for your own mobile She Shed to take off and live life on your own terms. There’s an RV for that.

RV’s aren’t the only modern amenity of 21st century camping. Campgrounds and other out-of-the-RV experiences are far more than a tin of beans over a campfire. You have campsites that are equipped with just about everything you need to live and work right from your RV. Or, if you need a change up every now and then, you can even spend a few days glamping it up in a fancy tent or comfy cabin. Camping is about freedom, and freedom is about options. You have options, my friend!

Trends

Now that we’ve busted some of the more persistent myths about RVing in the 21st century, I’m going to make an assumption. I’m assuming that you’ve been considering the RV lifestyle because you’ve seen and heard amazing things about it on the internet.

Now, I know this is only an assumption, but for most of you it probably holds true. There are a number of fascinating blogs, vlogs, and Instagram feeds that allow the less-than-adventurous to live vicariously through die-hard nomads. Some travel solo, others with partners, and still others with entire families. These full-time RVers are the pioneers of the modern nomadic lifestyle, and they’ve proven that it can not only be done, but it can also be done well. Furthermore, it’s being done by many, and these many are often energetic, educated, and employed. They’re also considerably younger than the RVer of a decade or more ago, and they’re part of an increasingly diverse demographic, as was stated earlier.

Now that we’ve addressed the nomads themselves, we really should talk RVs. While it may not be difficult to appreciate the idea of breakfasting in the mountains one week and on the beach the next, it can be difficult to appreciate the vehicle that makes it possible. Traditionally, RVs have either been huge, gas-guzzling buses, or tow behinds that require huge, gas-guzzling trucks to haul them. How does one justify the carbon footprint of dragging your home around the country at around 12 miles per gallon?

There are a number of concerns regarding the RV lifestyle, and while these definitely deserve consideration, they aren’t necessarily deal-breakers. Let’s take a closer look at a few.

Environmental Cost

Environmentally, RVs do present some challenges. However, the rising demand for more eco-friendly options is making its mark on the way modern RVs are designed and manufactured. According to Popular Mechanics, RVs are more efficient than ever. Many models are made with composite shells and sustainable materials, such as bamboo and birch wood, and they utilize grey water tanks to reduce water waste and solar power to reduce the need for less energy-efficient generators. High efficiency appliances and space-saving designs further reduce their footprint by reducing energy use and overall weight. Lighter RVs reduce fuel consumption and wear and tear making some models towable by light trucks or even crossovers.

Remote Work

One unintended consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic is that it has never been easier to work remotely. This isn’t to say this trend will continue, but for now many tech-centric jobs are strictly out-of-the-office. If you’re considering RV living, you need to be able to support your lifestyle, and remote work is the most popular method of employment among nomads.

While the trend toward remote work is definitely in the nomads’ favor, it certainly isn’t without concerns. How do you stay connected? What if you experience tech problems out in the middle of nowhere? Can satellite internet provide you with the connection you need to maintain your employment? And what do you do when your boss calls you back to the office? These are all things that will affect your camping style, and they should be honestly evaluated before you select an RV or plan a trip.

Trepidations

There are some social aspects of RVing that some often wonder about. Sometimes they may make outright assumptions that are incorrect and potentially off-putting.

Social Isolation

Social distancing has made meeting new people more difficult, but one thing you don’t hear much about in connection with RVing is isolation. You might think that living nomadically essentially cuts you off from your previous existence, but this is simply not true. RVing may have moments of isolation, but you’re likely the one orchestrating them. Further, living nomadically, provided you’re planning well and living within your means, actually allows you a great deal of freedom. This freedom can take you places and bring you to people that you have wanted to see, but have been hindered by distance or expense.

There is a culture at work in the RVing community, and this is especially true for full-time nomads. There are a number of online camping communities, such as RVillage.com and Escapees RV Club, where meeting others with similar interests is fairly easy to do. These people are also on the road and mobile. And connecting in person at previously designated destinations, or even meeting up spontaneously, can be a great way to make lasting nomadic connections and to enrich your RV life.

Close Quarters

It’s true that RVing with a partner or a family may cause disputes, debates, and discussions, some of which might become heated. However, where in urban or suburban life is this also not true? Anywhere there are two or more people involved in a relationship dynamic, there will be some chafing sooner or later. I’d love to say that RVs are magical and they somehow manage to delete this aspect of human connection. Of course, if I did that I’d be lying.

Close quarters can be a serious problem for RVers, and this is most true when planning is poor. This isn’t to say that you can plan away interpersonal conflict, but you can certainly plan to minimize it. Money, sex, maintenance, and the potential for plans to fall-through at the most inopportune times are all areas that should be openly discussed, and, to the extent possible, planned for. Everyone’s needs must be out on the table before embarking on your journey. Plans regarding money and maintenance must especially be adhered to, as these are two areas that have the potential to make or break your RV dream.

Once everything is out in the open, the budget and maintenance schedules are worked out, and a sturdy Plan B (and potentially a Plan C) is in place, conflicts will be less likely to occur. Add to that the amazing feeling of being wherever you choose to be, whenever you choose to be, and you are likely to find those close quarters much more comfortable than you could ever have imagined.

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