If you’ve never traveled in an RV before, you might find yourself with a lot of questions. What’s it like? What sort of RV should I get? Am I the kind of person who would even like RV travel?
When it comes to that last question, the answer is most definitely yes. RVs aren’t just for one specific type of person. No matter what your travel style — whether it’s one of those listed below, or something entirely different — an RV can fit your individual travel needs. Here’s how:
Vacations can be as much a source of inspiration as relaxation. Whether you’re looking for a landscape to paint, photos to snap, or are in search of a more abstract muse, RV travel can’t be beat — just try parking your trusty road-trip sedan in the woods for a week and you’ll see that you need this upgrade.
You can climb whatever mountain, explore whatever valley, and stay at each as long as you choose. In an RV, you’re on no one’s schedule but your own. No packing up the car and heading back home when the sun sets. No wishing you would’ve brought that other lens, that other brush, the other tool kit with you. It’s about full, uninterrupted immersion.
Trip idea: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon
If you’re a “stuff accumulator,” you need to travel by RV. Maybe it’s a weakness for touristy trinkets, or perhaps you’re nursing a hardcore antiquing hobby — what better way to get your haul home? There are no shipping fees and no carry-on restrictions, meaning you can bring back whatever you like from that wine country tour. Or that roadside flea market you just had to scope out. Or all those super cool seashells from the beach. The reasons, they are aplenty.
Trip idea: Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, Michigan
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey” — a sentiment that’s doubly true if you’re the kind of person who takes joy in documenting the journey on social media. The #VanLife movement has provided a virtual home to this community of mobile travel Instagrammers, but whether you’re traveling in some hipster-ific vintage wagon or one of the many types of RVs out there, the possibilities for an ultra-photogenic vacation are boundless.
Trip idea: Anywhere — because it’s the journey, remember?
What equipment do you need? Scuba gear? Climbing ropes? Skis? Your own parachute? Tandem bikes? Rods and reels? Paddleboats, stand up paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks? Or maybe all of the above, because an RV allows you to bring all your toys with you and keep them close for quick and easy access. Check, check, check, and check — pack it all…because you can.
Trip idea: Pacific Coast Highway, California
If you hear “RV” and your mind immediately goes to scenes of bending and stooping your way through cramped quarters and sleeping on too-short beds with super-thin mattresses, you need to check out this infographic. Pretty much any RV can be customized for maximum comfort and Instagrammable decadence (marble countertops, anyone?), but if you have the means from the outset, you’d do well to remember that RVs come in all different categories of luxury.
If you want something that can hold all your friends, all your clothes, and every bell and whistle you could possibly want — think extra leg room, nearly 360-degree windows, and space to hold your ATV — you’ve got options.
Trip idea: Sedona, Arizona
For some, vacations take planning, saving, and loads of prep. For others, the second the clock strikes 5pm on Friday, it’s time to hit the road. You don’t need a heap of vacation days to set out on a memorable trip — a weekend is plenty of time to explore a new place or hit up a beloved fave.
No matter where you live, there’s likely a state or national park or some cool city within a day’s drive. With an RV, every weekend is an opportunity for adventure with little need for investment beyond the RV itself (money-wise or in time spent planning). If you’re the “pick up & go” type, you need to be the RV type.
Trip idea: Your nearest undiscovered state forest
The Budget Traveler
We’ve already looked at how RV travel can be great for extravagant excursions (hello, Glamper!). But for many, it’s a great way to save money while traveling. Think about all the normal travel expenses you can skip with an RV: You don’t need to pay for hotels. You can cook your own meals. You can save any leftovers you have from meals in or from dining out. There are cold drinks and snacks in the fridge. Your nightly entertainment is at the campfire not too far from your doorstep. In an RV, you can have a memorable vacation for a fraction of the usual cost, every time.
Trip idea: One of these 15 amazing state parks
The Family Traveler
Two kids and a dog? Pack ’em up. The more people you have with you, the more economical RVing becomes. You’re not paying for four meals out, three times a day. You’re all in one vehicle, and you don’t have to play Tetris to get the luggage in and out of the car at every stop. No squeezing, no elbows sticking into each other’s sides, and way less complaining. If that’s not worth the few seconds more it takes to park, nothing is.
Trip idea: Sanibel Island, Florida
The Long-Term Traveler
Sometimes, traveling isn’t so much about taking brief vacations as it is an opportunity to lay down new roots. Rather than opting for brief excursions, the long-term traveler sets up home. The length of stay can vary (a few weeks? a year?), but the important thing is this traveler is not a “tourist.” They’re not signing up for any sightseeing bus tours. They don’t want to visit; they want to live.
Trip idea: Anywhere inspired by one of these 7 iconic US road trips
It can be hard to find any truly uncharted territory in the 21st century, but traveling by RV is a way to satisfy your craving for the unknown. Being your own guide means you can explore every corner on your own time, spend an extra day here, lose a day there. You can set your course for the most remote campgrounds, not see another vehicle for hours at a time, knowing you’ve got food and water if you need to pull over for an impromptu stargazing session. Those places that make you feel like a pioneer — a real explorer — are rare, but still reachable. That’s the magic of it all.
Trip idea: If we told you where to go, you wouldn’t be a pioneer.