5 Kinds of Travel That Are Simply Easier (and a LOT More Comfortable) in an RV
After six years of traveling together, my RV has spoiled me for every other type of transportation. I’ve spent months at a time exploring the gorgeous North American continent — from the Everglades’ menagerie of aquatic wildlife to the colorful badlands of South Dakota to the towering cacti of Saguaro National Park.
Virtually wherever I go, my RV is the perfect way to not only get there, but to better enjoy my stay. I like to think of it as a huge suitcase, with all the gear I need for whatever adventure (and climate!) I might find off the highway. Here’s why I recommend RV travel to anyone curious about big adventure — no matter what type of adventure it may be.
As an outdoor-travel writer, I do a lot of work from the back of my Class B camper van. It’s fully loaded — sink, fridge, toilet, and, most importantly for my editors, a desk for working on my laptop. The van provides a more-than-adequate space for getting work done on the road, so I can have the best of both work and play. (I’m actually writing these very words from the back of my van just outside Casper, Wyoming, a fly-fishing pitstop on my latest three-week RV tour!)
Participating in the digital nomad lifestyle has helped my creative juices flow. The main way I combat writer’s block is by leaving my van and going for a hike in the great outdoors. An RV gets you up close and personal to the inspiration you need, and I always return refreshed and invigorated.
As long as you have wifi — or a good cell signal and a wireless hotspot — the world turns into your office. A cell booster can help ensure you (almost) always have a reliable signal to get your work done. I’ve mounted mine to the roof of my van, and it doubles the strength of my cell so I can always keep in touch with loved ones back home, as well as my business contacts. Think of how jealous your coworkers will be — instead of throwing up a virtual waterfall background on your Zoom call, you could very easily have an actual waterfall behind you.
Go RVing mobile office tip: If you’re planning an extended trip in your RV, simple alterations can help smooth your workflow, in spite of the smaller space. I’ve seen lots of RVers who’ve finessed multiple monitors or impressive PC hardware into their rig. Depending on your needs and the size of your RV, you can either create a dedicated workspace or simply slip your laptop into your bedside table when work is over and playtime begins.
Despite being married, I do about 90% of my traveling alone, and my 19-foot camper van is the perfect size for solo adventuring. Whenever I need to decompress and enjoy some time on my own, I hit the road. Driving hundreds or thousands of miles, then maybe hiking dozens more in the woods alone without having to return to civilization, is my ticket to recharging my batteries.
Traveling the country in an RV makes for the perfect conversation starter if you want to meet people from different walks of life. I’ve lost count of the times that groups in the campground have invited me over for a beer or s’mores after noticing I’m on my own. I’m always amazed at how I head out to a destination and end up returning with new stories and faces in my memory bank.
Go RVing solo travel tip: Traveling on your own is exciting, but it can get lonely at times. For an instant dose of comfort, put up photos of your friends and family and mementos of your travels. These feel-good items make your RV the next best thing to home.
Having a self-contained RV — solar, full water tank, bathroom — means I can comfortably stay in the farthest corners of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land or national forests, where there may not be established campgrounds or electric hookups. My van gives me confidence to travel further afield and stay there even longer. Roughing it has been smoothed out just a bit thanks to my RV.
Going solar has truly boosted the comfort and capabilities of my van. Using a solar system that a friend and I installed, I’m able to turn on lights, charge my devices, and keep a fan going to cool off in the summertime. I almost always recommend this investment to those who are ready to take the plunge into boondocking.
And when the ice in my friends’ coolers has melted, my mobile fridge pays dividends. It’s upped my food game and makes traveling on the road for long periods of time that much more enjoyable. While they’re eating freeze-dried meals, I’m whipping up tasty culinary creations, aka mac n’ cheese with un-curdled milk.
Go RVing off-the-grid tip: Being away from it all often means being far from cell towers. Bring an emergency beacon or install a cell-booster beforehand. (Or do both.) Even if you never have to use it in an actual emergency, the peace of mind is definitely worth it.
When I travel in my van, it’s like traveling with an entire gear garage; I bring bikes, helmets, hiking boots/poles, fly rods, camera equipment, maybe even a foldable kayak. I’m ready for almost any adventure I stumble upon. Isn’t that what adventuring is all about?
Forget about plans going awry or that horrible feeling when you make it to your destination only to realize you forgot a vital piece of equipment. There’s enough room in my RV to bring a spare helmet, gloves, and other equipment that could either fail, break, or be forgotten by one of my adventure buddies.
After a long day exploring the trails, I look forward to kicking my feet up when I get back to the trailhead or campground. Instead of having to sleep on the ground, I’ve already set out my cozy hammock and extended my van’s retractable awning. All that’s left is to enjoy the many other creature comforts — like a cold beer — that fit in my RV.
Go RVing adventure tip: If you’re planning to park your RV in the same spot for a few days or more, consider bringing along an e-bike to get around the area more easily. Many campgrounds sit along bike paths that take you to the nearest town or park.
I’ve camped at multiple music festivals over the years, and while you can’t beat the energizing experience of live music, I never want to do it again without my van. While my friends are either waiting in yet another outrageous line for a shuttle bus back to a faraway hotel or trying to fall asleep on the ground in a hot tent during a sticky summer night, I’m lying in a comfortable bed underneath a cool fan, being serenaded to sleep by the faint sound of music and revelers’ voices. RVs are welcome at music festivals around the United States, such as Bonnaroo and Firefly, so why not add one to your itinerary?
If you’re looking for a good reason, look no further than your RV’s shower. To actually have a way to rinse off after a long, sweaty day dancing out in the dusty air is like heaven. It really is the little things in life. An RV also allows for proper rest and recovery after being on your feet for hours. There’s nothing like sleeping in a real bed in a quiet, private space to give you the energy you need to fully enjoy the festival.
Go RVing festival tip: Taking your RV to the festival allows you to create meals that are better and cheaper than anything you might find between stages. This rings especially true if you have specific dietary needs.
With an RV as your travel companion, your options broaden significantly, no matter what kind of trip you’re on. When you travel by RV, getting to the destination becomes a rewarding part of the journey. You’re not hustling to get to the airport on time or running to catch a train — you’re taking in each moment, watching the landscape change as your drive past. Trust me, those memories will last a lifetime.