Jerrod Carmichael
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RVing Made Simple — Even For Newbies

A gay asian couple and lesbian couple share an RV

My husband Lance, has been a little obsessed with the concept of RVing ever since he saw a TV segment where Oprah and Gayle set up a pop-up camper in Yosemite National Park. We’ve talked about trying this type of travel for years — and watched with interest as the industry expanded greatly throughout the pandemic. I even bought Lance the RVs & Campers for Dummies book for his last birthday. (He responded by pretending to look for his supposed other gift of an actual RV around our neighborhood for days afterward.)

So, when we had the opportunity to try out an RV for a weekend in beautiful Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, we jumped at the chance. We secured our RV through an innovative company called RVshare, which allows nonowners to rent an RV or camper and enables those interested to try the lifestyle out before they buy.

 

Coachman Catalina
Our Coachmen Catalina was waiting at the campground when we arrived.

 

All of the RVshare owners are individuals, not fleets owned by companies, so RVshare is a sort of Airbnb for campers. You can search based on location, type of RV, size, price, whether it’s pet-friendly, and for specific things like whether it has a microwave, television, or electric generator. Even more useful, you can search for a “deliverable” RV that owners bring to your preferred campground on the assigned date, hook it up, level it, and prep it so it’s waiting for you when you arrive.

The company says that fully 40 percent of its users choose this option and forego having to drive or tow the RVs themselves. For us, this meant we only had to pack our 15-year-old son, the dog, and luggage into the car and drive the easy five hours to the gorgeous Harpers Ferry Civil War Battlefields KOA Holiday campground. When we arrived all we had to do was to walk in and get settled.

 

Harpers Ferry
Harper's Ferrry

 

Today’s RVs are worlds beyond the models I remember as a kid. Luxe kitchens with fancy backsplashes, modern appliances, adjustable and flexible lighting, real showers, and comfortable seating areas are the norm now, along with larger beds and comfortable mattresses. Slide outs extend outward from the sides of the RV once it is parked, and these really add to the available square footage inside.

Our Coachmen Catalina comfortably slept three (and our dog!), and we had several extra sleeping areas that we could have used had we brought along more family members. Our RV even featured a large screen TV, and the campground’s ample WiFi connectivity allowed us to stream our favorite shows.

 

A dog and teen boy in a RV
Dakota and Matthew enjoying their space in the Coachmen Catalina 

 

TRENDING UPWARD

According to RVshare’s 2022 Travel Trends Report, 70 percent of millennial travelers said they planned to take an RV trip this year and 77 percent were interested in having the RV delivered to their destination. The top types of trips that travelers said they were considering most were road trips (59 percent), national parks (56 percent), family camping trips (45 percent), trips with friends (42 percent), and RV delivery to a festival (24 percent).

Interestingly 38 percent of those surveyed said that they now had more opportunities to work remotely and 76 percent said that this new flexibility would be a key consideration in how they traveled.

 

KOA Campfire

Our campfire at the KOA campground.

 

OUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Our KOA campground was nicely-sized and our individual campsite offered plenty of space to park our SUV and still enjoy the outdoor picnic table adjacent to our RV, without feeling like we were infringing on any of our neighbor’s space.

The company is a believer in diversity and inclusion, and the types of people camping today are certainly changing. The first person we ran into at the campground while walking our dog was also queer — a woman also walking her dog. We chatted and she mentioned that her wife was a traveling nurse, so they’re living the RV lifestyle, spending six to 12 months in different parts of the country.

Our resort had a lovely daily morning breakfast service. That cost extra, but the prices were extremely reasonable, and we were pleasantly surprised by the options and quality of the food.

KOA says that 9.1 million households went camping for the first time in 2021 — and one-third of those said the pandemic was the reason they tried camping. What’s more, urban residents have become one of the most avid camping segments, camping more frequently and for longer periods than people living in the suburbs or rural areas.

Maybe I should be worried; now Lance is really going to be expecting that big red bow one of these days, and his birthday is right around the corner.

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