If I had a nickel for everyone who’s questioned my sanity when I tell them I bought an RV, I’d have a lot of nickels. People who’ve never camped or enjoyed the RV life can’t understand why some people love it. One friend said, “You can stay in a lot of Hampton Inns for what you’d pay for an RV.” While that is true, to an avid RV enthusiast, we see someone staying in a Hampton Inn and think, “Man, for the money they spent on that trip, they could have bought an RV!”
Since many who camp hear this comment frequently, I decided to poll a group of RV enthusiast and ask them why they prefer the RV lifestyle. If you’ve ever wondered why people like to RV, here are their answers:
- Cleanliness “I know who slept in my bed the night before. And who drooled on the pillows!”Probably the most stated reason involved cleanliness and in particular, bed bugs! It’s odd how people won’t buy a used mattress that was previously owned by one person, yet they’ll sleep on a mattress in a hotel room that’s had hundreds if not thousands of strangers rolling around on it for years. In recent years, the stories of bedbugs being found in even the nicest of hotels has many people opting to bring their bed with them when they travel.
- Furbabies “My pets feel at home.” Being able to travel with pets came in at a close second for the reasons several chose the RV lifestyle. While many hotels allow pets now, most charge extra for the service and the rooms often aren’t as clean as the pet-free rooms.
- Food Preparation “With the RV, I have my entire lifestyle with me” Many people have dietary issues which vary from a desire for clean eating to medical restrictions. Finding restaurants that serve healthy foods is difficult and often very expensive. Traveling with your own kitchen allows you the option of preparing your food the way you like or need it. If you’re lucky enough to find farmer’s markets on the way, you can enjoy fresh produce prepared in a way that suits your needs.
- No suitcases! Or risk of leaving something behind in the room. Several respondents mentioned how much they hated toting suitcases in and out of hotels and the increased risk of leaving things behind. I lost a pair of diamond studs in a hotel in Ohio once. Strangely enough, when I called to inquire, no one had seen them. Imagine that.
- Hobbies! Taking an RV allows you the storage space to pack along supplies for hobbies and outdoor activities. Guitars, surf boards, camera equipment, telescopes…the list goes on and on. Try to get all that in your suitcase!
- Convenience– Have you ever been on a trip and had to travel many miles in an attempt to find a place to eat? With an RV, all you need is a wide spot by the road. One of my favorite things to do while traveling across country is to pull into a rest area for lunch. Many of them have beautiful views overlooking mountains and rivers. I can fix a sandwich, use my restroom, and even take a nap if I choose before hitting the road again.
- Camper comradery– “I’ve never met people in an elevator who invited me over to their campfire for a glass of wine…” On one of my first solo trips, I checked into a site where the water wasn’t working. I stretched a hose to the site beside mine, but before I’d even gotten it attached, an older gentleman came over to ask me if I was having a problem. In a matter of moments, he was on his golf cart heading to the camp host to report my issue. Within 20 minutes, a worker at the campground came to my site and turned on my water (It was still shut off for the winter.) That sort of thing happens frequently in campgrounds. Most campers are friendly, family oriented, and basically good people.
- My bed! This is a big one for me. I have sciatic nerve issues and hotel beds are never soft enough. Traveling with my own bed allows me the option of adding enough padding to my RV bed to survive a direct hit from an asteroid. It’s pretty awesome.
- Porta potty because sometimes as we get older, we need a bathroom close by…like really close by.
- Being in nature “I love the night sounds and the fresh air, the stars…” If you don’t like nature, don’t go camping, however if you do like the great outdoors, there’s no better way to experience it. Most campers prefer “Walking on paths, not hallways.”
- You’re always home. Every night, you sleep in your own bed. You might be thousands of miles away, in a place you’ve never seen before, but you’re still in your bed with your sheets when it’s time to settle in for the night. You can spend your days exploring new places, but when you get back, your toothbrush is in your bathroom, and your toaster is under the kitchen sink. You have your favorite coffee, your own hair dryer, and the quilt grandma made you when you were a kid. Wherever you are, you’re still home.
- Comfort– I don’t know about you, but I can’t get comfortable in a hotel room. If I’m in for the evening, the only place I can prop up my feet is in the bed, which means I’m climbing in hours before it’s actually time to go to sleep. I’d much rather sit in my zero gravity chair by the campfire and watch the sunset.
- Cheaper– “There is no way I could afford to travel as I have if I stayed in hotels versus buying/maintaining my RV.” When staying in a hotel, you have to eat out 3 meals a day (unless you have a unit with a kitchenette). That adds up quickly! I enjoy eating out when on vacation, but I can fix breakfast and lunch in the RV and only eat out once a day which saves a lot of money. There’s also the issue of hotel costs vs campground costs. Most campgrounds are $35-$50 per night (some are more, but some are less). What kind of hotel room can you get for that? (See # 1)
- Freedom! “They don’t have hotels where I want to go!” Many of the most beautiful places in the United States are in the national park system. While some of them have lodges ($$) the most breathtaking scenery is typically deeper in the wilderness. I you want to hike, fish, or enjoy nature, you’re going to have a tough time doing that from a hotel room without getting in your car and driving somewhere else.
- Campfires You can’t go camping without a campfire. Well, you could, but then you wouldn’t have s’mores, star gazing, ghost stories, and people singing an off key version of Kum by ya. There’s something really special about the smell of wood smoke and the crackle of the flames, filling the night air. It’s full of childhood memories and promises of adventure. One of the respondents said simply, “Can’t have a campfire in a hotel room.” At least not without the management getting really ticked…don’t judge.
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