Recently, I received an e-mail from a reader that brought up a topic I haven’t addressed on IO before: the future of RVing. And I thought my opinion on the subject was something worth sharing, so here it is.
More and more people are hitting the road – full-timers, part-timers, and vacationers. Making reservations in advance use to be the exception for just the hottest destinations, but is now becoming the norm during the busy season. It gets more challenging to find a spot on short notice near big cities, and RV park use is going up faster than new parks are being built.
Also, many quaint towns that use to be good places to visit and stay are becoming more popular as the internet makes sharing and finding these locations easier. The nature of these places, like Sedona in AZ and Jackson Hole in WY, changes and becomes more touristy, losing some of the initial charm.
Free dispersed camping locations that use to be empty see more people, prompting stronger rule enforcement by their governing agencies. Places that get abused are shut down, the most popular are turned into pay-to-stay. And it gets harder to find privacy at the better-known locations.
All of this might paint a bleak picture of the future of RVing. It’s human nature to worry about the unknown, and no one really knows what RVing will look like ten, twenty, thirty years from now.
But here’s my take. As popularity rises, business-minded individuals will spot an opportunity and more campgrounds and RV parks will spring up to meet the growing need. “Popular” destinations is a fluid concept and it changes. Iconic places like the Keys and Yellowstone will probably always see high visitation, but other locations rise and fall in popularity based on press and opinion.
Towns grow up and change, but I bet I’ve passed through towns in my travels that have the same kind of charm that locations like Sedona use to have decades ago. But you don’t hear about these places on the internet, because they haven’t been ‘discovered’ yet.
Boondock spots near popular attractions fill up and are hard to get into. But there is so much public land opened to dispersed camping out west that we’ll never run out of free places to camp. And every boondock location has beauty when you take the time to look for it.
And RVing is trending right now, but trends come and go. It’s easy for us to imagine, loving this life like we do, that one day everyone will want to live like this. But really, most people don’t. Most people love their houses and their more stable and predictable lives, and I can’t see that changing in our lifetime.
Yes, rising populations, a changing economic climate, and dozens of other factors will contribute to the evolution of RVing, and change is scary. But not necessarily bad. A decade ago it may have been easier to find camping space, but back then we didn’t have the wide cell phone coverage and data speeds that make staying connected with each other, working online, and a host of other aspects of RV life easier – it’s not all gloom and doom.
I personally am looking forward to seeing what RVing becomes in the years ahead.