Those who’ve followed me a while know I’m a die-hard solo adventurer. For years I have enjoyed meeting up with other RVers at one location, and then happily moved off on my own again when I felt the itch to travel. So after the unofficial Xscapers meetup in Anza-Borrego State Park, my decision to caravan with four other solos was an unprecedented move.
Including Anza-Borrego, I traveled with Joni, Michael, Marshall, and Kelly from February 9th to March 13th and we stayed at a total of six locations together. And what do you know, I absolutely LOVED it. Which might sound strange coming from this self-professed introvert, but with the right approach, it’s possible for anyone to have a great caravaning experience.
Here are my top three tips:
Know what your goals are for traveling with others. What are you hoping to get out of this experience? Friends to go on tours with? Company for happy hour? Shared outdoor activities? Hosting people for dinner? Certain places you want to see? Long conversations? How much time do you want to spend together daily? Is there a specific hobby you’re into that you’re looking for company for? Make sure the people you’re intending to travel with share the same caravaning goals and at least a few of the same interests and hobbies as you.
On a related note, be upfront about your expectations (and limitations) for traveling together. Does campfire smoke bother you? Do you need free time during the day to work? Is there a maximum cost you’re willing to pay for a campsite? Certain amenities you need to have? What’s your policy on having people drop by your rig unannounced? How much alone time do you need? What about noise levels? Setting boundaries together around potentially divisive topics like these ahead of time can save a lot of tension and animosity and keep your caravan experience a pleasant one for everyone involved.
Deserving of it’s own bullet point is what travel days will look like. Do you want to truly caravan from place to place, keeping each other in sight the whole way, communicating with radios, and making the same side-trips? Or is your style more choosing the next destination together and every person finds their way there at their own pace? Somewhere in between?
In the end, enjoying your time caravaning comes down to communication and choosing people who have similar goals and expectations. Not every person you meet on the road will be a good fit to travel with, but as long as you’re able to get clear about what you need and want, you’ll find good matches among the RVing community.
If you’re new to RVing and don’t know of anyone who’s interesting in caravaning, there are plenty of clubs and groups out there to join to get started meeting other RVers, I’m a member of Escapees RV Club (specifically the Xscapers branch, if you’re looking for fellow working-age RVers), RVillage is also a great way to meet RVers. And Facebook has a plethora of groups devoted to RVing.
There are even clubs out there that have official caravans, where you can travel with the club group from place to place together. Note that if you go this route, the club is in charge of the itinerary and rules, so make sure you know what they are and agree before joining up. The Wandering Individuals Network (WINs) have nine different caravan circuits planned for 2018 as one example. Check your favorite RV group to see if they do something similar.
As a more reserved and private individual, I personally would feel uncomfortable caravaning with anyone I hadn’t met in person before, and likely some of you out there are the same way. If so it might take longer to find the right people, but attending gatherings like at Quartzsite is a great way to turn online friendships into real-world ones and find people you’d really click with for caravaning. This is ultimately how I found my RVing tribe.
Whatever method you choose, caravaning is a unique experience that every RVer should try at least once. And when you know how to set goals and expectations with your travel partners, it takes much of the uncertainty out of the equation and ensures a good experience for everyone. Happy trails!
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