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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

COVID and Camping

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay
If you own an RV or travel trailer, you’re no doubt itching to get back on the road this summer.  Like everything else, the Coronavirus spoiled last year’s camping season. That meant everything from national parks to campgrounds was closed due to COVID-19.  The good news is that 2021 is seeing the lifting of restrictions, although it’s still on a case-by-case basis.  If you’re planning on taking to the road this summer, I thought I’d give you a few pointers that will help make your camping trip a success.

  1. Don’t leave home yet.  2020 was a tough year for campers.  Many campgrounds were closed in 2020.  Some of those that reopened later closed again or posted restrictions that barred some kinds of campers.    While you can conduct a web search for campgrounds, don’t blindly trust any results that read “Open”, since some of these sites haven’t been updated in months.   That means you need to contact campgrounds before you hit the road.  The same goes for national parks.  For a list of relatively up-to-date campground and RV park closures in the US, check out Campground Reviews and RV Live.   
  2. If you want to hear the latest RV news, join a Facebook group that caters to full and part-time RVers.  These are great places to find out the latest info on COVID hotspots, where to park overnight and other issues related to RV living during the waning days of the pandemic.  Two popular groups are RV Tips and RV Resource Group. There’s even a group called RV Coronavirus News you might like to check out. 
  3. Plan your route with care.  During the pandemic, some counties were closed or imposed strict curfews to protect residents.  Some states even established checkpoints.  While most of these precautions have been eased, it pays to stay tuned for changing restrictions.  RV Life offers an RV Trip Wizard to help you map your route, review campgrounds, and estimate the costs.  Check out the free 7-day trial at https://www.rvtripwizard.com
  4. Don’t take any chances. If you want to limit your risk, it’s advisable to pay for park reservations in advance and to request the check-in times, gate code, and bathroom code before you hit the road.  It would also be a good idea to pay at the pump and use your RVs restroom as opposed to public ones whenever possible.  Always remember to wear a mask.  Use disinfectant before and after pumping gas, opening doors, and using shopping carts.  Bring a supply of sanitary wipes with you when you’re out and about. 
  5.  If your RV has a galley, use it.  Every time you stop for food on the road, you risk coming into contact with someone or something that is infected.   Nothing will put a stop to your vacation faster than having someone in your family get sick.   Restaurants, truck stops, and rest stops are used by many and cleaned by few.  The more times you stop, the greater the risk you’ll come into contact with contagion.  If your RV cooking gear is limited, break out the barbecue whenever possible to keep your contact with the public to a minimum.
  6. How to safely use a laundromat during a health crisis.  Just like restaurants, retail stores, and rest stops, laundromats are public places open to one and all.  If you can clean your clothes in your RV sink or in a compact washing machine, then do so.  If you need to use a laundromat, it’s advisable to visit at off-peak hours.  Even then, you need to maintain a social distance of at least six feet.  Wear a mask and gloves at all times.  Instead of sitting in the laundromat waiting for your clothes to finish washing and drying, consider exiting the premises until the load is done.  Then take your load back to your camper to fold, rather than stick around the laundromat to fold all your clothes on counters that may be contaminated. 
  7. Campground etiquette during the pandemic is a bit different than you’re used to.  If you’ve ever gone camping, you know that campgrounds are social hubs where campers are unusually friendly and outgoing.  All that changed in March 2020 with the onset of the Coronavirus.  Nowadays most campers want to keep to themselves and only interact at a distance.  This doesn’t mean those campers are antisocial, they’re just careful. 
  8. Keep up with the latest news while on the road.  As long as you have a smartphone, you can access a myriad of RV-related newsfeeds.  Several popular portals include RV Travel, RV Life Magazine, and the Best RV Blogs to Learn More About RVing.
  1. What happens if you or your family get sick while RVing?  You could be required to self-quarantine.  Depending on the number of people in your camper, this could prove problematic.  Every RV has limitations on the amount of food and water it can carry.   You’ll need to find a place to park for a month or longer.  Depending on your vocation, you may need to work from your RV while you quarantine.  To make sure you aren’t caught off guard, you should take the time to stock your RV with food, water, and medicine before you take to the road.
  2. What does the government have to say about RVing?  On April 2, the CDC posted the following: Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. The CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but RV travel usually means staying at RV parks overnight and getting gas and supplies at other public places. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others.”

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/

2 comments:

  1. It's still safer than staying in a hotel.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Being an avid camper, I love this article. The tips are spot on and every camper should read this article.

    ReplyDelete

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