Let’s face it: these are tough times. And after a week at the recent Hershey RV Show in Pennsylvania, where we spoke with hundreds of true RVers, there are some real RV concerns for 2023 clouding the future for many.
Not that anyone is willing to throw in the towel. To a person, everyone we talked to was thinking of doing their best and Keep Calm and Camp ON, as the silly t-shirt says.
But unlike many of the so-called leaders in the RV industry, who always make a crazy future, true RVers are realistic and honest about all the challenges they will see ahead in the next 12 years in this post-Covid world. where a variety of problems complicate them. RV travel and camping plans.
You can meet many of these we met in this week’s episode 414 of the RV podcast. You can watch the video version from our YouTube RV lifestyle channel below.
If you prefer an audio-only version, the VR podcast is available in your favorite podcast app or via the player below.
Read on for a list of the top five VR concerns for 2023 that we’ve heard the most about:
RV Concerns #1: Inflation is affecting the RV lifestyle
All cited inflation as the most worrisome challenge on the horizon. Retirees and those on fixed incomes were hardest hit, but price increases over the past year in food, health care, taxes, RV and other insurance, maintenance, utilities, camping fees and even entertainment have said “ENOUGH”.
Jim, with his wife Pam are both teachers. “We travel all summer in our caravan” Jim said. “This summer it cost us 40% more. We weren’t living more extravagantly. We did as much as we could and if anything we cut back a bit compared to last year. But 40% is out of control. We’re worried about what 2023 will bring.”
Having just retired from her job as a nurse to embark on a year of solo travel, traveling in her new 21-foot travel trailer, Sue decided to hold off on selling her house and go full time “Now I’m worried if I can afford to travel as much as I’d hoped and I’ll stay at home in case it doesn’t work out.”
Leonard, a longtime RVer, said it best. “Since the COVID lockdown, everything seems to have doubled in price.”
RV Concerns #2: High fuel prices are a major challenge for RVs
While everything is expensive, the inflation that most affects RV travel these days is seen at the pump.
While prices appear to have slowed or dropped a bit, RVers told us that fuel prices will have them staying longer at campsites and not traveling as far as they had hoped in 2023.
“We need to control fuel costs,” said Terry, who owns a Class A Allegro Red push-button diesel. “My last fill up was over $6 a gallon. I have a 90 gallon tank. Do the math. But hey, we’ll cut back on the miles we drive.”
(We did – that’s $540!!!!)
RV Concerns #3: Long RV service waits and parts shortages
The industry still can’t seem to get a handle on the long service waits for RVs. And while I hear industry executives claim that the parts shortage is much better these days, that message doesn’t seem to have gotten through to real RVers.
Time and time again we have heard complaints about this issue.
RVers said parts shortages were being blamed by dealers for service delays.
An RVer, Ron, said he saw one of our recent podcasts about the need for RVers to be able to do their own maintenance and repairs. He said he just signed up for an RV home maintenance and repair course.
“I’m not about to give up camping,” he said “So I will be proactive in dealing with issues that arise and dealing with them as best I can.”
RV Concerns #4: The dwindling number of privately owned campgrounds
The Mom and Pop camps of the past are being swallowed up by big corporations. Several RVers complained about this and noted how this trend has them looking for new places to stay.
A couple talked about an RV park in Pennsylvania that they have enjoyed for the past few years. “It cost us about $100 a night,” Christine said. “That’s expensive, but it was right on the water and we didn’t mind.”
But within the last year, the small private camp was acquired by a large corporation.
“They added the word ‘resort’ to the name and raised the rate to $300 a night.” said her husband, Todd. “Same amenities, basically tripled the price. Shame. We will never go back.”
RV Concerns #5: National Park entrance hassles and boondocking pressures
We’ve heard a lot about this. Since COVID and the explosion of new RVers, crowds at national parks have increased to the point that the National Park Service has instigated scheduled entry permits at the most popular spots.
“Forget about making a camping reservation in a major national park,” said Jimmy, who, with his wife, Carrie, and their two children, had a list of national parks where they hoped to camp in their Cogar fifth wheel. “You can’t make a reservation unless you book the year before. It can be. And now it’s almost impossible to even enter the park because all the permits were given so long ago.”
Other RVers, who hoped to do more boondocking next year to cut costs, noted that they often have to look much harder for an unoccupied spot in state and national forests that allows for dispersed camping. “Even places like Harvest Hosts are filling up these days,” said Cora, an RVer from New Jersey.
The good news? The recreational vehicle is still the best way to get away
As we noted, none of the people we spoke to said they planned to quit.
Adapt is the word they use over and over again.
Several cited the cliché “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
And there may be some wisdom to be learned from the past.
Mark Koep, who runs the campground reservation site CampgroundView.com, shared that when he and his family decided to go full-time as RVers, it was during the last recession.
“It stabilized,” Mark said. “We have learned to adjust. And I think it will now happen to most Rvers in the same way. The RV remains the ultimate lifestyle for decompressing and creating great family memories. My advice to anyone worried about next year is to make the best of it. VR is already the best. Be smart and enjoy it.”
So where do we go next?
Check out this Southwest Adventure Guide Pack (Arizona, Utah, and Colorado)
When Jennifer and I travel through the Southwest, we are continually amazed by the majesty and beauty that this country has to offer. And it is very difficult to stay in one state! So we’ve created this package for you in case you love to travel like we do.
We’ve put together our Southern Utah Guide, Colorado Guide, and our NEW Arizona Guide in this 3-state bundle at a super low price!
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Mike and Jennifer’s Favorite Florida Spots – All 3 eBooks!
RVers may wander far and wide, but it’s true for most of us that we end up with a few favorite “Go-To’s,” places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers who want to get away and explore during the winter.
That’s why we’ve created three guides, covering Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Gulf Coast and Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated look at the best things we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
In total, these guides are over 300 pages of content!