Two years into the pandemic and its six-plus viruses worldwide, COVID-19 and its policy have impacted the way you RV. That goes for your basic hygiene, cooking, cleaning, contact tracing, masking, quarantining, social distancing, traveling, vaccinations and washing. Overall, the age of COVID has affected your RV market and lifestyle in countless ways. In response, we dish out six main tips for how you can cope with and survive the different waves of the pandemic. They are as follows:
1. Expect the Effects To Change Overtime
As more individuals have sought to protect themselves and their families and avoid coronavirus infection from others, the effects of the pandemic have favored the RV industry. Because Rv’ing enables families to self-isolate in a sense, demand for the combined housing and traveling practice has skyrocketed. In the past few years, there have been more purchases of RVs and, by extension, more use and payment for related services, campgrounds, dump stations, national parks, Bureau of Land Management lands and rentals.
Meanwhile, other industries have not fared so well but have begun to recover gradually. You likely viewed the headlines. This includes airlines, the arts, automakers, casinos and gambling, construction, cruiseships, gyms, hotels, oil and gas, mining, real estate, retail, restaurants and food service, shipping with the supply chain issues, sporting events, theaters, theme parks, transportation and travel.
RV’ing has joined other industries that have done well or are a mixed bag such as administrative and support services, company leadership and management, education, health care and social assistance, film, finance and insurance, information technology, manufacturing, music and the recording industry, technology and utilities.
Still, change is constant. While viral cases had begun to drop and global COVID policy have loosened, airlines, casinos and gambling, cruises, gyms, hotels, oil and gas, restaurants, sports, theaters, theme parks and travel have staged a comeback before the next wave.
You can fully expect that RV’ing will, too, undergo change as the industry will eventually meet all demand for the vehicles and related services and popularity will return to normal levels.
Campgrounds have developed and more will appear along with reservations. Already, you can now fly again to other states throughout the country, Canada, Mexico or the rest of Latin America or Europe.
2. Draft Your Own Plan B or Personal COVID Policy
As you may been following, we are not out of the woods with COVID yet. There have been at least six manifestations of the virus and more waves to come. When the pandemic struck two years ago, county, state, national and private campgrounds were shut down and RV’ers evicted, often verbally at the last minute or without warning, to comply with federal and state public health measures.
The trend took hold throughout the country and, within two months, half of the nation’s campgrounds were closed. RV’ers could not have foreseen such a reaction though it was understandable because no one bargained for COVID.
However, overtime, authorities of every jurisdiction saw cases decrease and restrictions lifted and they slowly re-opened the campgrounds to the extent that, within months of the onset, only 10 percent of the camps remained shuttered.
Still, two years later, as the viruses Delta, Omicron and now BA2 spread, you realize that the pandemic cannot be ignored and some of your RV’ing practices may need to be re-examined or put on hold. As BA2 has advanced globally in the past several months, we may experience a new surge or wave and return to a period of shutdowns and serious health precautions. This time, be ready. Create a plan B for in case your campgrounds are shut down again.
As it pertains to COVID, be sure to count on and factor in into your plan B cooking your own food, using your own restrooms, cleaning all of your wares and utilizing gloves, paying for oil and gas at the pump, paying for parks online and charting your routes wisely.
3. Anticipate A High RV Demand With Newer Waves
As the BA2 virus rages, don’t rule out a corresponding surge in public demand for all things RV. This is because members of the media seeking different angles to write about COVID hit on playing up the rise of the RV industry.
As can be expected, journalists wrote about setting industrial precedents and the social distancing advantage of RV’ing. The trend seemed to pick up so quickly that most writers barely had time to explore the housing and travel practice itself or thoroughly research the industry.
With mass publication or broadcast of stories and the spread of the original coronavirus, Delta and Omicron, the public took notice and began to pine for the RV’ing life, making plans and purchases and actually winging it. Should a new wave take hold, the second coming of RV may be in your sights.
4. Don’t Be Surprised By A Tight RV Supply
You may not replace your old trusty vehicle just yet. You may not be able to. While public demand may rise for the RV or camper, manufacturers may not be able to oblige. With a mild pandemic recession, inflation and supply chain crisis, they may not be able to keep up with requests for the vehicles themselves or their attendant services.
As a result, you will encounter half-empty dealer lots with limited choices. Nine times out of ten, you may have to back-order your favorite make and model into the following year. This is not to say that RV makers are not producing and shipping their products because they are. It’s just that they are doing so at the same rate now as they were two years ago when corona first hit.
The best? Try pre-ordering your fave RV as soon as possible so you don’t have to wait long or it is out of stock. Additionally, if you are considering selling your current model, now may be right as it may be in high demand.
5. Prepare for Stretched RV Services
Just as the very industries that were identified as the most severely impacted by the pandemic underwent staffing shortages, don’t be surprised if your RV dealer or related services show signs of being hard up for hired help.
Those industries are slowly returning as governments around the world relax standards for dealing with COVID with workers coming back to their old jobs if not moving on to new ones. The same holds for employees in the RVs.
Yet, as the virus BA2 makes its rounds, RV customers, managers and service technicians may have to resume social distancing and safety measures if governments tighten rules on COVID in the face of increasing cases.
This will affect pre-delivery inspections, walk-throughs or tours of dealer lots or RVs and RV repairs. That may target your service appointments too as your dealer may schedule them much later than you would like for safety and security concerns. Your RV dealer will want to keep you satisfied as a customer but they must keep their staff and their procedures as safe as possible.
6. Adapt for Lesser Campground Access
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the rise of the beloved RV has fueled a yen for BLM campgrounds and other such sites as Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. That may all shift slowly as more members of the public come out of hiding and flock to the airports, cruiseships, hotels and restaurants again.
Those who took to the RV lifestyle as a result of media hype may not necessarily stick to it. Moreover, those who do may not be as committed as you are once more COVID restrictions are lifted. As a result, during peak times of public demand, anticipate that you may encounter less space to park your RV at your favorite campgrounds and plan accordingly.