Retired seniors are rewarded with many perks, and they deserve them. One of the easiest perks to overlook is travel. There’s nothing like exploring the unexplored. And, being a senior allows you to enjoy the sights and beauty of America’s parks and campgrounds.
But how should you travel? Why not an RV? It’s rising in popularity, and the average age of seniors living in RVs has gone down.
While the freedom to hit the road immediately may be calling, it’s important to take precautions when choosing a vehicle and deciding when to begin your travels.
Do you have medical issues that could interrupt your trip or disabilities that require more accessibility options for your RV? These are just a few things to consider out of a multitude.
So, we’ve compiled a guide to safely get you on the road!
You Might Want To Rent First
Often people rent houses before buying them. It allows the tenant to understand what they like and don’t like about the home.
It’s a good idea to treat an RV the same way. If this is going to be your new home or camping home, then there is going to be an adjustment period. There may or may not be homesickness problems, but there will definitely be a downsizing transition.
To deal with this, it’s recommended that you try RVs of varying sizes and consider what things are most important to bring with you while camping.
RV Rental Resources – Source: CNet
- Cruise America – Best RV rental company for families & extended trips
- Escape Campervans – Best RV rental company for couples
- RVshare – Best RV rental company for solo travelers
- Vintage Surfari Wagons – Best RV rental company for short/weekend trips
- RVnGO – Best RV rental company for one-way trips
- Outdoorsy – Best RV rental company for pets
- Lost Campers – Best cheap RV rental company
Choose the Right RV
There are so many types of RVs that it can be confusing to choose one. Here’s a list of the types of RVs that suit seniors:
- Class A Motorhomes: These come operating with gas or diesel. They’re the most luxurious type of motorhome with regular home appliances (refrigerators, showers, microwaves, etc). Diesel-powered motorhomes have a smoother ride with stronger torque than gas motorhomes. This would be great for seniors with a lot of money and accessibility needs.
- Class C Motorhomes: They are smaller than the class A motorhomes, shrinking the bathroom, and bedroom space. You’ll recognize these mostly with a bunk over the cab. While it’s smaller than class A motorhomes, it offers more maneuverability and better parking access (some parks and campsites don’t allow class A motorhomes). This would be perfect for a senior without mobility issues that can downsize.
- Class B Motorhomes: You’ll recognize these as camper vans or sprinter vans. Because they’re so much smaller, they will move like a car and can park in the same spaces. Most class B motorhomes lose the typical appliances like a washer, dryer, and fridge.
- Tow Campers: Come in various sizes. You’ve seen them on the road before, both long and short. These would complement seniors with a truck or vehicle that can tow a camper. They also require extra maintenance because you’ll have to check the tow’s bearings and tires.
- 9 Tips to Help You Choose the Right RV
- Choosing The Right RV: 7 Things You Need To Know
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- The Top 10 Questions Before You Choose An RV
- Choosing an RV: All the info you need
How Long Do RVs Hold Value?
As we stated earlier renting is a smart option because you can see what RVs best fit your lifestyle. If you’re eager and are bent on buying one outright, or you’ve already rented and are at the buying stage, then consider buying an older model.
It’s no secret cars depreciate quickly. They hold value, as well as two-ply toilet paper, holds water. New RVs are the same, losing a good chunk of value within the first years.
Many feel that it makes more sense to buy an RV older than five years to get the most bang for your buck!
- RV Prices, Values & Reviews – J.D. Power
- New & Used RV Price Guide – RV Trader
- Know Your RV’s Value: Check The RV Blue Book
- What’s Your Private Party RV Value Really Worth?
- Kelley Blue Book – RV Pricing Guide
Prioritize Your Safety When Choosing an RV
A lot of seniors have some sort of ailment or disease. So, choose an RV based on whatever health difficulties you face.
There’s nothing worse than investing money into a dream recreational vehicle full of inconveniences. In the worst-case scenario, these inconveniences could lead to declining health.
Here are some questions to consider when picking an RV:
- Do I need or have mobility equipment?
- Is this RV compatible with my mobility equipment?
- Are there accessibility add-ons for this RV?
- Is every cabinet and utility within reach?
- Is there anything that needs to be moved for my convenience?
- Is the shower or bath comfortable for my needs?
And, be sure to ask questions about the general maintenance and car or tow mechanical issues/maintenance.
Get a Handrail for the Entry Steps
Whether you’re a senior with mobility issues or not, going up and down camper steps will put wear and tear on your body. Consider limiting this by getting a handrail on the entry steps.
Using the handrail will help you brace your body as you go up and down. It’s also a safety feature reducing the risk of falling. In fact, “…more than 30% of people over 65 years of age fall each year…”
Keep a Headlamp Near the Door
If you’re visiting campsites and you’re enjoying the outdoors at night, then it’s important to have ample light. Some campers come with a lamp, but if yours doesn’t there are plenty of automatic lamps that’ll light your doorway.
A lamp near the door will help light your steps as you enter and exit the van, and it’ll double as a safety feature to see who’s knocking on your door.
Medication and Doctors Appointments
Safety also includes staying up-to-date on medications and appointments. Inform your doctor of your trip plans, so that they can give you information that’ll help you stay on top of your health.
Also, plan your trip with doctor’s visits in mind. Do you have any appointments within the next year? If you do, plan your trip so that you’ll loop around back home with more than enough time to make your appointment.
Finding RV Campsites
Now that we’ve covered the important safety features, we’ll move into the fun topics, like finding places to camp.
While you can go the old-school route and use a map to find the campgrounds, it’s recommended that you use Google Maps. Google Maps makes finding a campground near you as easy as typing “campground near me.”
Of course, you can change this by typing in the location you’re going, like, “campgrounds in central Florida.” This will help you find campsites at your desired location with the best ratings, so you don’t have to worry about bad customer service.
Google Maps will also route you around traffic and construction, so you can have a stress-free drive.
- Find a Campground – Go RVing
- How To Find RV Campgrounds – RV Life
- The Ultimate Guide For Finding the BEST Spots to Park Your RV
- Find RV Parks & Campgrounds – Good Sam
- RV Campgrounds & RV Sites | RV Camping at KOA
Reserve Your Campground Parking Ahead of Time
With RV living on the rise and the age of senior campers lowering, campgrounds are bustling. This will make it harder to get reservations at popular campgrounds. So, to ease the pain of hearing that your favorite campground is booked, book ahead.
Some campsites will have their phone numbers displayed on Google or booking information on their website. Be sure to inform the campground workers of your vehicle’s size as it’ll affect where you’re able to park.
Places You Can Park Your RV Overnight
Sometimes you might get tired when you’re driving. Maybe you’ve been driving all day and didn’t make it to your destination, or maybe you just need a nap. Either way rest is important on the road, so you’ve got to know where you can park.
Here is a list of some overnight parking areas:
- State Rest Areas: Rest areas are state-owned places for families to take a break from the road. That break could be to use the restroom, eat food, or nap. Your camper’s size will determine parking options. Class A, C, and Tow Campers will be parked on the side with the eighteen-wheelers. Class B campers can be parked near the cars. The amount of time you can spend there will be dependent on the state you’re in. If you can’t find that information, then try not to stay longer than necessary as someone else might need your parking space.
- Truck Stops: Truck Stops are like rest areas except the space is private property, so the amount of time you can park there is usually shorter. They offer bathrooms, food, and amenities like showers and washers. You’ll see these every so often off of major highways. TA, Pilot, Flying J, and Buc-ee’s are some of the names of truck stop franchises.
- Walmart: Walmart, like Truck Stops, are private property, so parking will depend on the staff’s rules. You may prefer to park here because most Walmarts allow overnight parking, and they’re not as loud as truck stops.
Senior Parks Pass
The freedom to travel and see America’s beauty is nice and all, but it’s even better to do it at a discounted cost. Seniors over 62 can visit 2,000 recreation sites with the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass. That includes National Parks as well.
Getting a senior pass will also give you a discount on amenities offered at National Park campgrounds and recreation sites!
Slow Trips Are Better Than Fast Ones
It’s important to be punctual when booking trips, but make sure you have time for exploring. While the destinations you have planned will be grand, try to enjoy the journey just as much. Find restaurants, cook dinner in the wilderness, fish rivers, and make friends on the road!
Becoming a senior camper is something that must be planned. With finances and health at risk, there’s no way that a senior can jump in. So, we hope our Beginners Guide to RV Camping for Seniors has instilled in you the confidence to make plans and explore America’s beautiful landscapes!
Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos, Lic # 264277866