Why We Prefer RV Travel to Hotel Stays

Our stay in Terlingua, TX was a great low-key stay near Big Bend.

There has been a real surge in RV sales and travel over the past 18  months.  We were campers and RV enthusiasts well before the days of Covid.  But, RV travel has become more and more appealing for many reasons and may become more of a norm for many travelers.  Why has there been an increase in RV travel?

Our son loves any kind of travel.  Hotels are something he loves because we don't do it often, but he loves RV travel just as much!

In the grand ole days pre-Covid, hotel and resort-style travel seemed luxurious and wonderful.  And, while some things may be returning to normal in places, overall I wonder when it will happen and if it ever will.  I'm not holding my breath over a crystal ball.  But, I am making the most out of our RV travels.  These trips can be every bit as exciting as any trip you would have typically done in a hotel or a resort.  These options include ones for RV owners and those just wanting to dip their toes in the RV lifestyle.

There are three key things that stand out about current travel experiences for us.

  1. Resort Style RV Camping
  2. Hotel and Restaurant Shortages
  3. Variety of Experiences

Oak Creek RV Resort near Fort Worth, TX has lots of nice amenities.

Resort Style RV Camping

The words resort and camping may seem a bit ironic.  But, the two can coincide.  So what is resort-style camping?  RV resorts offer a variety of amenities for guests.  These options can include things like heated swimming pools, lazy rivers, scheduled activities, dog parks, laundry facilities, wi-fi, cable, fitness facilities, and more.  

Resort-style RV parks can really take camping to the next level with fun water features and more!

RV resorts will be at the top end of accommodation pricing.  This will vary based on location, season, and the amenities they provide.  We stayed at RV resorts that cost $42 a night to over $100 a night.

RV resorts will often offer amenities like:
  • Glamping tents and yurts
  • Retro RV's for rent
  • Tiny houses and cabins
Glamping tents like these at Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, California provide some nice camping variety to many travelers.

These additional options allow guests to arrive with or without their own equipment and RV's.  You can experience a unique travel experience without the investment of equipment and gear.  We have taken advantage of this option in California a few years ago and loved every minute!  These onsite options many times offer upscale bedding and decor to appeal to the adventure seeker.

We enjoy these types of campgrounds when we are looking for a different kind of vacation experience with specific things to do.  I think it is fun to take advantage of water and pool activities at RV resorts during the summer.  Clearly, this is a peak season and will be peak pricing.  But, depending on the type of trip you are planning, an RV resort can be a winner with everyone from the solo traveler, couple, or family!  It is a one-of-a-kind experience that you are not going to have in a typical chain hotel or resort.

Restaurants can be fun but it's a toss-up as to what you will get these days.  

Hotel and Restaurant Shortages

Before I delve into this topic, I will fully disclose I spend 15 or more nights in hotels a month for work.  So, I support the hotel and restaurant industries regularly.  However, hotels and restaurants have taken a huge hit during Covid.  There is a shortage of staff like I have never seen.

I need very little from hotel staff while traveling for work.  But, you are going to pay full-service prices for less than half of the service that previously came with hotel stays.  Currently, you will rarely, if ever, receive housekeeping services of any kind during multi-night stays.  Again, not a problem for solo travelers.  I'm pretty neat and don't need a lot.  If you have multiple people in a hotel room, good luck.  It is not fun and can become frustrating pretty quickly as dirty, wet towels stack up and trash mounds in the bins.  

This year while negotiating a new corporate rate for my day job, I was quoted a higher rate than previous years.  I asked if the hotel was returning to full service given the price.  I was told no but that we could request housekeeping if needed during multi-night stays and this request would be accommodated if they had the staff available.  I'm sorry, but work travel is a necessity for me.  So, they have us over a barrel there in some regards.  But, personally, if I'm going to be taking out my own trash and cleaning up after myself, I'm fine with taking my RV.  

Restaurants are another issue.  Staffing shortages have reduced hours, seating capacity, and more.  Abbreviated hours and lack of staffing can make it difficult to find places for dining.  Again, you are going to pay premium prices but many restaurants are struggling.  I'm still supporting restaurants and small business owners, but RV travel gives me some options to do my own thing as needed.  

Taking our RV to Big Bend last year was a travel highlight for us!

Variety of Experiences

The variety of experiences that RV travel provides is literally at the top of my list for why I prefer this type of travel.  When we take our RV we can travel close to home and enjoy the natural beauty and quiet of a state park.  These experiences are serene and are budget-friendly.  

We have also traveled halfway across the US with our travel trailer and enjoyed National Parks.  We can go the distance while having everything we need along the way.  This includes our own bathroom for emergencies when we need it!

Sometimes, our camping experiences are quiet and solitary.  We love it!

We also book about 1 RV resort trip a year that has high-end amenities that we all enjoy.  These are much more expensive trips and provide the opportunity to vacay while having our RV with us.  We can eat out or stay in.  

No matter where we are or how much we spend, every adventure is special and unique.  We have experienced so many different things over the past few years.  I wouldn't trade a minute.  There has been snow, rain, and beautiful sunny skies.  Each campground and location has provided us new opportunities to connect as a family, dine under the stars, and a new dining spots.  

Glamping tents can provide high-end sheets and luxury mattresses.  You won't sacrifice comfort in these chic campground accomodations.

Now that the RV bug has bitten us, I don't know that we will ever go back to full-on traditional travel as a family.  I'm not so sure that RV travel hasn't become this family's new norm.  We have trips planned well into next year, and I'm tickled.  

RV Resorts can offer high-end amenities without being pricey.  We enjoyed our stay at this spot in Texas for about $45 a night!

If you are new to the RV lifestyle, look for new ways to explore.  There are so many ways to love RV travel.  There isn't a wrong way to do it except by not doing it at all.  Tow it, rent it, but I urge you to get out there and explore the opportunities that surround you.  Some are just around the corner, and there is a campground with your name on a spot just waiting for you to claim it and make some fantastic memories that will last a lifetime!

Until next time, Happy Camping...

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