People often worry about being lonely and making friends while RVing full-time. The reality is you can have as many, or as few, friends as you want. And, no, your dogs are not the same as human friends. The people you meet on your travels will have RVing in common. For the most part, you’ll find them to be a welcoming group.
Your Spouse/Partner Needs to be Your Best Friend.
Don’t even think about RVing full-time with your spouse or partner unless they are your best friend. Living together in less than 250 square feet can be a challenge in the best of relationships. An RV is not the place to work on a challenging relationship. Now that you have your best friend, think about other people you meet along the way.
Making Friends by Just Talking.
Anyone who knows my Jim knows that he’s an incredibly quiet person. He’d rather sit quietly in the background than do a lot of talking. When we first started RVing full-time, I worried that he would feel isolated. Boy, was I wrong. I often wonder where he’s wandered off to, only to find him talking to a neighbor about bikes, bees (we used to be beekeepers) or their RV’s. Since we started this journey, he’ll talk to anyone. It’s a wonderful transformation.
Making Friends through RVing Groups.
There are a number of RVing groups online that are wonderful places for making friends.
RVillage is a site whose main purpose connecting RVers with other RVers. It’s free to join and can connect you with over 350,000 members. They have groups if you have a particular interest, and they also connect you with other RVers wherever you’re camping.
Escapees RV Club offers meetups, education, mail service and more. There is a $49.95 annual membership fee but it’s worth the money. The SKP’s (Escapees), as they call themselves, have various groups and get togethers in different parts of the country. Escapees’ members tend to be older people, but they have recently started a younger version of their club, Xscapers.
FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) has been around since 1963. It has a large family membership, many opportunities for making friends, a forum, local chapters, mail service, etc. The list of benefits is a long one. Membership is $85 for the first year and $75 after that. I haven’t had an opportunity to check out all they have to offer, but we use their unlimited Sprint hotspot for Internet while traveling.
There are many other organizations that can match your specific interests. Are you a woman traveling solo? Maybe you’re interested in groups in specific parts of the country? How about a tear drop or Airstream owners club? There are vehicle specific clubs for everyone. Are you a fisherman or a biker? A snowbird who winters in Texas? There is a club for you. There are too many small, specific interest groups to list here, but a quick online search will connect you with these groups.
Making Friends at RV Shows.
There are RV shows in almost every part of the country. The following are two of the biggest:
Florida RV SuperShow truly is a super show. Around 70,000+ visitors regularly attend this show that takes place in January in Tampa, Florida.
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show is held in mid-January in Quartzsite, Arizona. This gathering attracts from 750,000 to 1,000,000 visitors each year and has been around for 40 years. It’s billed as “The largest gathering of RVers in the world,” many of whom boondock in the desert during the show.
Each RV show is different, but they are all good places to talk to other RVers.
Nurturing the Friendship.
Friendships don’t just happen. Making friends takes some work and a lot of nurturing. One thing we started doing was exchanging contact information with others we meet on the road. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is to buy some business cards. Vista Print has great cards that are in the $20 range. Here’s a copy of the one we use. Next time I have cards made I’ll also add our hometown. (People always ask where we’re from.)
When we meet another RVer that we “click” with, I write down a little information about them, so I don’t forget. Things like if they’re full-time or not, where they’re from, if they have children, dogs, etc. Maybe they like to boondock and we’ll see them on the road. I can’t keep notes on everything, but a little hint helps me remember who they are.
After meeting someone I try to send them a short e-mail immediately afterwards. It’s my way of extending a virtual hand. I invite them to follow my blog and to email us with questions (if they’re newbies) or let us know when they’re in our area. It gives them a link to us so they’re able to reach out if they want to.
Consider caravanning with new acquaintances. It’s a way of building on fresh, new friendships. For those you don’t know, caravanning is when a group of RVers travel together for some period of time. Sometimes you can just plan to meet your new friends at another campground. If you’re not sure about your compatibility, make it a short weekend so everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
RVing doesn’t mean only making new friends. It’s important to keep up relationships with old friends, too. Gone are the days when we had long distance charges every time we made a phone call. Now you can call a friend and talk as long as you want to. Here are a few great video apps (in no particular order) to help you keep in touch with friends while you’re on the road:
Making Friends while RVing isn’t that Difficult.
You can be a hermit when you RV full-time, but you don’t have to be. RVing is actually a very social activity and, these days, there are more and more people joining the fun. Making friends while RVing does take a little work but it’s definitely worth the effort. Meeting people from all over country and all walks of life keeps the journey interesting.