There’s been a recent surge in interest for long-term RVing, or RV extended stays, and that’s little wonder. Since the price of travel has been steadily dropping over the decades, people are starting to eschew traditional hop-and-bounce itineraries, opting to stay in a place longer and experience life more as a local, than a tourist.
In fact, many millennial travelers will actively scout out areas they wish to potentially move to, which contributes to the increase in demand for authentic travel experiences as well. Tourists are no longer interested in artificial sights and activities meant to attract outsiders, but want to know more about the local culture and visit favorite local haunts etc.
The recent pandemic has also revolutionized the way we work, and redefined what is an acceptable office space. Many businesses have reported that they will consider some work-from-home scheme for their employees even after the pandemic, looking to save on expensive commercial real-estate and reduce overhead costs. As such, there has been growing interest in the RV lifestyle and extended RV stays from these individuals as well, who are just starting to enjoy their new found freedom in their careers.
Certain occupations also exist that require employees to travel constantly, and there are many industries with an established presence within the extended RV stay community as well. These RV residents know first-hand the difficulties associated with long-term RVing, and are especially selective when it comes to the locations they choose.
For long-term RV camping, there’s a lot to consider (price, amenities and community; to name a few), and there is no single perfect answer that fits all – every seasoned RV-er knows that different people have different levels of tolerance for the variety of challenges that await on the open-road.
So, you can think of extended RV stays as a sort of long-term relationship – there will be negotiations, compromises, and (thankfully!) also win-win situations. The trick really is getting to know who you are as a traveler, then understanding the challenges associated with long-term RVing, and finally selecting a place that suits you the most.
With that said, we can always benefit from the wisdom and experience of seasoned travelers, and that’s what we’ve done! We’ve talked to some of the most travel-savvy long-term RV-ers we know, and asked them to give us some advice when choosing a long-term RV park to stay in. They gave us some wonderful insights, and these are the three commandments they swear by.
1. KNOW THY SELF
How would you characterize your travel style? And no, we’re not asking you to take one of the What Kind of Traveler Are You? tests online. But think about how you tend to structure your itineraries, what do you like to do, what are the worst things to happen on a vacation, for YOU?
Then compare that with what kind of person you are when not traveling – say you can put up with a ketchup-stained shirt for five-days on vacation, but definitely not for a long-term stay. Or you can put up with gas station fare for a few meals, but every week you make a point to cook your Nana’s special spaghetti.
There are basic necessities that we all need for a long-term vacation, e.g. a laundromat, but then there are things that we can happily do without (no cooking for a month, sounds like heaven!). Weighing how important these things are to you before considering a long-term RV stay, is the best way to manage expectations and plan accordingly, so you get the best out of the experience.
2. KNOW THY RV
This is very intuitive, and every RV owner is more-or-less aware of the amenities in their RV. Usually when planning a short trip, you can forgo amenities at an RV park that your vehicle is equipped with. However, if you’re not familiar with long-term RV-ing, you might be surprised with just how well you need to know your vehicle.
One thing people often forget about is laundry. Even if you have a washing machine built-in to your RV, you might need to consider whether it is a viable long-term solution for all travelers who are accompanying you. If your washing machine is anything smaller than what you have at home, and you’re travelling with the whole family, then you will need to consider camping in an RV park that offers a laundromat.
That’s because a family of four may be able to make-do with less rounds of laundry for a few days during vacation, but if the kids are going to school and you don’t want to have to do laundry 24/7, then it’s better to have access to a larger laundry machine when possible.
Another big thing is storage. As time goes on, things accumulate – that’s just a fact of life. Unless you’re willing to spend extra time straightening out the RV every day, or you’re able to put up with a lot of clutter, it’s best to find an RV park that offers storage for times when you need it. This is especially important for any sporting equipment as well – mountain bikes and golf-clubs are not good company for extended periods of time.
Antiques Capital RV park offers two types of sites with extra storage – Premium Plus and Elite – and both come with long-term discounts.
3. KNOW THE RV PARK
Finally, finding the right RV park is very important when it comes to extended stays, as it will become your home for the next few weeks to several months.
There’s the basics – dump stations, hook-ups and carports – but then you can start shopping around for some of the other add-ons that will really make your RV extended stay feel like home. For long term stays, we recommend choosing an RV park that also offers the following:
- Fast, reliable WIFI & DirectTV – For work or entertainment, slow internet speed can put a real damper on the best vacation plans. Anyways, how else are you going to keep up with all your favorite Netflix series?
- Fully equipped kitchen facilities – It’s easy to get tired of eating out when you’re traveling, and nothing beats a nice, open kitchen for making delicious home-cooked meals.
- Outdoor public areas – It can get a little cramped in the RV sometimes, and it’s nice to have decent outdoor areas where you can hang out, stretch the legs, and enjoy the weather.
- Grassy areas between sites – Privacy is the main concern here. Traveling can be stressful and emotions can sometimes run high, or perhaps you enjoy talking to yourself loudly and walking around in your birthday suit. Whatever it is, a lack of privacy from neighbors and passersby is never a good long-term situation.
- Mailboxes – This is another oft-overlooked aspect of long-term RV stays, but can come in very handy for online shopping and pen pals.
- Laundromat – If you don’t want to be doing laundry round-the-clock, this is a must for long-term RV stays.
- Activity center – You’re here to stay for a while, and maybe would like to meet the other people in your community. Better yet if there’s a barbecue pit with scheduled cookouts!
- Storage – Knick-knacks, bib-bobs, and what-nots accumulate quickly – especially if you’re doing a long-stay vacation (in the Antiques Capital of East Texas no less!). Look for RV parks that offer storage space for rent or that come with the lot.
The list above is by no means comprehensive or all-inclusive, and your next long-stay RV park doesn’t need to tick all the boxes to be perfect for you. However, if you’re looking for an extended stay RV park in East Texas with all the bells-and-whistles to make your next stay as comfortable as possible, then check out Antique Capital RV Park in Gladewater, TX. It’s got all the above-mentioned amenities and then some!
Antique Capital RV park offers affordable long-term rates for owners looking to stay longer – which is quite common, because they offer all the amenities that can make you feel at home on vacation. There’s a lake in the park for picnics and fishing, multiple dog-runs for furry family members, and a large full-service activity center for cooking, partying, entertaining or just chilling-out. It’s also conveniently located in the heart of East Texas, providing convenient access to all the major cities around the area – most within an hours’ drive – affording the long-stay traveler a central base from which to explore. Stay with us next time you’re looking to hunker down in East Texas – we’re the extended stay RV park equipped with the best amenities in the area!