For the 50+ Traveler

It’s officially fall, and that means the holidays are just around the corner. And as frustrating as travel planning might be right now, we’re excited that our friends at RVshare have some holiday 2020 inspiration for those who are eager to hit the road or just spend time with family.

According to a recent RVshare survey, more than half of respondents are less confident about their 2020 holiday travel plans than they were in 2019, which certainly makes sense; 80 percent are planning to spend the holidays with immediate family and 40 percent intend to continue social distancing. A whopping 80 percent of respondents will avoid flying over the holidays, and only 40 percent plan to travel at all.

So what’s the good news? Well, of the folks who intend to travel during the holidays, nearly half are going to visit family, and -- no surprise -- over a third said they simply need a break from being at home. According to RVer and spokeswoman Maddi Bourgerie, there is a safe way to see family members who live more than a day trip away and to enjoy a yuletide change of scenery.

Enter An RV

The majority of surveyed holiday travelers -- nearly 50 percent -- will drive to their destinations, while only 10 percent will travel by air. But where will they stay when they arrive at their intended destinations? Maddi suggested that it’s the 19 percent of holiday travelers who intend to pack up and go in an RV who are best positioned for safe and enjoyable holiday travel. They’ll be able to go where they want and spend time with who they want while still maintaining a self-contained unit. In light of COVID, travelers report feeling more secure in an RV than flying or staying in a hotel, and if you opt for an RV, you won’t have to descend on or share overnight space with extended family members, either.

Maddi explained that at the beginning of the pandemic, RVshare saw a lot of rentals booked by medical professionals and first responders who would quarantine near family -- sometimes right outside their own houses -- to protect the loved ones they live with. She and the folks at RVshare believe this principle will translate well into what they call the secondary travel season, that is, travel around Christmas and New Year, affording people a “unique experience to get to be together.”

Holiday RV Rental Options

If you want to RV all the way (which will allow you to bypass using public restrooms on the road, one of Johns Hopkins doctor Buck Greenough’s safe travel tips), then you can arrange to pick up and drop off an RV in your hometown and camp it outside your relatives’ during what can be a cheerful but safely distanced winter gathering.

Or, if you’d rather not commit to driving or towing an RV in winter weather (or at all), you can drive your own vehicle to your intended destination and have a rental waiting for you when you get there. That’s right, many RV owners who participate in rental marketplaces like RVshare will drop off your rented rig, which means no uncomfortable driving or towing required.

Maddi notes that while having an RV -- from a sprawling Class A to an adorable Airstream -- parked in your relatives’ driveway is the ideal situation, you will need to check on neighborhood and homeowners association rules well in advance. Once you have the green light to park your intended rig there for the duration of your stay, book away! If, however, the RV you want to stay in isn’t allowed to stay on the street or your family’s property, check out KOAs, Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, and Campendium, a local campground finder, to see if there’s a viable option nearby. Christmasing at a campground could be the gift that keeps on giving -- one that promises stories to be told for years to come!

Winter RVing: Practical Considerations

Maybe you’re going to stay in an RV outside a relative’s in Florida. Or maybe you’re going north, to a true winter wonderland where the temps will plummet and icy conditions or inches of snow are likely. If you’re not familiar with driving or towing an RV, navigating one in inclement weather could put an unwanted spin on the term crash course. Maddi suggests having your RV delivered by its owner to avoid this type of holiday headache. (Note that not all owners deliver their RVs. RVshare allows owners to clearly indicate whether they will or won’t deliver, in what radius, and for what additional fee.)

She also emphasized that you need to ask the owner about how their RV handles different types of weather and if it has heating. “Relying on the owner when it comes to those kinds of questions is the place to start.” RVshare has an Ask owner a question feature you can use before booking. Take advantage.

In COVID times, especially, Maddi also said you need to be thinking about flexibility. Whether you’re booking next week, in two weeks, or in a month -- but especially toward the holidays -- she said you need to be looking at flexibility in RV owners’ cancelation policies. “Make sure to know if it’s 30 days out or a week out to get a full refund.” On RVshare, each listing has a Cancellation Policy section. If anything is unclear, reach out and ask the owner a question before booking.

Alternatives To Parking In Your Relatives’ Driveway (Or Having A Nearby Campground Christmas)

If you don’t want or need to park an RV at a relatives’ or a nearby campground but still want to RV over the holidays, Maddi suggested a few hot destinations. She told us she expects to see a huge snowbird effect this year since RV sales have been up and RVs, including rentals, are going to be in high demand. Our takeaway: If you want a winter holiday in one of her recommended destinations -- namely the Florida panhandle; Sedona, Arizona; and Southern California -- book now.

If you’re looking for more destination inspiration, we also recommend our list of the best U.S. cities to visit in December and nine wonderful warm weekend getaways in January. A national park- or hiking-inspired holiday wouldn’t be too shabby, either.

Finally, if you fall squarely in the “not going to travel over the holidays at all” camp, we understand. Perhaps your side of RV could come as the gift of a 2021 RV trip, either for a loved one or yourself. Maddi told us that during the first quarter of 2021 (and beyond), it will be harder than ever to find an RV, but that more than that, it’s about finding a campground, especially in the most sought-after destinations, like Key West, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Vegas. Making your reservations for a spring or summer 2021 getaway will give you something to look forward to and get excited about over the holidays, whether you’re celebrating them at home or in the perfect home away from home on wheels.

RVshare is the world's first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace. With thousands of satisfied customers and a broad inventory ranging from travel trailers to luxury motorhomes, RVshare has the perfect RV for your vacation, tailgate, or temporary lodging needs.