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Why Massive Amounts of People are Abandoning RV Life

Several famous nomads have chosen to abandon the RV life over the past 12 to 18 months. Many spent years on the road before calling it quits.

So why are people throwing in the towel? While numerous reasons exist, we’ve seen a few common trends.

Today, we’ll dive in and see what’s behind the movement and what it means for the community. 

Let’s hit it!

Lonely woman looking out the window in camper van. Burnout is a leading cause of people leaving the RV life.
Burnout is a leading cause of people leaving the RV life.

The Appeal of RV Life

Until relatively recently, the RV community was predominantly retirees. Interestingly, as remote learning and working have become popular, the demographic has changed dramatically. Adventurers of all ages are creating memories by becoming nomads.

Social media played a significant role in showcasing the possibilities and appeal of the lifestyle. YouTube videos and Instagram posts highlighted epic hikes, unforgettable sunsets, and potential financial savings. Many saw the benefits and immediately sold everything to jump in without questioning the negatives.

Living in a recreational vehicle allows you to take your home along as you explore new places. Is it a glorious way to live? It absolutely can be. However, there’s also a darker side to it that rarely gets discussed. Unfortunately, it’s causing some to call it quits and abandon the RV life altogether.

Burnout Is Leading Some People to Abandon RV Life

Experiencing burnout isn’t something we’d wish upon anyone. Sadly, it’s a reality and one of the main reasons nomads are leaving the RV life. 

It often seems like you’re constantly fixing, maintaining, or planning something. You may have more time on your hands, but it usually gets spent on these never-ending tasks.

Additionally, those trying to see as much of the country as possible must spend time planning. It requires researching routes, reserving campgrounds, and finding things to do. It can be very thrilling at first, but once the excitement begins to fade, it can quickly become exhausting.

Whether it takes a few months or a few years, it’s common to experience burnout while RVing. If left unaddressed, it can lead to depression and anxiety and seriously affect your mental health.

In fact, Multiple RV YouTubers Are Experiencing Burnout.

Many Are Bailing Due to Overcrowding

Another reason people abandon the RV life is overcrowding in campgrounds and public lands. The demand for recreational vehicles went through the roof from 2020 to 2022. Manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand, despite producing campers at record-breaking levels.

New owners are looking for a place to park and enjoy their recent investment. While it may be great for those who own or manage campgrounds, it’s radically changed the camping experience. It’s now tough to secure reservations without planning months ahead of time.

When you do manage to snag a site, they often lack privacy. Campgrounds maximize their revenue by stacking sites as close together as possible. Additionally, with so many new to camping, there’s sometimes a lack of etiquette and decency. Instead of listening to the sounds of nature, it’s 70s rock music and loud voices.

Those trying to escape campgrounds by venturing onto public lands aren’t immune to problems. A few bad apples are ruining it for the bunch as they ignore rules and regulations. We’ve seen evidence of people overstaying their welcome, leaving waste behind, and destroying property. When this happens, officials close or limit the use of the land for everyone.

Rising Costs Are Causing Some RVers to Abandon RV Life

Increased costs are forcing others to leave the RV life. Understanding the basic principle of supply and demand doesn’t require an advanced degree in economics. When the market for a product or service goes up, inventory decreases, triggering a price hike.

Many of these folks have watched prices for gas, maintenance, and campground reservations rise. A $5 to $7 per night increase in booking fees may not sound like much, but it is. This premium can be an additional $1800 to $2500 annually, further stressing an already tight budget.

Far too many underestimate the costs involved. Something will eventually break, no matter how much you spend on your rig. And parts and labor aren’t cheap. Not having an emergency fund for these unexpected expenses is causing some people to abandon the RV life.

Dive deeper into the reasons: Why Do People Quit RVing?

Some Are Forced to Abandon RV Life Due to Health Issues

It’s also important to remember that uncontrollable life circumstances cause some people to leave the RV world. Even with proper planning and financing, health issues can come out of nowhere. Whether it’s your mental or physical health, these conditions can derail your travel plans.

RVing is physically demanding. Setting up and taking down camp isn’t a walk in the park and can be exhausting. There will likely be times when you need to climb on top or under your rig. Both injuries and aging can make it hard to enjoy the experience.

If you notice changes in your health, you must take them seriously. Ignoring these situations doesn’t cause them to go away magically. We’ve seen far too many individuals put off treatment or a trip to the doctor, and it caused their situation to worsen.

A long line of RVs at Arches National Park in Utah. Overcrowded destinations is one of the reasons people are leaving RV life.
Overcrowded destinations is one of the reasons people are leaving RV life

Lack of Stability Is a Drawback of RV Life

One harsh lesson that RVers quickly learn is that this lifestyle comes with a lack of stability. Creating meaningful relationships and settling down is nearly impossible, especially for those who stay put for a short time. When you finally meet your neighbors and get comfortable, it’s time to pack up for the next spot.

We’ve heard of countless nomads who severely underestimated how lonely traveling can be. It can result in spending months away from friends, family, and anything familiar. You’ll likely experience birthdays, holidays, and other momentous events through video chats and pictures on social media.

At the same time, many sell their homes or properties when they set off on their adventure. As a result, most don’t have a home base to return to when they need a break. It was no surprise to see many full-time travelers investing in permanent homes after 2020 caused everyone to stop traveling. Without one, it can be very challenging to feel settled or a part of a community.

If you haven’t yet jumped into RV life yet, do your research: A Practical Guide to Full-Time RV Living.

The Times are Changing for RVers

While there’s lots to love about traveling, it’s becoming clear that it’s not a long-term solution for everyone. Leaving the RV life isn’t an easy decision, but it’s sometimes the right one. Just as quickly as it became trendy, it looks like the fad is fading. 

We’ll have to wait and see what this means for the future. It’ll be interesting to watch this play out!

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