The coronavirus has altered and upended the lives of, what seems like, every human being on the planet. As more and more places begin to open up, the question on our minds has been, when we can finally travel again, will it be safest in a van?
Camper vans have already been trendy for the last several years due to the glamorous social media posts touting van life as one of the best ways to travel. There is also a community of people who have been living in vans and RV’s for economic reasons with less of an emphasis on traveling and more as a way to cut the costs of living.
We can’t help but wonder, however, if there will be a third, new, emerging group of camper van travelers who are choosing this method of travel for safety reasons. We know travelers feeling apprehensive about traveling overseas to other countries. We can also see a reluctance to get on a plane or even a train (according to Condé Nast Traveler, sales and flights are down 95%). Mass transportation, though something we always enjoyed before, now seems fraught with danger. There’s too many people in too close of quarters to make social distancing possible.
The Harris Poll has some interesting stats regarding “how long it will take after the curve flattens before a majority of Americans embrace various activities.” At first glance it looks like it will take a year or more before people are willing to get on a cruise ship again. That’s bad news for the cruise ship industry and those who work in it. But it could be a boon for other travel segments because after some time, people will want to go out again and explore. We are starting to feel a restlessness within ourselves and can only imagine that others are, too.
So, if one is to assume that people in general are trending towards trips closer to home as well as trips that rely on their own means of transportation, then might that vehicle not be a camper van?
We can make a couple of strong cases for why, when we can travel again, it might be safest within a camper van.
Control over Cleanliness
If you’re traveling in your own van and are self-contained, you’re living in and among your own stuff, your own germs. You will also have control over the cleanliness of your own space and be able to maintain it to your own standards. You can have a strict protocol on removing your shoes in the back of the van, wiping common surfaces with a cleaner several times a day, etc. Also be sure to read our top tips on How To Stay Clean in a Van. We list some of our favorite gear for helping us stay clean as well as some of our best practices for doing so.
Reduced Exposure to Others
When it’s safe to travel again, one of the key things that will weigh heavily on the ‘where to’ and ‘how’ will be whether or not we can continue to social distance. Obviously you’ll increase your exposure by going to the grocery store, gas station, and perhaps passing people on a trail or sidewalk. But, if you are able to take and make all of your meals within your own van and take care of bathroom / cleanliness needs inside your own vehicle then you will be able to limit your exposure to others.
So many people, including us, have felt the economic impact of this dang coronavirus. We’re travel writers and photographers so as as soon as we weren’t able to travel, whelp, our earnings took a blow. But we’re not alone. As many of you unfortunately know first-hand, the coronavirus has sunk it’s teeth into many a pocketbook, having forced people to dip into their savings, rack up debt and derail their plans. Leisure activities and expenses such as travel are among the first things to get cut when people lose jobs and hours. But we all crave a novel experience and need to escape the grind and thus, benefit both emotionally and physically, to take a short vacation. Perhaps one of the most affordable things one can do is to take a camping trip in an RV or van. If you don’t own your own vehicle, you can rent one on one of the various platforms available. We actually wrote an entire post on 7 of the The Best Camper Van Rental Companies in case you’re interested in learning more.
Though it may be some time until we get a vaccine, and then, even after that quite some time before things return to ‘normal’, we are looking forward to the day when we can get back out on the road again and explore. For those of you who are reading this because you have been curious about van life adventures, this may just be the not-so-gentle nudge towards trying the camper van lifestyle out. For those of you who are reading this who never wanted to try van life but who love to travel and are eager to do so when it is finally safe to travel again, we encourage you to read a few of our other articles in our Van Life section. Who knows, you may be inspired to give it a shot.