What comes to mind when you think of a millennial? Do you think of a 22-year-old college graduate driving an hour to work, listening to the latest podcast? Do you think of a 34-year-old mom who homeschools her two children?
Millennials are a wide range of people, so your experiences with this particular group are probably varied. Let’s take a closer look at this generation, especially when they’re RVers.
Who Are Millennials?
The term millennials can have a bad connotation. But this generation of thinkers has pushed the edge of technology, embraced diversity, and rallied for social causes.
Millennials include people born between 1980 and 1999 and are now the largest generation in the workforce. Many of them are entrepreneurs and digital nomads, but many are also teachers, doctors, and managers.
How Millennials Are Changing the RV Industry
In 2018, millennials were traveling 30% more than previous generations. They made up 38% of the camping population.
They value experiences over products, so purchasing smaller travel trailers or compact class B motorhomes has increased over the last couple of years. RVing isn’t just for retirees anymore.
Manufacturers have noticed the surge of millennials flocking to dealers to buy these types of models and have increased their production. They have also had to update the look and technology to meet the needs and wants of these travelers.
Many millennials work from the road, so they want to have connectivity and space to work. This group has always had social media and technology at their fingertips, so they expect it in an RV.
7 Bad Traits of Millennial RVers
But with the positive also comes the negative. Since millennials have taken the RV industry by storm, let’s look at seven bad traits of millennial RVers.
1. Focusing More on Instagram Than Reality
Millennials love social media. Instagram is an outlet to share travel memories and tips. However, sometimes millennials are more focused on gaining more followers and less on the reality of RV life.
No one shares a picture of a leaking faucet. No one shares a picture of changing a blown-out tire. These are unfortunate realities of RV living.
Also, when traveling, millennials can be more focused on capturing the perfect shot than being present in the moment. They can be consumed with filters and hashtags and miss the reality of that time and place with their family. The memory is just a caption and not an actual memory in their minds.
2. Thinking Campground Rules Are Just ‘Guidelines’
Millennials seem to think rules don’t really exist. There isn’t a punishment for not following the rules, so they view them as mere guidelines.
For example, a sign on the campground clubhouse says no children under 16 left unaccompanied. A millennial reads that and thinks, “Well, that doesn’t apply to my kids. They’re well-behaved and will be just fine on their own.”
Or a campground rule is that quiet hours begin at 9 p.m. According to a millennial, that time is way too early, so he’ll keep playing loud music until at least 10 p.m.
3. Only Camping at Places with a Website
Since millennials have grown up with technology at their fingertips, they expect every campground to have a well-designed, efficient website. And if one doesn’t, then they just won’t stay there.
It’s not current with the times, so it must not be a very good quality campground. They miss out on camping in some great locations because they expect a properly run business to have a properly run website.
4. Winging It
A young family is starting a two-week trip across the country. The millennial parents haven’t made any reservations and just plan to wing it the whole trip. They have a home on wheels, so they can just drive until they find an open site. And they’ll just stop on the way at some museums and parks that look cool and have signs along the interstate.
This bad habit of not planning could cause them to miss out on visiting some amazing places that require reservations days or weeks ahead of time. They might have to stay in a run-down, smelly, side-of-the-interstate RV park because their kids are exhausted, moody, and hungry, and the parents didn’t look at a map and figure out the best camping spot for the night.
5. Letting Kids and Dogs Wander Free
This is similar to the bad habit of thinking campground rules are just guidelines. Most campgrounds require dogs to always be on a leash and never left outdoors unattended. Most campgrounds require parents to supervise their kids.
But millennials again think these guidelines aren’t meant for them but for the other campers. It’s impolite and unsafe for kids and dogs to wander free even if you have the best kids and pets in the world.
6. Poorly Renovating Old Campers
The idea of renovating and making a vintage camper your own is appealing to many millennials. However, because millennials can focus on social media rather than the job at hand and enjoy winging it, they can do a poor job renovating.
This can mean water leaks, unfinished sanding, or messy paint jobs. Millennials can think that watching YouTube videos will help them design the perfect modern vintage camper. But YouTube can’t teach everything. They’ll still need planning, preparation, and follow-through.
7. Over-Packing or Under-Packing
Millennials have a bad habit of going to the extreme. Either they over-pack and take everything they can cram into their 28-ft Winnebago travel trailer, or they under-pack and try to rough it in the outdoors.
They don’t need to take the mixer and air fryer if they’re camping for a weekend. But they do need to pack RV-safe toilet paper and a few toys for their kids.
Camping is supposed to be an enjoyable outdoor experience, but if you pack too much stuff, you won’t have room to enjoy the adventure. And if you under-pack, you won’t have the necessities to help make the experience a positive one for your family.
The Good Side of Having Millennials in the RV Industry
Having said all this, millennials aren’t ruining the RV industry. In fact, it’s great that they’re camping and enjoying the outdoors. They bring new ideas and consider ways to protect the environment.
Millennials are looking at the future and how their actions will affect the next generation. They’ve made the RV industry think about families living on the road and how to best accommodate the needs of working parents.
The next time you see millennials pull up to a campsite beside you, don’t roll your eyes. This is a chance to meet a family who values experiences over things or a single guy who speaks up for environmental changes.
So instead of focusing on the bad habits of millennials, consider walking over and starting up a conversation. What do you have to share about your camping experience that might be helpful for them?
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