A sullen woman sits in the door of her camper van, looking out.

This May Be the Worst Year for RVing

RVing is an amazing way to travel the country. You can experience new cultures, learn about our nation’s history, and dive into tasty local cuisines. You’ll find so many national treasures like the red canyons of the West and the rocky shoreline of the Northeast. 

But this year, you may want to put off those travel plans. Let’s look at why, even with all of these pros, there may be more cons to RV travel this year.

A sullen woman sits in the door of her camper van, looking out.

Is the RV Industry Slowing Down?

Contrary to what many people thought last year, RV travel is not slowing down. Many Americans thought maybe they’d get a deal on one of those RV purchases made in haste in 2020.

They thought people would settle back down or get rid of that monthly payment. But this hasn’t seemed to happen at all.

In fact, we’ve seen the opposite. We’ve seen prices skyrocket, RV dealerships empty, and campgrounds full.

Who knows how long this trend will last? But it certainly isn’t slowing down in 2022.

If you thought camping was hard in 2020, you weren’t ready for 2021. We don’t expect 2022 to be any different.

Is Now a Bad Time to Buy an RV?

Right now isn’t a great time to buy much of anything. Food and fuel prices have skyrocketed, and the RV market has also seen a huge increase. Additionally, many have had difficulty finding a tow vehicle for heavier fifth wheels. Dually trucks and other heavy-duty 350/3500 trucks can’t fill the lots.

Also, some have had concerns about the quality of models made during the pandemic. Because of limited parts and the labor shortage in the manufacturing companies, some fear buying new RVs. It’s already widely known that RVs aren’t well made. 

They don’t always have top-notch construction and quality. However, with the problems manufacturers have had getting materials over the last couple of years, you may have better luck with an older used RV for sale.

Big-time RV YouTubers asked the experts: are RV COVID builds real?

Having said that, if you dream of traveling with your family and seeing all 48 continental states, you shouldn’t put that off. Just be prepared to pay more, deal with repairs, and handle the other challenges mentioned below. 

If you want to trade in an RV you already own for something newer, you might want to hold on to what you have for a bit longer. So whether or not you buy an RV right now depends on your situation and how bad you need to make a purchase.

Why Might This Be the Worst Year for RVing?

Although traveling picked up in 2021, it won’t compare to the numbers we’ll see in 2022. Some Americans want to hit the road after being cooped up for two years, having plans canceled, and missing out on graduation trips or honeymoons.

However, many are still doing so cautiously. So RVing is on the rise. It offers a safer traveling environment than staying in a hotel or Airbnb.

Since so many Americans have chosen this type of travel, we’ve seen much higher prices, crowded destinations, and full campgrounds.

A family of four brings their camping gear out to their van for a family trip.

High RV Prices

RV prices have increased substantially due to inflation across the board. What was a $180,000 Class A motorhome in 2018 now has a $250,000 price tag. 

This is true for used RVs as well. You might have found a $10,000 used travel trailer a few years ago, but now you’ll pay $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the age, floor plan, and brand.

Plus, fuel prices have increased. You’ll pay more to drive an RV off the lot and at the pump. A trip you thought would cost $500 in fuel may now cost twice that much.

In addition to increased fuel prices, attractions, restaurants, and campgrounds have begun charging more. You may have to eat out less, experience less, and learn how to dry camp more if you want to save money. 

It may cost you $50 a night instead of $35. If you can’t stay overnight without hookups, start saving money now.

Crowded Tourist Attractions

Along with the increased prices at some tourist attractions, you’ll also have to deal with larger crowds. The National Park Service has instituted a reserved ticket entry system to combat this.

However, if you’re not a planner or have just decided to go somewhere for a family vacation next month, getting tickets at some popular locations is slim.

People want to get outdoors, which is fantastic. It has been an escape for lots of Americans during the pandemic. But it has changed the experience at many of these treasured locations.

A group of hikers walk down a well-traversed path

And then people who haven’t been anywhere in two years are finally planning those getaways, thus filling up popular tourist spots.

Other tourist destinations like Disney and Universal have increased their prices. They’ve also instituted new protocols and regulations that have changed the experience.

So you may stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists in many of these places and deal with paying more for less in some instances.

Crowds are one of the many reasons national park camping isn’t the same anymore.

Full Campgrounds

You may pay more for overnight stays at campgrounds and have a harder time making reservations. If you don’t plan ahead, campgrounds will likely fill up before you call. 

Long gone are the days when you could just pull up to a ranger station and ask if they have an open campsite for the night.

Campgrounds with a rolling reservation system see campsites booked the day they become available.

So if you haven’t started planning for that week-long trip to Colorado this summer, you might have to call your second, third, or fourth choice to find a spot to camp.

More people traveling in RVs and staying in campgrounds also means dealing with newbies who might not be familiar with camping etiquette. Full campgrounds will also mean rowdy, loud neighbors at midnight. 

Additionally, you might step over dog poop or watch out for speedy drivers more often. So the overall experience at campgrounds will also change.

If you’re already planning your RV trip in 2022, these tips might help you overcome some challenges.

Why Are RVs so Expensive Right Now? 

Why would manufacturers and dealers lower the prices if people pay them? RVs are still hot commodities. And now dealerships have seen huge profits.

However, manufacturers have also had to pay more for materials. Lumber went sky-high in 2021. 

Most RVs have wood construction. Other materials were difficult to find, and when they became available, manufacturers had to pay more for them because of supply and demand. So even though the RV industry has made more, they have also spent more money.

Is It Worth RVing This Year?

If you’ve put off traveling for two years and want a safer experience than staying in a hotel or Airbnb, you may still find it worth it to go RVing in 2022. If you have had to postpone your 50-state honeymoon adventure and don’t want to wait any longer, plan that trip this year. 

However, if you do choose to go RVing, remember all of the new challenges you’ll face along the way and even during the planning stages.

For others who just want a fun, family getaway, you might consider booking a week in a hotel at the beach. Or if you haven’t seen family in a while, stay with grandparents or aunts and uncles for free and enjoy some family time you’ve missed out on recently. 

Whenever making any travel plans, you have to weigh the pros and cons. And there are a lot of cons this year to RVing.

But you may also have more reasons to venture out and explore the outdoors. If so, what are your plans? Are you changing your plans because of higher prices or crowded attractions?

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