A few weeks ago (it seems like years ago now), I released a blog post discussing how RVers should be keeping themselves and others safe from the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. While we still stand by almost all of the advice given in that post, constant changes in the spread of the virus and the ways that our society is trying to battle it mean that we need to keep updating our advice to you, our members, both traveling RVers and hosts alike.
We know that many of our guest members are full-timers, without a permanent spot to land and hunker down during this pandemic. Many of our hosts have been incredibly generous, offering to let full-timers stay for extended periods. This is the spirit of generosity that Boondockers Welcome is built-on, and we are happy to be able to provide a platform to help those in need during this crisis.
We can't help but notice that some members are still attempting to arrange stays with hosts for recreational travel. We very much understand the desire to get out into nature and socially distance in national forests or hiking trails. Unfortunately, doing so puts both you and the community that you're visiting at risk.
This is not the time for recreational travel. If you have a home base, you should be staying at home.
The reasons for this are many, but it comes down to the following:
- The more movement of people from area to area, the more opportunity for the virus to spread. Even if you think you won't interact with anyone, you'll probably need to get gas, and possibly groceries. As much as our hosts can be hands-off, even just handling their extension cord or water hose gives the virus an opportunity to move. If we stay at home, we've removed that opportunity.
- The health care supports in a community are usually only sufficient to tend to their full-time population. If the worst should happen and you should get sick while visiting an area away from home, you will be putting added stress on a system that is already possibly working at capacity. This is why people are strongly discouraged from heading to their cottages or cabins, rather than staying in their permanent homes.
- Most state parks and many private campgrounds are closing down. While it can be difficult to understand the rationale for this, recall that most of these places provide bathrooms, laundry facilities, and other communal areas that give the virus an opportunity to spread, and require staff to put themselves at exposure risk by interacting with people or having to clean these communal areas.
- Full-time RVers often do not have a place they can go to self-isolate during this pandemic. We should be leaving the few spots in campgrounds and at Boondockers Welcome hosts for those who really need it, either to stay when there's nowhere to go, or so they can stop for a night while trying to get back to a home base or that of family members.
We know that this is a bitter pill to swallow, especially as the weather improves for those of us in more northern climates. My own spring travel plans have all been scuttled, as have those of many of our fellow RVers. But we need to stand together as a community (6 feet apart of course), to beat this thing.
For Boondockers Welcome hosts, we know that many of you have already stated that you're happy to help guests who don't have anywhere to go, or are trying to make their way to a safe place to hunker down. And for that we're incredibly grateful. But please don't feel you need to put yourself and your communities at risk by accepting requests from those looking to travel for pleasure right now. It is 100% okay to say 'no' to these requests. (As always, our hosts accept or decline any requests at their own discretion and are never penalized for doing so.)
For Boondockers Welcome guests, let's be responsible and stay put, assuming we can. Head over to our Facebook Group and chat with others about places you're dying to see, ask advice about the best spots to visit in specific areas, or just generally dream about RVing with likeminded friends. Remember that anticipation and planning can be half the fun. When this is all over, we can all have the most well-researched and planned-out RV trips on record, and our Boondockers Welcome hosts will be ready to welcome you with open arms.
Until then, let's stay healthy and happy dreaming.