Hi, Friends! I’m Emily, and I’d love to let you in on what it’s really like to live in a (very...
Happy Camper with Spot2Nite x RVShare
Summer is here, and the open road is calling millions of Americans to find adventure! If you don't own an RV... don't fret! You can still be part of the fun and make family memories around the campfire this summer!
We caught up with Spot2Nite travelers Daryl and Nancy, who recently had a wonderful trip to Flying Flags RV Resort in California in an Airstream Bambi. Guess what? They don't own an RV. Wanting to try out the RV lifestyle, this adventurous couple decided to rent one using RVShare! (RVshare is the world’s first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace, serving more than 60,000 RV owners across the US. You can rent a driveable or towable rig, and even opt to have it delivered to your site if you aren't comfortable with transporting just yet.)
Flying Flags was the perfect getaway, as it is near their Los Angeles area home, yet far enough away on the coast to relax and unplug. Although they've been toying with the idea of purchasing an RV, Daryl and Nancy wanted to first see what it was really like to hitch up, tow, set up camp, and all the campy goodness that comes with hitting the road before pulling the trigger on investing in their own rig. Here's some insight from Daryl about their experience!
What did you think about your first RV trip?
We had a wonderful time! So, as I think about our RV adventure, I don’t think I would call it camping. I mean, there was nothing rough about what we did. Sure, there was a learning curve in figuring out how to manage the Airstream hookups, tow the trailer, and be a good guest. But, otherwise, I would put the amenities in line with three-star hotels.
I'd have to agree that this was one of the most surprising aspects of 'camping' when Matt and I bought our first RV and dove into full-time RV living with zero experience. Many of the parks we have temporarily called home were so luxurious that it felt like anything but roughing it! (Is it really camping when there is a salon with aromatherapy massages and pedicures on property?)
Tell us about Flying Flags!
Our spot at the park was very close to the entrance, which also housed the reception, showers, restrooms, a swimming pool and sauna, a restaurant, and a general store. They were all very nice, clean, and similar to what you would find at a time-share-style resort. We chose to use the convenient park amenities (shower and toilet) rather than the Airstream. The park staff was exceptionally well-trained and courteous; they were a high point of the trip. This park was an excellent place for our first adventure. All of the spots were pull-through, and the hookups were convenient. There were numerous trash receptacles and lots of staff around. There was a basketball court, a few pools, a few shower and restroom facilities, and a sharing arrangement to use the gym and the restaurant at the next-door hotel. There were even permanent classic Airstreams, tents, and cabins on site.
What did you do nearby?
Even though travelers never need to leave the park to have an amazing vacation, there are plenty of nearby attractions that caught Daryl and Nancy's eye. There are many local wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, including Alma Rosa. With north-facing slopes, they produce layered Chardonnays and balanced Pinot Noirs, and with a tasting room that feels more like an art gallery, they serve up a bit of sophistication, too. The Hans Chrisitan Andersen museum is just a quick drive into nearby popular neighbor Solvang, and feels like you're stepping into a storybook... and it's free! Another fan favorite in the Buellton area is Ostrichland U.S.A. With 100+ giant birds, this must-see park is one of the biggest attractions in the area, letting you get up close to ostriches and emus, while even feeding them by hand!
What would you want to share with RV-newbies from your experience?
Spot2Nite and RVShare were both excellent! The apps are intuitive and extremely helpful for a beginner. I don’t know that I would have started this trip without these two apps and the comfort they gave me in selecting a rig and a park.
Tips for newbies:
- Watch a few YouTube videos on how to hook up and break down your rig.
- Make sure you understand the check-in and check-out procedures at the campsite
- Check your tire pressure before you go
- Travel with gloves and a toolkit
- Take some plumbers tape and a hose gasket
- Check your GVWR before you hook up
- Plan to spend 60-90 minutes picking up your RV if renting.
- Try to arrive at the campsite during daylight hours
- Take your time driving
- Use Spot2Nite and RVShare!
This is a great list from Daryl! I'd probably add for newbies to make sure their route is RV-friendly by using either a GPS specifically made for RVs or to do some research about clearances, etc. that drivers may not be used to navigating in a large vehicle. Also.... it's okay to ask for help! When you arrive at the park, you may not be a seasoned professional at backing into your site or setting up camp. The RV community is full of pretty great neighbors willing to lend a hand, spot you so you don't flatten an electric pedestal or take out a water connection, or answer any questions you have. I promise--- we've all been there, and there's no dumb questions!
So.... what do you think? Are you a soon-to-be-RV-owner?
Daryl and Nancy had a chance to chat with the Airstream's owner and research possibilities of ownership moving forward. They even visited a few other parks, including state campgrounds on the coast. Although the state parks are beautiful, Daryl prefers the amenities at the private parks for now, as many state parks don't have full hook-ups, pull-through spots, etc.
We visited an Airstream dealer in Buellton. The Flying Cloud and Classic models require a higher GVWR than my F-150 (7,650 pounds,) so I will need to invest in a new truck if we go with the Airstream that I want.
Although I could not see permanently living in an RV full-time, we will continue (enthusiastically) to explore this lifestyle!
Thanks so much to Daryl and Nancy for spilling the beans on their maiden voyage as RVers! We look forward to seeing them out on the road again! Would you rent an RV to try out the lifestyle or test-drive a new type of rig? Do you have any advice to add to the list above? We would love to hear from you in the comments! Please consider hitting that subscribe button in the green box below so you never miss a post!