RV Tips To Help During Covid-19

Covid-19 is scary, but do not get consumed in fear that you forget to live life. Here's some shopping ideas, travel tips and more to help...

I am going to say it, Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19. We’ve all see the news, but we know so little about it. As with anything new, it can be scary. Once people are scared, thinking the apocalypse is here, hoarding beings, stock markets crash and the government starts shutting down travel and more. So from the RV perspective, what can we expect?  Where do we get supplies? What should we do?  

First, we must be armed with facts about Covid-19.  Here’s a brief snippet from the Mayo Clinic on what it is, medically:

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak in China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mayo Clinic


As of March 12, 2020, the CDC is reporting 1,629 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 41 deaths since January 1, 2020.  The first death happened on Leap Year, February 29, 2020, in Seattle, WA.

To put this into perspective, the CDC estimates that 42 million people got sick during the 2018-2019 flu season. Of these, 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died.

The Hype

At the end of 2019, many watched Covid-19 spread around China, then Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. But what probably scared many of us most is hearing 3,600 Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers were quarantined, on the ship near Yokohama, Japan. I can’t imagine being the healthy one, stuck in small proximity to those infected. Yet, it may be better than the end result of the Titanic. I rather not play the ‘would you rather’ game on that one. I often wonder why governments do what they do.

The hype really boils down to the fact that Covid-19 is new. We do not have a vaccine for it and no treatment options. Whenever there is something new, people get scared. Then toss in the news calling this a “pandemic,” really gets individuals scared. 

A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide. 



Pandemics will often result in quarantine when a person is believed to have been exposed to a disease.  This can be with or without being symptomatic, based on you being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time.’  A quarantine time frame, depending on the severity of the virus, will often result in 14-days of isolation. 

The outbreak of Covid-19 started in China. Therefore, if you were not traveling in that country, during the end of 2019, chances are slim that you will need to be quarantined.  The chances are even slimmer for us as full-time RVer’s in the United States. Yet, there could be a chance where we interact unknowingly with a Covid-19 carrier that has sneezed in an aisle we are shopping. The chain of events should be equivalent to me actually winning any amount playing the Lotto. But it could happen.

Preparing for a rare quarantine event is one thing. Mass hoarding or trying to profit off the high demand of required necessities is another. It was amazing, yet disheartening to see store shelves empty. Every hand sanitizer, soap bottle, rubber gloves, masks, toilet paper, and water were nowhere to be found. Unless you went online to see individuals selling it for over 500% above retail.

RVer Shopping

When living the RV lifestyle there are a few differences to that of your sticks a bricks house. For one, you are lucky to have any sort of storage space. So, when you are out of toilet paper, you are out! Now picture venturing out into the chaos to find your Costco, Sams Club or Walmart completely out. Well, if you are a veteran RVer, then you know, in a worst-case scenario to go the camping section to grab some expensive RV TP.

So you have one necessity checked off your list.  Now, what about the bottled water that is sold out? If you are like us, we mainly use the refillable gallon water jugs. It can be inconvenient at times to pop into a local store to fill up on water, but you do what you have to. And for now, the water refills are still flowing strong.

Sadly, if you are out of liquid soap or hand sanitizer, you will need to hunt around.  Our local grocery stores, pharmacies, Walmarts, Targets, Costcos, and such have been sold out for weeks. While in those stores, walk over to the camping section to browse there first.  Should that fail, jump back in your rig and head to a craft store or kitchen store. I have seen such items in the dump bins by the cash registers. You know those impulse items that may just save the day, today.


Speaking of all the places your visiting to find necessities, now you will need to find a place to park for the night. With so many closures it is hard to know what will be available.  As always, call ahead to see if the RV park plans on closing due to Covid-19. 

As of March 13, 2020, there is speculation that the most visited National Parks will be closing soon. That will mean your reservation may get canceled. It also means that State Parks may do the same. It will be up to each State, so again, call and ask before driving there. 

In these uncertain times, all you can do is make a plan. Have a backup plan and a third plan may not be a bad idea, too. Think outside the box with your planning. You are now on a hunt for low populated areas. This is ideal for boondockers.  If RV Parks are more your thing, then look for family-owned places and parks that have under 100 spaces. 


The basic washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is so simple but often overlooked. Like the flu, you should use a certain amount of caution when it comes to Covid-19. Please check out my blog on how having a cold or flu is worse in an RV for more info and tips.

For your sanity, the most important preparation tool is to limit your news watching. Do your own research through credible resources. Avoid putting 100% emotional investment into the fear tactic video reel they show you every hour. I’m counting on the fact that you probably already do this, especially if you RV full-time. 

Take precautions in avoiding getting sick and have a plan in case it happens. But, do not get consumed in fear that you forget to live life. Enjoy the small things and take time to make memories with your family and friends.

Thanks for reading our blog and we will see you on our next Adventure!
Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  

Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  

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Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  

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