Retiring To A Recreational Vehicle
How GPS Trackers Help Senior ‘Road Warriors’ Stay Connected With Family
This winter was a good one for recreational vehicle parks located in warm weather climates. A national chain of RV parks called Equity Lifestyle Properties reported a 16.5 percent increase in revenue this winter over last.
The difference is an increase in snowbird campers, said the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
There are three general categories of RVers: vacationers, part-timers, and full-timers. The quickest growing group of these three is the full-timers. These are people who live in their RVs for nearly all 52 weeks of the year. This means they are opting for the RV lifestyle over a temporary outdoor vacation. A majority of them sell their brick-and-mortar homes to retire in an RV. They give up a permanent address for a license plate number and RV living!
Many senior citizen spouses choose this RV lifestyle to downsize, simplify their lives, meet new people and rediscover their lives as a couple. Living in an RV might sound crazy but the reality is when you hit the road you reduce cost of living, and can meet other seniors who have embraced the RV life. Now, let’s take a look at contributing factors to why seniors are choosing to purchase an RV and travel during retirement!
Some contributing factors to the increase:
- Aging baby boomers. There are simply more retired and pre-retirement individuals in the world today.
A questionable economy and financially-conservative consumers, wishing their travel to be comfortable, memorable, but not over-indulgent.
- Reasonable fuel prices (certainly not the $5.50-per-gallon peak the U.S. hit in June 2022)
- The nation’s raised consciousness about fitness and Earth-friendly endeavors.
Most folks who choose RV retirement cut the apron strings and choose a life as “full-timers” plot out five, six, or eight destinations a year. When they arrive at each, they stay for a while and set down temporary roots. Some take on jobs. They are called work-campers, and they will often park their travel trailer and set up shop at RV resorts.
Sharon Smith, 68, who with her husband Bill, 73, is spending the winter in Falcon State Park in southern Texas, gave three reasons for choosing their home on wheels: They enjoy traveling, they like meeting new people and they’re on a budget. She also stated there will always be reasons not to go on RV travels, but there will be even more reasons you will regret not embracing life on the road.
Many industries in the consumer market are catering to the RV industry and people full-time RV living, an intriguing and ever-expanding culture. Many electronic products are designed to make an RV a true home away from home, ranging from satellite dishes to wireless Internet. In fact, if you want to buy an RV, there are numerous RV accessories that can help you with the learning curve and transition into a life on the road. For example, custom software offers spreadsheets for travel expenses, a tracking system for vehicle service and repair, and an address book for personal contacts, campgrounds, and businesses. These RV accessories can affect your retirement in a positive way to make RV life easier!
Related Article: RV Theft Facts
How GPS Tracking Is Changing Recreational Vehicle Travel For Seniors
One of the most exciting product areas is GPS tracking and navigation systems. GPS navigation solutions will find the best route from Point A to Point B, check traffic and construction status, and give travelers turn-by-turn directions to their next destination. This makes travel easy for seniors who have a tendency to get lost or confused during long road trips.
GPS trackers, either real-time GPS tracking or data loggers, have many applications in the RV world. Vehicle tracking systems help ensure that traveling cross-country is as efficient, comfortable, and carefree as possible. Today’s GPS devices are small enough to fit in a pocket or palm of the hand. Many are magnetic and water-resistant, so they have a variety of vehicle placement options.
These GPS vehicle trackers use satellite signals and a GPS tracking receiver to determine exactly where the mobile vacation home is, any time, anywhere on earth. Any authorized user can track the RV by a remote computer, no matter the amount of distance that divides them. Depending on the tracking system, the position update frequency can usually be changed from seconds to minutes, to half-hour time frames.
Following are some common ways GPS tracking systems are used in an RV/mobile home setting:
- GPS tracking in RVs offers many of the same benefits as fleet management. Users can log their trips by exact speed, time, and distance; calculate fuel efficiency, and track and schedule routine vehicle maintenance.
- Senior citizens, at a time in life when memories might be failing them, can use GPS tracking systems to capture and document vacation experiences. The GPS receivers have extensive memory capacity to hold trip data and help build a vacation scrapbook, including geotagging and Google Maps.
- An exciting feature of real-time GPS tracking, that will benefit families monitoring RVers from home, is geo-fencing. Geo-fencing allows someone to program virtual boundaries, or borders, into a tracking system. An automatic text or email alert goes out to a designated user when the tracked vehicle crosses one of the borders. When Mom and Dad near home, or cross a state line, or hit those Rocky Mountains, their loved ones will be promptly notified!
- Portable hand-held GPS tracking systems often have unique mapping features and are used to navigate and record long hikes and to prevent the adventurer from getting lost.
- Finally, real-time vehicle tracking systems have a value unmatched for asset management. The GPS tracking receiver can be easily hidden on the vehicle. If the RV is stolen, its current location and heading can be monitored remotely, and law authorities have an excellent chance of recovering it.
People are living longer and healthier lives than even a generation or two ago. The recession popped the bubble on a lot of IRA accounts, so many Americans in their “golden years” do not have the savings to sail around the world or see Paris in the springtime. The alternative is setting up camp within hiking distance of Old Faithful in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, or maybe practicing amateur photography in Arizona’s Painted Desert.
For a family still coping with the daily grind, Mom and Dad’s long absences do not have to mean a loss of contact. Place a vehicle tracking device on the Winnebago and children and grandchildren can log in any time to virtually watch their loved ones’ road adventures: stop by stop, landmark by landmark – minus the “you-had-to-be-there” scenic views.
Life On The Road
There are pros and cons when looking at reasons to retire to life on the road. Living in RV resorts, eating Cracker Barrels, and searching for overnight parking in random spots in the country certainly isn’t for every senior. This is the reason why experts suggest anyone considering an RV in retirement move into the RV lifestyle in baby steps. This means taking an extended camping trip in motor homes or fifth wheels, joining an RV club, or driving an RV rental for a month.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.