Whether you are going to become a full-time RVer or you just want to spend a summer exploring the USA, you may be wondering how to find new friends who RV.
Unless you are a total introvert, you might like to meet up with RV people who are like minded on the road, whether in a campground or when boondocking. There are really great ways to do this.
We are going to share with you how we went about finding our RV 'tribe' on the road, in order from the most effective way (Instagram) to the least effective way (walk up to someone's rig and say hi) ???? (Um, don't do that if you are boondocking in the middle of nowhere. It might not be well received!)
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Networking works wonders in most aspects of life from finding a mate, to making friends, to getting a job.
I met up with a SUPER group of RV friends because of an RV friend on Facebook whom I had never met, but we were from the same area in Florida. She saw my Facebook plea for meeting RV people in Quartzsite and hooked me up with her group of full-time RV friends who were down in KOFA. Boom. I started meeting people through all of them.
Networking has never been easier. Social media allows us to (duh) connect with those whom we likely would have little to no contact with otherwise.
You can use multiple sources for your networking: Twitter (meh), Instagram (more to come on that one), Facebook, Linked In, and through online RVing groups such as Escapees, Xscapers (a sub-group of Escapees), and RVillage.
Or, simply ask your friends if they know anyone who RVs. We are all connected much more readily than you may realize.
Instagram is one of the most likely places you can find RV friends who are 'like' yourself to meet up with. Here's how:
What? Use Instagram to find RV friends? Seriously?' I asked.
'Darn straight!' Marshall said when I asked this question. It was right after I met him back in KOFA, Arizona in January of 2016. He told me that he had met the majority of people he knows using Instagram.
It's true. I have probably met people mostly through Marshall, but I have connected with a few as well on Instagram. Many people connect this way, so you can too!
Here's How: (Or, jump to the step-by-step video tutorial below)
1. Get Instagram- This sounds pretty 'well, yeah', but some peeps may not know this- Instagram is an app for your smart phone. You can download it from the Apple App Store from an iPhone, or the Google Play Store if you are an Android user. Set up an account and you're off to the races. Here's how to set up an account: Set Up Account
2. Set Your Account To Public- Public is the most important part. Who wants to follow someone they don't know when they can't see the person's photos? Pretty much nobody.
3. Start Adding Photos! The better the photos, the prettier they are, the more likely you are to have followers. It's just a fact. You can write about it under the photo after you post the photo and do or don't add a filter. Photos with no stories are not as appealing.
4. USE HASHTAGS-This is crucial. You will not be found without using these, more than likely. After you write your message, use words with hashtags before them that have to do with your photo and/or story. As a weird example, after this paragraph, or 'story', you could use #crucial #goodadvice #message #story #paragraph
5. RELEVANT Hashtags- If you are a full time boondocking RVer, you can use tags like #RV #RVlife #FullTimeRv #Explore #Boondock #CampgroundsSuck #LivingFree #LiveDifferently #Escapees #Xscapers #RvLifestyle #Travel #RvLiving #Rving etc. You can get creative with it, just pick something you think others will likely search for.
6. Add Your Location- This way people can see where you are. Don't worry, nobody is going to come stalking you. (Unless you are a hot chick showing cleavage and butt shots and goofy duck lip poses, which we will never understand. Then you may get weird non-RVing stalkers trying to find you, LOL!) You're not putting your actual coordinates in, so no-one REALLY knows where you are unless you tell them.
7. Start Following Others- Because of the hashtags you use and who you are friends with, Instagram will start to suggest people for you to follow. Follow those who are similar to you in whatever way- age, rig type, location, activities, kids, full-time, part-time, (look at their feed to figure these things out) or whatever you find you may have in common. They might follow you back.
8. INTERACT! You can comment on others' photos and they can comment on yours. You can also personally message people you are following. The more you interact, the more likely you are to be welcomed and/or invited to meet up when in the same general area. You can get to know people a little more this way, and it may feel more comfortable to reach out or to be reached out to if you have had a little rapport first.
That's it! Be a little active, don't follow just anyone, and don't follow a TON of people. You don't have enough time in your day (at least we hope you don't have that much time!) to spend scrolling endlessly through your Instagram feed looking at thousands of people's photos. Get to know a few hundred or less, and you have much more of a chance to really get to find things in common with a few.
Don't expect this to happen immediately. It takes a little time and maybe a little networking of people seeing who you are 'friends' with and who you interact with. It's a real thing, kids. People meet up this way every day. You can really meet some of the greatest folks from Instagram.
Ugh, I Can't Do This. SHOW Me How To Sign Up!
Ok, Ok, we get it. Some of us are more technically challenged than others. (Me) Watch the video below and follow the instructions. Ignore the part in the video about following the Kardashians or Miley Cyrus... You can follow whomever you want!
LOL! Ok seriously, here's the tutorial:
There are a multitude of Facebook RVing groups. You have RV to Freedom, Women Who RV, Full-Time RVers, Xscapers, Escapees, Boondocking and Free Camping USA, NuRvers, Airstream Addicts, just to name a few...
You can join these groups and interact with those in them. (But first, you must create an account.)
You can friend people from there if you feel a likeness with them, and the world is your oyster from there. You can plan to meet up, chat on the phone, form a group, whatever you want.
Some of these groups also form clubs that get together once or more during the year. Usually they call them convergences or rallies. This is a great way to network with other like-minded souls and to make new friends.
You might even make a new bestie:
Be active in these groups. Help out others when you can. Share photos of your trip. Comment when you can. Make some new friends and you just might meet them along the way.
Oh, you don't have an account? It's SO easy to sign up!
How To Create A Facebook Account
It's REALLY easy. What's even easier is watching this tutorial by Tech Boomers. It's made for those of us who are, ummmm, less technically savvy!
Ok, I Signed Up. But How Do I Use Facebook?
Now that you have signed up, it's time to start using Facebook. You have a 'wall' or a 'timeline' that you will be able to scroll through. It shows everything the people you are following have posted. It mixes up the stories and only shows you the stories that are the most relevant or commented on or liked.
In this way, it stops you from seeing the most mundane posts, at least according to Facebook. You can comment, just like on Instagram, on their posts. You can also post your own stuff. You can share posts that you see that you like. There is a lot more 'noise' on Facebook because of this. Some (well, a lot) people will only post stuff they see on their own wall. Things that have nothing to do with their daily life.
So watch out for the noise on Facebook. It can get a little old at times. Otherwise, using the RVing groups can be a good way to find and friend people out there with similar interests.
NOW that you have an account and we explained it to you a little, you are still feeling stumped on how to use it? No worries. Here's another tutorial to get you going:
Don't forget to search for RVing groups in the search bar when in Facebook. You can 'like' or 'join' the group and you will see updates from them in your news feed.
Joining RVing Clubs
This one seems like a no-brainer. Maybe it is. There are a ton of clubs out there that cater to different 'groups'. You have Airstreamers, Van dwellers, RVers, Fifth-Wheelers, Weekend Warriors, Solo RVers, Younger working RVers, RV brand clubs, etc.
Most of these groups will have gatherings throughout the year which you can join. Sometimes they are free gatherings, sometimes they cost to participate. Pick what you want to go to and what you don't.
Of course, being at these gatherings means, once again, that you have to PARTICIPATE and put yourself out there a little in order to meet anyone. We are all shy to a point, aren't we? Don't we all want people to like us? Sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone and making that effort.
What are the best groups? Well, the best ones are the ones you have something in common with.
Camp Addict Co-founders Kelly and Marshall are only members of the Escapees sub-group, Xscapers. We don't feel the need to be in any other clubs since we have a really solid group of full-time RVing friends whom we mostly met through Instagram and Facebook.
Your situation may be different. We shall list some of the more popular groups that you may find helpful to join:
Escapees- A very popular club dedicated to mostly full-time RVing retirees. They offer more than just social time. They have a mailing service, parks you can stay in at a discount, a CARE program and more. We wrote about it already here.
Loners On Wheels- Active since 1969, if you are a solo traveler, this one might appeal to you.
Harvest Hosts- Well isn't THIS a brilliant way to meet up with fellow wine enthusiasts and fellow RVers? (Unless you are an alcoholic, of course. Then, no.)
With Harvest Hosts, you can stay for free at wineries across the country in exchange for buying some of their wine. Win-Win! You can meet fellow RVers who may be there as well as the always friendly winery owners.
Xscapers- For those who are still working/of working age while on the road. You don't have to be full-time, but many here are. This is probably the largest sub-group of Escapees, but there are others.
Rvillage- Not the most active group, but people have met up on this one. It's kind of like Facebook, but for RVers, and no-one seems to post much. Hey, you might like it.
Sisters On The Fly- A very active outdoorsy group only for women over the age of 21. Their motto is simply "No men. No kids. Be nice. Have fun!"
Rubber Tramp Rendezvous- This isn't really a club, but a gathering for like-minded souls who like to live cheaply. They gather every year in Quartzsite, Arizona.
Rainbow RV- A gay and lesbian RV club. There's something out there for everyone!
RVing Women- Another women's club. Check it out and see if it's right for you!
Campground Memberships or Events
You can always meet up with others at campground events. Larger and more established campgrounds usually have a calendar of events for their customers.
Check with the front office and see if they are having any pool parties, BBQ's, game nights, etc. It's the perfect way to get to know thy neighbor.
What's your excuse? Now you know that there are PLENTY of ways to get to know other RVers out there. What are you waiting for? Get out there and find your new best friends!
Camp on, Addicts!