Nomad Life In The Time of COVID-19

Relevant Info, Communications and Places To Stay During The Coronoavirus Outbreak
Helping you find important information and stay connected while on the road
With 13 years’ experience in emergency management, I realized the virus outbreak would have serious impact on the full-time nomad community. I hope this section helps.

Places to Get Relevant Info

I have been paying attention to what’s going on, and following many of the sources I usually use to find places to stay and to get news about all things full-time RVing. I’m listing here those sources that have created informational clearinghouses to keep us all informed about the things that matter to us. I will add to this list as more sources come online. Currently updating at least once a week, more often when needed. NOTE: I am not responsible for the content of any of these sites, simply providing here for your use and convenience.

  •  CAMPENDIUM—a fantastic nomad resource in the best of times—has really stepped up for our nomad community. I am very impressed with how quickly they have responded to the needs of many of us to find safe places to stay for a while. They are daily updating their list of State-by-State Campground Closures and Responses to Covid-19. You can access them online or via their app. May I suggest that you consider a monetary gift during their fall fund drive this year, if you can manage it, to help support their important work on all our behalf? If you donate $20, you can get one of their nice long-sleeved T-shirts. I love mine!
  •  ESCAPEES – This venerable RV club has created a fairly rich page on their website containing information about their parks and co-op parks, other campgrounds, event cancellations and postponements, press releases and other resources. There is a great deal of really good information here, including stuff like how to protect yourself, get needed provisions, and check local orders and regulations.
  • NEW YORK TIMES – How All 50 States Are Opening (And Closing Again). A visual and textual guide to what you can expect to experience in each of the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • PASSPORT AMERICA – This discount camping club has posted information about member campground closures here.
  • ROOTLESS LIVING MAGAZINE – This fantastic new mag just for us has provided two Covid-19 pages on their website: One for Extended Stay Campgrounds where you can settle in for a while; and another listing known Camp Closures. I think this is one of the most useful resources I’ve found for staying up to date on this very fluid situation.
  • RVillage – The RVillage community has compiled this crowd-sourced, state-by-state list of OPEN parks, for the benefit of full-time RVers for whom “shelter-in-place” means finding a spot where you can park and call “home base” for a while. They are not advocating that RVers travel at this time, but ARE advocating that RV Parks and campgrounds are “essential services,” especially for full-time RVers. Covers the continental U.S., Mexico and Canada.
  • RV LIFE: What’s Open and Closed Due to COVID-19 – Updated regularly.
  • THE DYRTA fully updated list of the latest remaining closures and re-openings of campgrounds and state parks.
  • THOUSAND TRAILS – For members of Thousand Trails and those who use their parks, they’ve posted their policies on Covid-19 response on their website.
  • Many of these organizations and other RV-centric groups have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where they are posting similar information. One particularly useful one is:
  • Displaced Nomads and Full-Time RVers Relocation ResourceThis public Facebook page is an exceptional resource, where campgrounds can list available sites, and nomads can request sites they’re looking for. I cannot vouch for its completeness or accuracy, but it seems like it’s being thoroughly maintained, monitored, and kept up to date.
  • Workamping During COVID-19Workamper News provides a page dedicated to those seeking workamping jobs during the coronavirus outbreak, including info for healthcare workers living in RVs.

Staying Connected on the Road

As I have recommended in other sections of this website, I strongly encourage all nomads to become familiar with the Mobile Internet Resource Center, provided by the good people at Technomadia.com.

Mobile Internet Resource Center logo

The Mobile Internet Resource Center has taught me nearly everything I know about staying connected to the Internet, so I can work and maintain telephone service while on the road as a digital nomad. They offer much of their information for free, but I opted to become a paid Mobile Internet Aficionado member for about $60/year.

I consider it some of the best money I spend each year, because being a member allows me to learn of breaking news concerning changes to cell carrier plans, new technology and equipment, and other things I need to know right away. It also allows me to participate in twice-monthly live Q&A webinars during which I can ask questions about specific issues.

Currently, they are posting information about how cellular providers are responding to increased need for mobile connectivity during the COVID-19 outbreak. I urge you to bookmark this site and refer back often. Better yet, become a member and get all the breaking news directly to your inbox. You won’t regret this intelligent investment in your lifestyle.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I receive no remuneration from MIA or any of the above-mentioned services. I simply want to share enthusiastically that which has allowed me to become and remain a full-time digital nomad, and the resources I am using myself to try to safely navigate a mobile lifestyle during this very unusual situation. I couldn’t do it without them, and this is my way of saying thanks and supporting their service so it can continue for us all. 

Places To Shelter During The Outbreak

My Very Strong Recommendations 

So far, nearly everything I have believed would happen during this virus outbreak has happened within a week of the time frame I expected. Take that for what it’s worth, but my estimates have been based on working with local, regional and state-level emergency management agencies during several natural disasters. My suggestions here are based on the same:

Get Somewhere And Stay There For The Time Being. 

Some people are still traveling during this early part of the outbreak, but as I type this, states are beginning to close their borders. Soon, I believe it will become quite difficult to safely travel beyond many state boundaries, so I strongly advise finding a safe, comfortable (or at least relatively so) spot and staying put until at least the first wave of the contagion subsides and people stop freaking out.

Great If You Can Get It 

At the time of the outbreak, I was workamping in Colorado. I really wanted to go home to hunker down for the duration of the outbreak, where I know the area and the people. However, I am in two high-risk categories and my home is in between New York City and Philadelphia, two major hotspots of contagion. So I contacted friends living in northern New Mexico, who have graciously allowed me to moochdock with them for the time being. I am very fortunate to have such kind friends, but obviously, not all nomads have this option.

Your Best Bet – Boondocking on BLM Land

If you have large enough fresh water, gray water and black tanks, enough solar panels, and a decent generator, your best bet is to find a spot on the many dispersed camping areas offered on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In normal times,  there is a two-week limit to a dispersed camping stay. But these are anything but normal times, and I believe the BLM will soon make dispensations for people camped there during the outbreak. If that happens, I will post about it here.

As of 7/31/20:

Arizona BLM Status

     Quartzsite RV Camping at Capacity, BLM Says “Look for Alternative”

California BLM Status

Idaho BLM Status

Nevada BLM Status

New Mexico BLM Status

Oregon-Washington BLM Status

Texas DOT & Travel Status

Utah Visitor & Travel Status

     Canyon Country Closures

     Moab Area Closures

For The Rest Of Us

For those whose rigs are not set up for longterm boondocking (camping without hookups for electricity, water or waste disposal), your options are unfortunately dwindling at a rather disturbing rate. State and National Parks and Forests are closing their campgrounds. Private RV parks and campgrounds are beginning to close or to be requisitioned as overflow areas for infectious case quarantine and treatment as hospitals fill up with infected patients.

The first thing you need to do is find someplace you can afford to stay for the next two weeks. By then, the rapid evolution of the virus will have made things look very different and will have affected camping options. But get somewhere now that is safe and comfortable, so you can at least live without fear and anxiety, and will have access to grocery stores and other necessities.

Secondly, you NEED to contact your state and federal government representatives. They’re not purposely neglecting us, most of them just aren’t even aware that we exist! You need to tell them that there are ONE MILLION AMERICANS now living full time in their RVs or repurposed vehicles, according to the RVIA’s 2019 survey. We need to be considered when authorities are determining park and campground closures.

Though some of the RV-centric organizations are beginning to step up, there is no formal lobbying group in Washington or in our state capitols to advocate for our needs and common interests as fulltime nomads. It is up to each of us to make sure we get on legislators’ radar, or we will continue to go un-thought-about during important decision-making processes over the next few weeks and months.

Covid-related news that’s not about finding a place to stay, or work/stay, or staying connected is located here.

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Scattered Updates

Unconfirmed but believed credible – AZ state parks have been reopened. Stores are still on limited hours, with required social distancing: face masks, stay six feet apart, security metering how many people in the store at one time, etc.

Travel Restrictions

New York Times Report – Here’s a comprehensive listing of travel restrictions by state, as of April 25, 2020.

 

 

UPDATED 5/18/20

 

If You Have Any Questions or Submissions for More Info Resources, Please Let Me Know.