Whether you’re a seasoned RVer and vanlifer or you’re just starting out, attending an RV/vanlife event is a great way to learn about the lifestyle while making new lifelong friends.
Hitting the open road can sometimes be a very lonely life since people often don’t stay in one place long enough to enjoy a sense of community. RV and vanlife events are a great way to meet new people and fill the social void from time to time. Plus, they’re often centered around educational seminars that will help you make RVing easier and more enjoyable, so you can focus on the fun things!
Open up your calendars. The following are the top 7 RV and vanlife events you’ll want to attend in 2019.
Xscapers Annual Bash 2019
When: January 12-20, 2019
Where: Lake Havasu, Arizona
Xscapers is a subset of the larger Escapees RV Club and is geared toward the “working-age RVer.” Xscapers hosts many events throughout the year, but the biggest is the Xscapers Annual Bash that takes place every year in the Desert Southwest.
The annual bash is about community building while living on the road, with educational segments about RVing, live music, themed events like an 80’s party, a mac & cheese festival, a street fair, and so much more!
For many people, this might be their first time trying to build a community on the road—and it’s a great place to make friends and get all your RVing questions answered.
Rubber Tramp Rendezvous 2019
When: January 9-20, 2019
Where: Quartzsite, Arizona
Boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona is almost like a right of passage for RVers. While it’s snowing and cold in the rest of the country, people flock to the warm sunny weather in Arizona to spend the winter. Quartzsite has an abundance of BLM land, which means it’s a great place for a large gathering.
At the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, you will be able to attend workshops about using solar power when boondocking, how to travel while disabled, how to get insurance while traveling full time, and many more educational talks. There is also a “Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendezvous” gathering that happens before the main rally, for women who want to get together to share stories from the road.
RV Entrepreneur Summit 2019
When: March 21- 24, 2019
Where: Guntersville, Alabama
The RV Entrepreneur Summit is a business conference about how to start and grow a business while living on the road. The summit includes workshops that will be taught by some of the biggest names in the RV community, including “Money Management and How to Save Money While Traveling,” “Creating a Blog and Mastering WordPress Basics,” “How to Grow Your YouTube Channel,” “A Road Map to Full-time RVing,” and many more.
An added bonus to this conference is that if you’re unable to attend in person, they have virtual tickets available, so you can still join in the fun from wherever you are in the world!
Midwest Vanlife Gathering
When: May 17-19, 2019 (or May 16-20, 2019 for those who purchase “extended stay” tickets)
Where: Camp Manitowa – Cedar Point in Makanda, Illinois
Here’s a vanlife event you can feel extra good about attending. The Midwest Vanlife Gathering is a fundraiser event, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Adventure Works of DeKalb County, an Illinois-based nonprofit that works with marginalized youth by utilizing wilderness therapy. A percentage of this year’s ticket sale proceeds will also go toward pancreatic cancer research as well as public land conservation.
A variety of activities—from yoga to stand up paddle boarding and live music to an epic raffle—are in the works for this year’s event.
Last year, the Midwest Vanlife Gathering raised over $6,000 to donate to charity.
Early Bird tickets (sold through March 1) are $42 per vehicle for the weekend. Early Bird “Extended Stay” tickets—for anyone wishing to arrive Thursday or stay until Monday—are sold for an additional $10. After March 1, tickets will go up to $52, and the extended stay rate will go up to $67.
Full-Time Freedom Week
When: November 2019
The Full-Time Freedom Week event is unlike any of the others on this list. For starters, it’s completely virtual, so you don’t need to worry about working around your travel schedule in order to attend. Plus, you can even watch the videos on your own time and don’t have to be available during the hours of the conference.
While this event is less about building a community and making friends in-person, it’s more about learning the ins and outs of RVing. The speakers are all full-time RVers (so they know what they’re talking about!) and the topics include “What to look for when purchasing an RV,” “Helpful RV memberships and clubs,” “Transitioning to full-time RV life,” and much more.
Fulltime Families Kidscapade
When: March 17-22, 2019
Where: Tucson, Arizona
If you’re RVing with kids, meeting up with other families is the best way to keep your kids socialized on the road. Fulltime Families has events scheduled throughout the year, from meetups to hangouts—and even trips to theme parks. There is sure to be an event that catches your eye. In March, in conjunction with the Escapees Escapade event, Fulltime Families is organizing “Kidscapade,” a fun event for children while their parents attend educational sessions.
Fulltime Families members typically park in the “Kids Section” at the Escapade, so the children can all play and have fun when the daily sessions have concluded.
Where: Quebec, Canada
If you’re into the younger vanlife crowd, check out El Campo, which is an awesome meetup in Canada. It’s hosted by Go-Van, which is an online magazine about vanlife culture where people can share stories and tips about their experiences living in a van. They host an annual event where people can gather for an epic weekend of live music, video screenings, Q&A’s with popular vanlife YouTubers, and adventure activities like hiking, paddleboarding, and slacklining. All vehicles under 22 feet are welcome!
Banff Mountain Film Festival
When: October 26-November 3, 2019
Where: Banff, Canada
Adventure junkies unite! Every year since 1976, adventure enthusiasts have gathered at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Banff, Canada. The film festival is an international film competition that attracts submissions of inspiring short films and documentaries about mountain culture, the environment, and sports like kayaking, mountain biking, climbing, skiing, and more. If you can’t make it to the actual film festival, you could still see the top movies on the world tour, which stops in more than 300 cities, in 20 countries, reaching over 200,000 people.
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