How to live in a city and own an RV

An RV offers easier, more affordable access to so many of the things that city dwellers crave: open space, quiet, disconnection from the day-to-day, fresh air, sunshine, a waterside or mountain view. Not only that, but an RV offers unparalleled flexibility, and time and money savings compared to other forms of travel.

If you count yourself a city dweller—yes, some suburbanites fit in this category—there are some unique things to consider when it comes to RV ownership. Whether you travel near or far, no matter the size of your crew or where you live, anyone can enjoy the wonderful RV lifestyle with a little planning and foresight.

Where to keep your RV

First and foremost, you’ll want to look into the local parking regulations. Some municipalities may allow temporary parking on the street, some may not; some may allow “open storage” or “off-street parking”, some may not. If you can’t keep an RV on or near your property, which is most common in and around city limits, there’s no need to stress.

No matter your neighborhood rules, there are all kinds of storage options in and around urban centers, maybe your dealer’s lot, boat storage facilities or private residences, just to name a few. Looking into your storage options first makes it’s easier to find the RV for you, to get the most out of the lifestyle.

RVs are trending smaller

In the towable sector, there are more small options than ever before. Having a garage isn’t all that uncommon in an urban area, and more and more units are being designed to fit comfortably in them. Popular micro travel trailers are designed with garage storage in mind. Our own Jay Feather Micro, for example, includes a floorplan that’s only about 13 feet long and fits nicely in the average garage.

On the motorized side, van-style, Class B RVs are more popular than ever. Our 2021 Swift adds to the options that have come to the market over the last few years. The Class B RV’s compact size is one thing, but their maneuverability and gas mileage make them ideal for cities as well.

Don’t forget about park model RVs

What’s a park model, you ask? These long trailers are designed and built to stay at a campsite for extended periods which means less-frequent towing. For city dwellers, it adds up to being able to experience the RV lifestyle with less time in storage and back-and-forth transport.

Our take on this concept, the Jay Flight Bungalow, includes unique residential features like larger windows, a detachable hitch (for more space at camp), a central vacuum system, patio-style sliding doors and an atrium-style front wall.

Get to know the nearby parks

Having a good understanding of what’s near the city—often a lot—you’ll be able to plan where you’ll go, how often and in what type of RV. You can find campgrounds just a few miles outside of major cities like Washington D.C., San Diego and New York City, just to name a few.

How far is the closest budget-friendly state park? Will kids want a park with pools and playgrounds? Are there dry camping options even closer? Is there one that is convenient relative to storage or as a staging spot for longer adventures in a certain direction? You may find there are plenty of options within a few hours and you don’t need as many long trips as you thought.

Research overnight options

Whether you’re an out-of-towner passing through, coming or going from home base, having an overnight option can be really convenient. Leaving your RV in town the night before or after, on the way in or out, is a nice option to have for those who typically store their unit a little further away from their residence. You can think of it as a kind of staging area and it can really give you a hand if you’re meeting others or want to beat rush hour.

You may be surprised what’s available. For instance, Chicago’s downtown convention center, McCormick Place, offers options in its lots to park your unit for the night, and a park just outside New York City is just a 15-minute train ride from Manhattan with similar offerings. Other options you may find just outside city centers are casinos, truck stops or grocery stores.

Understand unit measurements

With cities come smaller spaces to navigate. This makes it more important than ever to understand key measurements like height, length and width—before and after you buy. Account for any accessories like A/C units that extend from the body of the RV.

Did you know almost every type of RV has some tow capacity? Find this measurement out too. When storage at home is limited, the convenience of being able to add a trailer, or rent or pick up some gear along the way can make it easier to find and transport gear than dealing with it in the city. Depending on the unit, you may even be able to tow your everyday vehicle behind so you can be more mobile at camp.

Find your city-friendly Jayco RV here!

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