Is a Rally of RV Families Worth Going To?
New to the road? Or thinking about it? Or have been on the road a while and not met any other traveling families?
Attending a rally might just be what you need.
We attended our first RV family rally last week and lived to tell you about it.
The Road Can Be Lonely
We don’t know for sure how many ditched families are out there. It’s easy to find others online (one Facebook group has >15K members), but out in the real world we are often the only fulltime RV family in the park.
We’ve written about how to find other families. Now we have one more experience to share.
We attended the Fulltime Families 2017 Family Reunion. It took place at the North Florida Fair Grounds in Tallahassee, FL on February 2-5, 2017.
Our cost was $215.85 and included:
- 4 nights of camping
- 3 per-person admission fees for rally events
- 2 barbecue dinners
Last we heard there were 84 families registered for the event.
There was so much going on I can’t even begin to cover the entire experience. Potluck dinners, after-dark teen events, bubble soccer, kids crafts, kids marketplace, ukulele lessons, a church service, vendors, topical presentations, and more.
Here’s the quick summary of our experience:
- The location and time of year worked well.
- The price was well worth it.
- The venue was workable (but without full hookups and no nearby showerhouse).
- The overall rally size was bigger than we’d prefer.
- We reconnected with old friends and made new friends, but were frustrated we couldn’t meet everyone.
- The younger kids were having a ball at the activities and earning rally cash to bid on prizes.
- Miranda enjoyed the teen activities, but also had times where it was difficult to connect with other teens.
- We’d highly recommend attending a rally, but would look for a smaller one.
Being our first rally we learned a few things. Here are our lessons learned:
Be Prepared for Confusion
The pre-rally communication got overwhelming with schedule changes, the number of forms to fill out, and the requests for volunteers. It was hard to keep track of during an already-busy time with client work and travel.
If we did it again I’d wait to register until just a week or two before the event. That way a lot of issues would already be smoothed out.
For this rally the venue was big enough we wouldn’t have risked not getting a spot. If the rally is going to be a smaller one with more limited space this might not be a wise idea.
We arrived early afternoon of the first official day of the rally. Just about everyone else was there already.
There wasn’t an official rally person out to greet us or show us where to go. We had to look on Facebook.
We ended up getting a campsite outside of the main group. We had to purpose to walk into the main area to engage with others as nothing really happened around our RV.
On the upside, it was a quieter place without as many younger kids running around our trailer.
Overall we wish we would have gone at least a day earlier, if not two. We could have been in the main group. And people were easier to connect with when outside the official rally schedule.
We stayed one day longer than the official rally end date. Many others did as well. Some of the best conversations happened after the official schedule was over.
I would have liked to stay one more night to interact with the smaller crowd. At $28/night the camping costs were reasonable. But we’re on a schedule to get to Texas so would have had to make up that night with a shorter stay elsewhere.
Divide and Conquer
The rally schedule was FULL. We skipped out on many of the bigger events and still felt busy. And like we didn’t meet everyone.
When the main hall was full of people and the PA system was in use it could be loud and overwhelming.
We weren’t the only ones opting out. Every time we wandered into the main campground during a big event we’d find smaller groups of people doing the same thing.
Have a Blog
Having a blog made introductions a lot easier. And helped conversations flow.
It can be a little weird to meet people that have read everything we have ever written. But it was rewarding and humbling to have so many comments about our work here on Ditching Suburbia.