Diversity, Inclusion and RVing

A Q&A with Britta and Will Brown

A couple sits in front of their Keystone Outback RV by a campfire at night

We’ll never forget the first time we learned about RVing. We were walking around an outdoor recreation show when we decided to check out one of the RVs that was being showcased. Stepping inside, we were completely blown away—we had no idea RVs could be so spacious or so glamorous. Fast forward a few years, after moving to California, we wanted a way to explore all of the natural beauty of our new home state. We thought back to that memorable moment at the show and ultimately decided that getting our own RV would be the perfect way to travel the state.

When we first started RVing, we didn’t see many other families or couples that looked like us. But that didn’t stop us from diving into the RV lifestyle headfirst. As we began to travel and explore more, we naturally began to share our adventures and the things we learned along the way. And the more we shared, the more we began to receive questions from other Black families. They wanted to know how we got into RVing, if we felt comfortable, and if the RV community was welcoming. Oftentimes we received notes of gratitude and appreciation—a simple thanks for being a source of inspiration for other Black families.

Ultimately, we want people to know that this lifestyle is truly for everyone and can end up being one of the best decisions you ever make. So with that, we’ve listed some of the most common questions we receive and our personal responses for each.

A couple relaxes outside their RV in camping chairs

1. Overall, what is it like to RV and travel as a Black couple?

Our experience RVing has been a lot of fun and very positive. Truthfully, we were skeptical at first because we didn’t know anyone else who owned a rig and we didn’t see very many Black families RVing. We had connected with one or two other couples through social media, but that was it. However, all of our concerns and worries were put to rest when we took our very first RV trip in 2017. Upon arriving at the RV park, our campsite neighbors immediately came over to say hello and ended up inviting us over for dinner. And while we are sometimes the only Black couple at the campground (something we hope will change), we have continued to meet other Black families on the road and form some incredible friendships.

A mom and her daughter ride bikes in a campsite

2. How did you convince your family that you would be safe while RVing and camping?

When we bought our first RV, our families couldn’t believe it. Similarly to how we initially felt, our parents were skeptical—they didn’t realize the incredible opportunities for traveling, camping and site-seeing that the RV lifestyle can provide. But all it took was one RV trip, and they quickly changed their minds. We’ve had both sides of the family come out to campgrounds and RV parks with us, and they always have so much fun. It also has shown them just how friendly and welcoming everyone is, and the strong sense of community this lifestyle can offer. Our ability to travel the country, see so many places and meet so many people still continues to impress both sides of the family.

A sticker map on the back on an RV with different states colored in.

3. Are you hesitant to RV and travel to certain parts of the country?

We have heard some unpleasant stories from friends about traveling to certain parts of the country. And while these stories are unfortunate, we try not to let them impact our travel plans. We don’t actively avoid any area or region, but adopt the mindset that we should see and experience things for ourselves. Much like we were hesitant to get an RV in the first place but now love it, we don’t want to limit our travel opportunities because of any preconceived notions. Like any other traveler, if we’re planning to go somewhere new, we try to do as much research as possible and ask in various online groups to see what other experiences have been. If the overall consensus appears to be that the place is safe and fun, then we’ll visit.

A travel trailer RV parked at a campsite

4. What is a question you commonly get asked while on the road and how do you respond?

When out on the road, there are two questions that we often get asked: What do you do for a living, and is that your rig? And while these questions may seem harmless, we’ve noticed that we get asked them a lot. Other Black families have also shared with us that they receive the same, or similar, questions when they travel. The truth is, these questions seem to be getting at another question, which is: How can we afford an RV? Finding the right way to answer these questions can be tricky, and often makes us feel uncomfortable or guarded. So, our advice to other RVers is to be mindful of when and how you ask questions about someone’s personal RV experiences and their rig.

A rooftop view of multiple RVs parked at a NASCAR Race

5. What trip or destination has shocked you the most, where you thought people wouldn’t be welcoming but actually were?

People will frequently ask us if there has been a place that was particularly surprising to visit and our answer is always this: Parking our RV at the infield of the Michigan International Speedway for a NASCAR race. Truthfully, we were reluctant to attend a NASCAR race—even though Will is a huge fan—because the culture didn’t seem to include people who look like us. But again, we found ourselves faced with trying something new and different, and decided to take a trip to Michigan to watch a race. The weekend turned out to be non-stop fun and adventure. Everyone we met was so welcoming and friendly. In fact, we enjoyed the experience so much that we’ve actually made it a yearly tradition.

A family sets a picnic table outside of their RV.

6. How can both campgrounds and other RVers create a welcoming environment for all?

Overall, our RVing experience has been very welcoming and inclusive. We encourage all RVers and campers to continue to say hello to their neighbors and get to know them—invite them over for a drink or a campfire hangout. Speaking specifically for campgrounds, we feel there are two improvements that can help create a more inclusive environment. The first improvement is inside the camp stores. Many campgrounds only sell items that appeal to one type of guest. Try to make sure that everything from the food to the hair products to the decor feels representative for all guests and visitors. The second improvement is marketing. Campgrounds and RV parks should review their websites, social media accounts, commercials, and influencer partners to make sure they include people from all backgrounds. Part of the reason we receive so many questions is because Black families often don’t see themselves being represented in camping, RVing, and outdoor marketing efforts. We want everyone to feel like they have a place in the RV community, and we can all continue to do better.

Britta and Will Brown RV in a Keystone Outback Travel Trailer.