Jeremy Puglisi ’01 and his wife, Stephanie, bought their first RV on a whim after they decided staying in hotels with their young children wasn’t fun. They were hooked instantly.
“We could put the kids to sleep, step outside, have a campfire and reconnect as a couple,” says Jeremy. “Then the next day, we’d do it all over again and have a great time with the kids at the campground. We quickly realized taking family vacations in our RV was something we wanted to do very, very regularly.”
They’ve done just that, and in the process have built a mini media empire around that passion.
Jeremy says they started blogging about their experiences early on because they like writing and thought family and friends would enjoy reading it. But they built an audience beyond that group, and increased followers exponentially when they began podcasting about four years ago.
At the time, most RV-related content was created for and by retirees, says Jeremy. “There was really no content out there for busy, working families who own an RV and use it recreationally.”
Listeners loved it, and the Puglisis soon had major companies in the RV industry sponsoring their shows. Those relationships led to freelance writing opportunities for the Puglisis and, eventually, to Penguin Random House, where publishers asked them to write Idiot’s Guide: RV Vacations.
Today, Jeremy and Stephanie produce three RV-related podcasts, work as spokespeople for the industry’s “Go RVing ” global advertising campaign, and have appeared on nearly 50 local and national TV talk shows.
They have over 50,000 followers on their various social media channels, and continue to write for various publications (pick up the July issue of Trailer Life magazine for their latest cover story).
Their website, rvfta.com, provides a wealth of information, reviews, and other content for RVers of all experience levels.
We asked Jeremy to share some tips for readers thinking about taking their first RV vacation this summer:
Start In A Cabin
Most campgrounds rent them, and if you’ve never been camping before, it’s a good way to see what the camp- ground experience is like, says Jeremy. “They’re very social places, and most people love that, but it’s not for everyone.”
Rent Before Buying
You can get your feet wet without spending a lot of money, says Jeremy. There are numerous peer-to-peer sites to help you find local vehicles for rent, almost like Airbnb for the RV world. (He recommends Outdoorsy.com.) If you do buy, stay within your budget.
“I always tell people: The family in the $500 popup camper is having just as much fun as the family in the million-dollar motorhome,” he says.
Kick The Tires
Better yet, get a gauge. “One of the most common roadside accidents people have is a blowout because they didn’t monitor the tire pressure,” says Jeremy.“A little boring, but super, super important.”
Keep It Private
“We love state parks, and highly recommend camping there, but if it’s your first trip you might want to go to a privately owned chain, like KOA or Jelly Stone campgrounds, because they offer more customer service,” says Jeremy. If you have a technical question, or just need someone to help you back up without hitting anything, you’ll have more luck finding someone to help at a private campground, he says.
Take It To the Next Level
Head to Hershey, Pennsylvania, in September for one of the biggest RV shows in the country. “It’s a carnival-like atmosphere with thousands of RVs,” says Jeremy, who’ll be there with Stephanie to do meet-and-greet sessions. “You can see what this whole RV lifestyle thing is about and see what all the options and price points are.”