More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to the country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends, according to a recent Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and Cvent.
According to the new survey, 66% of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28% will use their RVs the same amount. Just 4% said they’ll use their RVs less.
“RV ownership is at an all-time high because it provides families with a comfortable and cost-effective way to get away from the day-to-day grind and spend time together,” said RVIA president Richard Coon. “RVs allow families to take whatever kind of vacation they want — and not break the budget.”
Top reasons for increased RV use include taking more mini-vacations (76%), enjoying outdoor activities (72%) and escaping pressure of the daily routine (52%).
While fuel prices continue to fluctuate, just 30% of RV owners (down from 58% two years ago) said fuel prices will affect their RV travel plans. Those who say their plans will be affected still plan to travel with their RVs, but will adjust their plans by traveling to destinations closer to home (71%), driving fewer miles in their RV (51%) and staying longer at one location (52%).
One reason so many RVers will be on the road is the built-in cost savings of RV travel. A 2011 study by travel industry experts PKF Consulting found that a family of four can save 23% to 59% when they travel in their RV, even when factoring in purchase price, maintenance costs, and gas prices. RV owners agree — 86% of survey respondents said RV vacations cost less than other forms of travel even when fuel prices rise.
“Millions of Americans travel in RVs every year because of the unmatched freedom and flexibility they provide when traveling,” said Coon. “RVers can adjust their plans to take a long road trip or a quick weekend getaway. An RV is perfect for what many people want most: more quality time outdoors with loved ones.”
Holiday Travel Plans
The summer holidays are a big time for RV travel, according to the survey. Nearly three-in-five RV owners will be on the road over July 4 (62%), and Labor Day (58%).
Emerging Trends in RV Usage
Many families are taking shorter, more frequent getaways in their RVs to accommodate busy schedules. According to the survey, 76% of RVers plan to take more one-four day mini-vacations this spring/summer.
Approximately 26% of RV owners are engaging in “seasonal” or “destination” camping, according to the survey. Destination campers leave their RV parked at one location for the entire spring/summer (or longer) and travel back and forth to it using a family car.
RV owners appreciate the control RVs offer in today’s travel climate. Unlike air travelers, RVers can bring anything they want on vacation — including pets. According to the survey, 65% of RV owners bring pets along on trips. Most RVers traveling with pets bring dogs (93%) and cats (14%). Three-fourths of survey respondents cited flexibility as a favorite benefit of RV ownership.
RVing is a great way to stay active while on vacation, according to RV owners. More than 75% said they’re more physically active on an RV trip — 82% said their children are more active. RVers cite the ability to enjoy outdoor activities (80%), and escape everyday stress and pressure (71%) as primary benefits of RV travel versus other types of vacations. Other favorite benefits include being on the open road (62%), and bringing pets (60%).
RVers Plan to Visit State and National Parks
America’s state and national park systems are popular destinations for RV trips this spring/summer, according to the survey – 77% will visit a state park, and 74% plan to visit a national park. Nearly two-thirds (65%) plan to visit historic sites this spring/summer.
RVers enjoy an array of activities while traveling in their RVs. Favorites include:
Sightseeing — 79%
Grilling/cooking out – 76%
Hiking – 63%
Visiting family and friends – 58%
Fishing – 55%
Attending festivals and fairs – 50%
Other popular activities include antiquing, biking, festivals or fairs, visiting museums, and attending family reunions and events.
RV Market Continues to Grow
America’s wholesale recreation vehicle (RV) shipments rose 13% in the first quarter of 2014, fueled by strong consumer response to the versatility, affordability and innovative designs of new models, according to market data collected by RVIA. Shipments for 2014 are expected to reach nearly 350,000 units – the highest total since 2007.
According to the survey, 74% of current RV owners believe now is a good time to buy an RV because RVs are the best way to travel comfortably and conveniently (60%), and great deals are now available (52%).
The online survey of 749 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent and has a margin of error of 3.4%.
Consumers can learn more about today’s RVs by visiting www.GoRVing.com .