A new survey of RV owners indicates that they have strong travel plans this fall/winter and expect to save significantly, despite the soft U.S. economy and fluctuating fuel prices.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) biannual Campfire Canvass, 34% of RV owners plan to travel more this fall and winter than last year, 43% plan to travel the same amount and just 11% plan to travel less.
“My wife and I are planning a fall trip in our motorhome to Virginia and New Jersey to visit relatives,” says George Dougherty of Ankeny, Iowa, and a former chief technology officer at Faith Baptist College. “Since 2006, when we bought our first RV, we’ve traveled over 22,000 miles.
“We’re having a great time seeing America and we enjoy the RV lifestyle. We just got back from a two-week trip that took us through six states, including South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas. During the winter months, we’ll head south to get away from the snow in Iowa.”
Like the Doughertys, many families are buying RVs to see America. According to the survey, 71% ranked “seeing America” as the most important reason for buying an RV in the last two years.
Along with seeing America, another primary reason why millions of owners will be traveling and enjoying the RV lifestyle this fall/winter is because they appreciate the value that RV travel delivers. Nearly 90% said that RVing is an affordable way to travel.
Almost 65% of the respondents said that they save at least 25% when traveling in their RV compared to other types of travel, while 27% save 35% to 50%. This reflects a new study by PKF, an international travel and tourism consulting company, which found that RVing is 23% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four.
In addition to saving on rising hotel costs and airfares, RV owners also avoid the expense of eating in restaurants. The study found that 49% of RV owners said that they eat at least two meals a day in their RVs, while 44% said three meals.
Despite these uncertain economic times, 45% of RV owners said that they’re considering another RV purchase within the next two years, with 79% of those respondents citing the availability of “great deals” in today’s RV market. More than 60% will attend RV retail shows this fall and winter.
Owners surveyed will use their RVs in a variety of ways during the fall/winter travel season.
• 69% of the respondents said that they plan to sightsee.
• 64% visit state parks and 55% national parks.
• 46% attend festivals and fairs.
• 39% take part in foliage tours.
The survey also reveals that owners are physically active on their RV trips. For example, 41% said that they enjoy hiking, 38% fishing, 23% biking and 12% canoeing and kayaking.
Results also show that holiday travel remains popular with RV owners. Among the respondents, 42% said they plan to travel in their RVs over the Thanksgiving weekend and 21% over the Christmas/Hanukkah season.