Recreation vehicle owners expect to hit the road in big numbers this spring and summer, and plan to adjust to higher fuel prices by enjoying frequent weekend getaways and staying closer to home, according to a new survey.
Despite rising fuel prices, the latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), reveals that 64% of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than they did last year, 24% say they’ll use their RVs the same amount and 7% indicated they’ll use their RV less.
The survey of 424 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent from March 14-27 and has a margin of error of 4.5%.
The top reasons for using their RVs more include enjoying outdoor activity, taking mini-vacations, spending quality time with family and escaping from the stress and pressure of everyday life.
More than half (58%) said that fuel prices will affect their RV travel plans. Respondents indicated they will still travel by RV, but will adjust plans by traveling to destinations closer to home (74%) and driving fewer miles in their RVs (68%).
Other survey results showed:
• Approximately 18% of RV owners are engaging in “seasonal” or “destination” camping.
• 70% of RVers plan to take more 1-4 day mini-vacations this spring/summer.
• 54% of RV owners bring pets along on trips. Most RVers traveling with pets bring dogs (92%) and cats (14%).
RVing is a great way to stay active while on vacation, according to RV owners.
• More than 71% of the respondents said they’re more physically active on an RV trip — 76% said their children are more active.
• 72% of the participants plan to visit a national park this year; 74% say they’ll visit a state park; and two-thirds plan to visit historic site this spring/summer.
• Favorite activities include sightseeing (77%), cooking out (75%), visiting friends and family (58%), hiking (57%), fishing (50%) and visiting festivals or fairs (49%).
More than half of RV owners plan to use their RVs more often this spring/summer than they did last year by enjoying frequent weekend vacations and staying closer to home, according to a new survey by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners reveals that 53% intend to use their RV more this spring/summer despite higher fuel prices, while 38% plan to use theirs the same amount and just 9% say they’ll use their RVs less.
Of the respondents who plan to use their RVs more often, 65% said one of the reasons is to take more mini-vacations.
“RV owners love the RV lifestyle and when gas prices rise, they don’t stop RVing,” says RVIA President Richard Coon. “With more than 16,000 campgrounds throughout the country, RVers adapt by traveling closer to home and staying longer in one place. Whether they travel five or 500 miles, they can still have a great outdoor experience.”
Joe Halat is one RV owner who isn’t letting higher gas prices stop him from enjoying the RV lifestyle. “Gas prices are high, but not high enough to spoil our fun,” says Halat, a 62-year-old native of Rochester, N.Y., who owns a 38-foot motorhome. “Prices may keep my wife and me from traveling far distances, but we’ll continue to RV. It’s the only way to travel.”
Like Halat, RV owners remain passionate about the RV lifestyle despite higher fuel prices, while at the same time they’re concerned about fuel costs. According to the study, 68% said they expect fuel prices to affect their spring/summer travel plans. Of those respondents, 61% said they’ll travel closer to home, 42% will travel fewer miles and 37% will stay longer in one place.
Surprisingly, 32% said they wouldn’t be affected by higher prices. As gas prices increase, RV owners cite the affordability and value of RV travel as a major benefit to owning an RV.
“We may spend a little more on gas, but the amount we save in hotel and food costs more than makes up for it,” says David Fuller, a 57-year-old commercial filmmaker from Gorham, Maine, who’s planning to make an RV trip to Washington, D.C. this summer with his wife in their travel trailer.
Frances Stuart, a 56-year-old engineering consultant, and her husband John, 57, a vice president of technology for an engineering company in Albuquerque, N.M., are also among those not allowing gas prices to impact their travel plans.
“We bought an RV to use it and we are,” says Ms. Stuart. “We have a trip to Monument Valley, Utah, coming up in May. We’ve already spent a weekend at NASCAR in Phoenix and we’re planning to return there for another race in November.”
RV family vacations are, on average, 27 to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations, according to a study by international travel and tourism experts Collier’s PKF Consulting USA.
According to the survey, many families plan to take shorter but more frequent trips in their RVs. Sixty-three percent plan to spend at least five or more weekends in their RVs.
Nineteen percent said they plan to reserve a seasonal site at a campground this summer, and visit it on weekends.
RV owners appreciate the health benefits associated with RVing. According to the study, 77% say they’re more physically active on RV trips than they are at home and on other types of vacations.
As the RV industry celebrates its centennial this year, a new survey shows that interest in RV travel remains strong, with nearly half of RV owners planning to spend more time on the road this spring and summer than a year ago, according to the current issue of RVIA Today Express.
According to the latest Campfire Canvass, a biannual survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 45.4% of RV owners expect to travel more this summer than they did last year; 41.9% say they’ll travel the same amount. More than 8.2 million U.S. households own an RV.
RV travel is as popular today as it was in 1910 when the first mass-produced RVs were built. “For a century, Americans have enjoyed exploring what’s over the next hill and around the bend,” says Richard Coon, RVIA president. “That pioneering spirit is still alive and well today.”
Survey respondent Bob Jaffe, 65, of Palm Beach, Fla., exemplifies that pioneering spirit. He and his wife, Sheila, bought their RV in August 2009 and spent five months traveling throughout the U.S.
“Our No. 1 goal was to visit our daughter in wine country in Northern California,” says Jaffe, who retired from his printing business in 2008. “During our trip, we visited 13 national parks, five national monuments and many historic sites, and we didn’t even get wet.”
The Jaffes, who used to get soaked putting up and taking down their tent in the rain before they bought their first RV, are planning another five-month summer trip that will take them from Florida to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada.
Among the survey respondents, 75% cited the flexibility of RVing as a major benefit of owning an RV.
Dennis Kiegel, 59, of Tampa, Fla., enjoys the freedom and control that RVing offers. “Whenever my wife and I feel like it, we can just get up and go,” says Kiegel, a former Anheuser Busch employee. “What we like best is the freedom to come and go as we please. With our RV, we can travel at our own leisure. We don’t have any set plans for the summer. For us, it’s more interesting to wake up in the morning and make a spur-of-the-moment decision.”
According to the survey, a primary reason so many RVers will be traveling this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Almost 82 percent percent of owners say they save anywhere from 15% to 75% by traveling in their RVs. This is consistent with a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found that family RV trips are, on average, 27% to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations.
“RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs,” says Coon. “RVers get a bigger bang for their buck than they get from other types of vacations.”
State and national parks are among the most popular destinations for RV trips this spring/summer. Seventy-seven percent of the survey respondents said they’ll visit state parks, while 71% will visit national parks.
Rob Long, a 33-year-old architectural designer from Newark, Ohio, frequently visits state parks with his wife and 3-year-old daughter in their RV. “Staying at state parks is my way of giving something back and helping to sustain them,” says Long.
Long, whose parents and two brothers also own RVs, appreciates the family togetherness that RVing creates. “RVing is a great way to work and play together as a family,” he says.
According to the survey, RVers plan to be on the move during major holidays, with 60% planning to travel over Memorial Day weekend and 64% over the July 4th holiday.
RV owners appreciate the recreational and health benefits associated with RV travel:
- 78% say RV travel provides them the opportunity to spend more time enjoying outdoor activities.
- 73% of RV owners say they are more physically active on RV trips compared to other types of vacations.
- 72% say RVs allow them to escape everyday stress and pressure.
- 80% say their children are more physically active on RV vacations than other types.
Barack Obama received the most votes for president of the United States, but he was the runner-up in a recent survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) who were asked, “What living, famous person would you like to take with you on an RV trip?”
Obama finished second in the poll to Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, who starred in the hilarious film “RV.”
“I saw the movie and thought Robin would be the ultimate travel partner,” says James Hennington, an RV owner from Wesson, Miss. “He was extremely funny.”
Other vote-getters included George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet and Rachael Ray.
With all the pressure confronting Obama in these tough economic times, it would be no surprise if he wished he could escape in an RV — like he did after the 2004 Democratic National Convention — and join the millions of RVers planning to hit the road for fun this spring/summer.
In other questions asked in the latest biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the RVIA, 55% of survey respondents intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than last year, and 45% are considering another purchase.
Only 4% say they’ll use their RVs less this year. Three-fourths said they planned to take more mini-vacations so they could escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy nature and other outdoor activities.
A primary reason why so many RVers will be traveling — and even buying in this economy — this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Eighty-six percent say RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-fourths save at least 25% when they travel in an RV — more than a quarter save 35% to 50%. These results echo the findings of a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found family RV trips are 27% to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations.
“RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs,” says Richard Coon, RVIA president. “By having their homes-on-wheels with them, RV owners receive a bigger bang for their buck than other types of vacations offer.”
In what has to be a positive sign for the economy, 68% of RV owners said they believe this is good time to buy an RV, with 94% of those respondents saying great deals are available. Buyers who meet income requirements also will be able to take advantage of the new federal stimulus plan that provides for a deduction of sales and excise taxes on the first $49,500 of a new motorhome purchase.
According to the survey, 45% of RVers are considering another RV purchase. Twenty-four percent are looking to buy in the next year; another 48% within two years.
RVers plan to be on the move during major holidays, with 58% planning to travel over Memorial Day weekend and 60% over July 4.