RVs are gaining traction. The recreation vehicle market is rebounding after the economy’s plunge drove previously growing sales off a cliff.
Now 8.3 million American families own RVs, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. If you’re thinking about joining this crowd, consider carefully. Buying one is a big investment. RVs can cost more than many people pay for their homes, and gas prices right now mean the cost of life on the open road is on the rise.
RVs were once thought to be the toys of older drivers. But the industry association now says most RVs are owned by drivers from 35 to 54 years old and the largest percentage-gain in ownership is for people 35 years and younger.
Whatever their age, owners say it’s all about freedom. RV-ers go where and when they want, bypass airport security, avoid luggage fees and restrictions, tow the family car, and have room for kids and pets.
For RV enthusiasts Ruth and Bud Spezio of Oakhurst, New Jersey, there’s also the comfort factor: “We sleep in our own bed, on our own sheets, use our own towels, eat on our own dishes,” said Bud Spezio. The thought of staying in hotel rooms appalls them.
Diane and Charlie Wathke of Greenwood, Wisconsin sold their house, their furniture and most of their clothes so that they could live full-time in their 40-foot motor home.
While most consumers won’t go to the extreme of actually living in their RV full-time, those looking to save on vacation travel should go RVing, according to preliminary data from updated vacation cost comparison research by PKF Consulting. Commissioned by RVIA, the study shows that even during a time of economic turmoil and fluctuating fuel prices, RV trips remain the least costly.
PKF, an international travel and tourism consulting company, found that RVing is 28% to 59% less expensive than other types of vacations for a family of four. For an “empty-nester” couple traveling by RV, savings were 15% to 45%.
Even after accounting for factors such as RV ownership costs and fuel prices, the study confirms that RV vacations offer greater savings than those taken using a personal car or airline, and staying in a hotel or rental house or condominium.
PKF analyzed vacation costs for two sets of traveling parties — a family of four, including two adults and two children; and a party of two adults. PKF calculated the costs for these hypothetical travelers taking seven types of vacations to popular destinations, including: Branson, MO; Cape Cod, MA; the Grand Canyon; Corpus Christi, TX; Orlando, FL; Lancaster, PA; Napa, CA; and Traverse City, MI.
The study analyzed popular RV types, including folding camping trailers, lightweight travel trailers, and compact motorhomes. Also studied were costs associated with an RV rental vacation, and a comparison of travel in a Type A motorhome against an upscale/luxury vacation. Vacation durations were 3, 7 and 14 days, and were directly related to the round-trip distances in highway miles between city-pairs.
PKF also analyzed how theoretical increases in fuel prices could affect vacation travel costs, and found that fuel prices would have to more than double for RV vacations to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel.
The report will be finalized in the coming weeks, and will be published by RVIA this fall.
So, is an RV right for you? Come visit us at Safford RV and take a look at the many different options available. You’re sure to find one that fits your family…. then it’s time to hit the open road and you’ll see how easy it is to become an RV enthusiast!
Pretty soon you’ll be hearing, “RV there yet?”