Exploring America in a RV: Lifestyle travel for 15 million Americans
An annual survey by the RV Industry Association finds that 88% of RV owners in the United States plan to use their RVs as much or more than they did last year. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are the most popular trip times, with Father’s Day RV outings also popular. This Memorial Day holiday weekend, nearly six million RVs and 15 million people are expected to be on the road.
Nearly 25 million Americans will travel in recreation vehicles this spring and summer, heading to the country’s 18,000-plus campgrounds to enjoy the benefits of an active, outdoor lifestyle with family and friends, according to the latest survey of RV owners by Go RVing and Cvent.
The annual survey finds that 88% of RV owners plan to use their RVs as much or more than they did last year. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are the most
“RVing is more popular than ever, and the market remains hot as younger and more diverse people learn how RVing can fit their lifestyles,” said RV Industry Association president Frank Hugelmeyer. “RVs offer unparalleled flexibility to enjoy many different kinds of vacations and outdoor recreation activities. Whatever the activity, RVs are a comfortable and convenient way to escape stress and spend time with friends and loved ones — without breaking the budget.”
Affordability is a key reason for increased usage with 87% agreeing that RVing is a cost-effective way to travel and 79% saying that RV vacations cost less than other forms of travel even when fuel prices are higher (86% said fuel prices will not affect their spring/summer plans). More than 81% of respondents agree that traveling by RV can save 25% or more over other types of travel.
Other top reasons for increased RV journeys include:
- Flexibility to take more mini-vacations (69%)
- Opportunity to enjoy outdoor activity and nature (61%)
- Chance to spend more quality time with family (53%), and
- Escape stress/pressure (47%)
When they venture out, 68% of RVers bring a pet along. Most are dog people (92%); 14% bring cats.
Favorite RVing Activities
Being active is a major benefit of the RV lifestyle for both adults and children. More than three-quarters of the respondents said they and their children were more physically active during RV trips. Here are some of their favorite things to do:
- Sightsee (79%) – especially natural sites and attractions
- Visit state or national parks (73%)
- Grill/cookout (72%)
- Visit historic sites (66%)
- Hike/walk (63%)
- Visit friends/family (54%)
- Attend festivals/fairs (49%)
- Fish (48%)
- Swim (44%)
While RVers seek an active, free-from-stress experience, they enjoy the flexibility to bring along electronic gadgets, including smartphones (91%), laptops (74%), iPads or tablets (66%), GPS devices (54%), e-readers (27%) and satellite TV systems (26%). They’ll be using these devices to post pictures, videos and share stories and ideas using Facebook (85%) and Pinterest (32%) as their go-to social media sites.
Campgrounds have adapted to the digital age by offering services popular with RVers. Favorite campground amenities include WiFi (86%), pool (65%), cable TV (62%), and laundry services (56%). Of those surveyed, 20% were destination or seasonal campers (meaning they keep their RV parked at one campground for a season or longer and use the RV at this one location specifically). Of those who destination camp: 59% said they use a towable RV, 34% use a motorhome, and 7% use park model RVs.
According to the survey, top reasons for purchasing an RV within the past three years included:
- To see America (88%)
- Best way to travel (82%)
- To keep active (80%)
- Most affordable way to travel (72%), and
- Bargain pricing (64%)
Forty-one percent said they’re considering another RV purchase. Of those potential buyers, 30% are considering a purchase within the next year; and 36% in one to two years. Among those not considering another purchase, 85% say they’re happy with their current RV.
The online survey of 426 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent and has a margin of error of 4.7%.