Nothing like a global shutdown to bring vacation plans to a screeching halt. But when one door closes, another opens. Many have redefined their 2020-compliant vacation plans into include something we could all use a little more of…the Great Outdoors. That’s why RVs and campers have been surging in popularity in recent months…and experts see no end in sight.
RV sales skyrocket
Like most sectors, the RV industry took a big sales hit in April and May as the country headed into lockdown. But as restrictions began to ease, and Americans emerged from their homes eager for some fresh scenery and ready to hit the road and drive far, far away from the place they had been pent up in for the months prior.
Patrick Industries, and Indiana-based manufacturer of RVs, reported that they company saw an 11% increase in shipments compared to the same period of the previous year.
Andy Nemeth, Patrick Industries’ CEO told shareholders “…we experienced a strong resurgence in production rates, particularly in the RV sector,” before also mentioning, “the need for inventory as a result of retail resilience and a notable increase in consumer demand, in particular, with new buyers.”
Considering the commitment and investment that goes into purchasing an RV, that’s a big increase.
With uncertainty ahead, RVs life is looking more and more attractive to many.
Surge in rentals
Sales aren’t the only thing thats surging – RV rentals are skyrocketing too.
According to RVshare, a website that hosts peer-to-peer RV sharing (like AirBnB, but with RVs instead of houses), RV bookings have tripled over the summer compared to last summer. Even already popular rental weekends (like Labor Day) have seen a 50% increase in bookings.
One of the best parts about renting an RV or camper is the impressive range of offerings that can fit everyone’s needs – and budgets. Some rentals start at just $50 a night – and if you have a vehicle that can tow a trailer, you could save not only on the rental, but on gas.
With a range of styles and sizes to choose from, there are options that can suite any need whether it a couple finally making good on that cross-country trip they’ve always said they were going to or a family looking to enjoy some quality time together, away from the noise of home life.
Lap of luxury
Not much of a camper? Prefer ‘the finer things in life’?
That’s alright, because let us tell you…RV life has come a long way in the last decade.
These days, luxury RVs are more reminiscent of celebrity tour buses with all the trimmings. Showers with glass partings, flat screen TVs, high-speed internet, double-door fridges, and marble countertops have all been spotted in some especially premium model rental listings on outdoorsy.com, another peer-to-peer RV rental site.
Unsurprisingly, luxury RVs will run much higher than your garden-variety Winnebago. Some of the listings for luxury RVs on outdoorsy.com go as have as $1,000+ per night. Treat yourself.
We’ll enjoy the great outdoors through tinted windows from the comfort of a premium, leather Laz-Z-Boy…thank you very much.
Current gas prices mean there’s no time like the present
Gas prices have dropped in recent months, which is good news for those interested in RV life, because gas prices are a major factor in the total cost of an RV trip. Some larger model RVs can average as low as four miles per gallon, which can add up pretty quickly on a long road trip.
Currently, the price price of gas per gallon nationwide is hovering around $2.20, compared with $2.60 a gallon a year ago. That’s just shy of a 20% discount on the transportation cost for your 2020 RV road trip vacation. That money can stay in your pocket…or go 20% further than your budget might otherwise allow.
But you should know…
A couple things to keep in mind when planning your next (or first) RV adventure:
- Insurance: Your standard auto policy might not cover you if you have an accident while driving an RV. Be sure to check first. If your policy doesn’t offer coverage, most RV rentals offer (and require) insurance. Services like RVshare and Outdoorsy both have insurance built right into the rental process.
- Popular destinations require tickets: Due to a sharp increase in visitors, some big-name parks like Yosemite and Utah’s Zion National Park have adopted a ticketing system to optimize visitors’ experiences. Wherever you decide to go, check in advance if your destination requires booking in advance. If you don’t you might very well be turned away when you arrive. (Talk about a tense, silent ride home. Nobody wants that).
- Driving an RV requires some getting used to: Especially the larger, longer models. If it’s your first time, it might be worthwhile to drive around the neighborhood or less busy areas near your home to get the hang of it. Remember – driving on the freeway is easy, but depending on what park you go to, roads can get pretty narrow and windy.
Hit the road, Jack
Best of all, in these crazy times, RVs and campers offer a means of stepping back for a minute and remembering what life is really all about. Studies have shown that getting out into nature can do marvelous things for out mental and emotional wellbeing – something most would welcome in light of….well, 2020.
Vacations are important, and 2020 shouldn’t take that away from us, too. Who knows? Maybe a first time renter will become a first-time buyer, sell their house and pursue the nomadic life.
And if that doesn’t work out, there’s always the option of listing it on site like RVshare and Outdoorsy. Win-win.