Travel restrictions may be loosening, but many folks’ concerns about safety and wellness in a world still fighting the novel coronavirus haven’t let up. In their search to satisfy their wanderlust without braving busy places like airports and hotels, more and more people are turning to recreational vehicles.
“Rolling around the country in a motor home is no longer just for older folks,” says Craig Kirby, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. “We’ve seen massive increases in RV sales and rentals across the country. Generations X through Z are the fastest-growing segments of RVers.”
At RV Retailer, one of the largest dealership groups in the country, CEO and President Jon Ferrando says he’s seen the strongest sales uptick in two motor home styles favored by first-time buyers: Class C motorhomes (the ones that look like U-Hauls) and Class B motorhomes (conversion vans). Just check out the hashtags #vanlife, #rvlife, and #airstreamlife for proof of the surge.
There’s good reason for the revved up RV trend. “More people are looking for destinations that are off the grid or remote,” says Bob Wheeler, CEO of Airstream. Whether you’re in a trailer, motor coach, or camper, you can see the world while sleeping in your own bed, cooking in your own kitchen, and sharing a bathroom with only your nearest and dearest. “With the occasional stop at a gas station and a grocery store, you really can vacation in a safe, socially distanced way,” says Wheeler.
RVs aren’t just great for vacations in the new world order. Day to day, they’re allowing people to take advantage of the shift in work-life balance spurred by COVID. “We’re seeing a lot of traction in the idea of Work From Anywhere,” says Wheeler. “Your lunch break means an hour out on the mountain bike trail or a walk through the woods.” That extra time out and about is great for kids, too. It’s one thing to learn about the Gettysburg Address in history class, but visiting the battlefield with your kids and turning it into a living, teachable moment is something extraordinary.
It may sound pricey to buy a roving home, but after the initial investment, RV road trips eliminate the cost of hotels, expensive meals out, and even some recreation fees. Who needs to hit the crowded water park when you can pull right up to the lake on your home on wheels? And in this unpredictable world, where travel restrictions and plans can change at any moment, you can’t argue with a motor home’s flexibility. "There aren’t cancellation fees with an RV!” says Wheeler.
This article originally appeared in our Harvest 2020 issue. Get the magazine here.