Interest in RVs has spiked 162 percent during the pandemic, according to data from LendingTree.
Interest in purchasing RVs far exceeded recreational categories. By comparison, interest in boats rose 104 percent, and interest in cars and lot trucks dropped 26 percent.
June 2020 saw a 303 percent year-over-year increase in the number of people completing purchase query forms for RVs compared to June 2019. The most popular states for RV purchases were Vermont, Delaware and Maryland, which each saw interest in RV purchases spike more than 270 percent.
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The popularity of RV travel is driven by the feeling of safety it provides U.S. travelers.
Harvest Hosts found that 76 percent of respondents to its recent travel survey said they plan to travel more in 2021 than they did in 2020, and nearly 60 percent said that they plan to travel more than they did in 2019 before the pandemic. More than 80 percent are not planning to travel internationally this year, however.
That leaves RVs as one of the most popular options for getting around this spring and summer. According to Harvest Hosts, 99 percent of total respondents said that they felt safe traveling in an RV, and 53 percent of total respondents said they planned to exclusively travel using RVs in 2021.
“After the rough year we had in 2020, people are itching to hit the road. For many, travel is a basic human necessity. What we’re seeing is that you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to scratch this itch,” said Joel Holland, CEO of Harvest Hosts. “The survey results may seem extreme, but it comes down to the fact that many still have reservations about air travel. The data shows that people will continue opting for the safety of road trips, leading to a boom in backyard exploration and growing interest in RVing.”
Remote working is another key that is driving Americans to travel more this year than they did in 2020 and in 2019. RV trips tend to be longer and cover a lot of miles, and vans and motorhomes offer flexibility for travelers.
Of people planning to travel by road, 61 percent plan to travel more than 500 miles, and 34 percent plan to travel moderately far, within 100-500 miles.
Harvest Hosts found that travelers are also spending tourism dollars when staying in destinations. Nearly half of Americans traveling in campers, vans and motorhomes spend on average two or three nights and spend money on food, wine, services and other items in tourism industries that have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Ninety-four percent of people typically spend less than $75 each night when traveling via RV, which is much less than a typical hotel stay but can make a big difference for an independent farm or winery, according to Harvest Hosts.
The most popular states for an RV vacation are California, Florida, Arizona, Texas and Oregon.