The connection between adventure travel and RVing is not new for many outdoor enthusiasts. Thanks to the pandemic and recent media focus, outdoor activities as a whole have been rejuvenated in the eyes of most Americans. People looking for adrenaline-pumping adventure parks or peace and quiet in the great outdoors have flocked to RVs and motorhomes for decades. But what about the rest of the country? The average American family probably didn’t consider an RV or camper for their travel needs…but they are now. As for other supportive outdoor industries since the boost in RV ownership and living? They’re thriving too!
Adventure Travel and The Recreation Industry Boom
Only a short time ago, when people thought about RVing, most had a mental picture of their retired grandparents traveling the country in a big motorhome. But that’s not the only RVing demographic anymore. This is partially due to adventure travel and outdoor industries boost from the pandemic. Since younger age groups are now spending more time outdoors, it is only natural to see a surge in other recreational outdoor industries too. Sales numbers in things like outdoor retail and equipment, boats, dirt bikes and UTVs also skyrocketed since the pandemic began. More time outside means more toys and supplies to stay occupied!
RVs help people spend extended time outdoors without sacrificing the comforts and personalizations of home. Thanks to RVing, the adventure travel industry continues to boom due to the increase in popularity caused by the pandemic. The transition to a work from home lifestyle has also been a contributing factor. As a result, the RV, powersport, trailer, and marine industries are all reaping the benefits of increased sales. And the best news of all, it doesn’t look like adventure travel and visits to the great outdoors are going to stop any time soon.
RVs and Younger Generations
Millennials are among the fastest growing group showing an interest in RVing. According to a survey by popular RV rental service RVShare, millennials are the generation most likely to rent an RV in 2021. It states, “73% of millennials said they are likely to rent an RV in the future.” As more millennials become established members of the workforce and are able to afford RVs, the industry continues to attract new campers.
Also in RVShare’s survey the company states, “68% of millennials said COVID-19 led them to find RVing more appealing than before the pandemic.” The outdoor vacation and RV industries are expected to continue seeing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Young, new RV enthusiasts will likely have a long-term impact on both industries.
Rise in Adventure Travel and RVing Through COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create the connection between recreational vehicles and adventure travel or the great outdoors, it certainly brought it into the mainstream light. After spending months cooped up in apartments and homes in front of TV screens, people were desperate to get out. It seems for some, the outdoors called to them more so than ever before!
Now, mid-way through 2021, although things are continuing to open up, RVing looks like it’s still the preferred method of travel for adventurers of all ages. Thanks to media coverage of RV travel, many new RV owners have found a long-term favorite way to travel. Once again pulling from RVShare’s study, 57% of those surveyed consider RV travel more appealing than before the pandemic. In late April 2020, KOA sponsored a survey of 4,500 North American households. Ryan Miller, co-founder of Airstream rental service AutoCamp, said, “the study found that 43% of leisure travelers said spending time outdoors is now more important as a result of the pandemic.”
Millennials and young families have not only found a new vacation tactic with RVs, they’ve found more affordable homes and workspaces. More families are choosing RVs to live in full time and work on the road, thanks to the rise of remote work. More people than ever all over North America now have the choice to go RVing and adventure travel while maintaining jobs and families. While the pandemic did cause havoc in many areas of day to day life, it also allowed for families to make positive lifestyle changes.
Connecting Adventure Travel and the Recreation Industry
Adventure travel, ecotourism and outdoor vacations have an inherent connection with the RV industry. As outdoor activities become more popular, reasonably, so does camping. RVs provide a way for people to connect with nature day and night while maintaining the comforts of cool air conditioning and soft beds. Basically, no more roughing it! RVs and campers are also popular with travelers that like to disconnect and go “off-grid.” The rise in popularity of off-road RVs proves it! Additionally, RVs are a great way to privately and affordably enjoy everything from large theme parks to remote outdoor tourism destinations.
In addition to the vast spikes in RV and camper sales, many other outdoor and recreation vehicles also saw soaring sales. Boats, dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, and even lawn equipment have been in high demand since the beginning of the pandemic. And the great things for dealers and outdoor outfitters is now that consumers have the bug for spending more time outdoors, it’s likely going to continue!
RV Parks at Global Vacation Destinations
From Disney’s Fort Wilderness in Florida to Six Flags’ Travel Village RV Resort in California, camping at national tourism destinations is a long-standing activity in the US. Camping at theme parks and adventure travel destinations allows tourists to bring their “home” along with them. Campers can step back from the frenzy of the park and relax in a way that feels much more low-key and homier than a hotel.
Flexible Outdoor Vacations
RVs provide more flexible vacation opportunities to tourists. They allow people to customize their travel plans without worry, because their home-on-the-road comes with them. That flexibility, combined with sanitation concerns in hotel rooms, led to an increase in RV sales and rentals. Peer-to-peer RV rental service RVShare said April 2020 generated the highest recorded booking numbers in its history.
Outdoors, Ecotourism, and RV Camping
Outdoor lovers have long touted the benefits of traveling by RV, but the popularity of camping has grown in the past year. Millions of Americans are looking forward to getting away from all the digital screens they’ve been stuck in front of for most of 2020. National, state and local parks emerged as an already established, but perfect solution for screen-locked families. This has paved the way for growth for marine, trailer and powersport dealers, along with all other supporting outdoor outfitters and their suppliers. With the growth in popularity, all sides of the outdoor market have seen the benefits of indoor activities closing down, even temporarily! Families and friends can travel together, enjoy outdoor adventures and try new hobbies together.
Whether you’re traveling to a national park, a local campground, or your permanent or semi-permanent RV Park– RVs are a great way to get into the great outdoors!