Recreational vehicles are hot these days, but for how long?
The truth is the RV business has been hot for almost 10 years. In fact, RV manufacturers are up over 24 percent from last year.
As of March 2021, 11.2 million U.S. households owned RVs, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). That’s up 26 percent since 2011.
What’s even more striking is that 9.6 million additional households say they are considering buying an RV in the next five years, says Monika Geraci, communications director at RVIA.
The reasons? Wanting to spend more time outside, to take advantage of teleworking policies, and to travel safely despite pandemic risks, she said.
“People have just rediscovered the great outdoors, and that really spills over into the RV industry.”
A record 57,971 RVs were produced in October (2021) or 5 percent more than the previous record hit just the previous month in September. The October production figure is a 22 percent jump from RVs that rolled off the line the same month a year ago.
What’s more, the industry estimates that this year will see a 40 percent spike in the number of RVs produced—or 602,200—compared to 2020 and 19 percent more than the last record in 2017, when the industry produced 504,600 RVs.
So, what is driving this prolonged hot trend in RV popularity? It turns out that the reasons people are turning to RVing are as many and as varied as the people themselves. Let’s explore some of the most popular reasons folks of all ages and backgrounds are jumping on the RV trend.
The changing financial climate
There is no question that recent economic concerns have played a huge role in the increased interest in RVs. Americans at every stage of life from retired empty nesters to millennials are looking for ways to downsize their lifestyle and reduce their living expenses. With more and more RVs now coming equipped with full-size appliances and furnishings crafted by the same big-name brands that populate home living rooms around the country, it has become easier and easier to see an RV as a true home on wheels.
Some have turned to RVs as a more economical way to travel the country and explore new places without the high cost of airfare, rental cars, and hotel stays.
Others have gone all-in by trading in their permanent address for a full-time nomadic existence. This option has become increasingly popular with millennials looking for a low-cost alternative to a pricey mortgage and sky-high utility bills. Some RVs offer interior features like fireplaces, theater-style seating, LED televisions, and ceiling fans, just like a traditional home.
An increase in remote work opportunities
Another key factor behind the rising popularity of RV life is the growing shift away from a static office-based work environment and into a more flexible, remote work system. This new style of work means Americans are no longer tethered to a particular location by their employer; they are now able to earn a steady income from anywhere they wish to be. As a result, more and more Americans are ditching the time clock and the crowded cities in favor of a more relaxed and peaceful RV lifestyle.
The last decade of technological advancements has expanded access to reliable, inexpensive network connections in nearly every area of the country. While the work is by no means complete, the groundwork has been established and there is at least some degree of connectivity available in all but the most remote of locations. Let’s have a look at some of the best options.
A mobile hotspot device can come in the form of an independent device provided by your cellular provider or it can be incorporated right into your mobile device, depending on your phone model and service provider. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer inexpensive, reliable devices that are capable of providing a high-speed internet connection for multiple devices almost anywhere.
A public Wi-Fi signal is provided by most RV parks and campgrounds. This is a solid option if you are going to be staying in a community or campground and it will help save your cellular data for more remote locations.
A satellite internet service is by far the priciest of the internet connectivity options but it provides the most reliable and widely available service. Satellite internet service works by mounting an independent satellite receiver unit to the rooftop of your RV which is then programmed to receive satellite signals from the satellite internet provider of your choice. The provider choices have been fairly slim but as the popularity of RV living grows, the pool of providers is expanding, leading to a much higher quality of service overall.
Some RVs now come equipped with the new WiFiRanger Sky4 Wi-Fi router and signal booster as part of the standard equipment package enabling RV owners to enjoy a reliable, fast, and best of all secure internet connection using an available Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, or LTE signal.
Related: Meet the RVs: The Towables
Pandemic related health concerns
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2020, followed by the subsequent quarantines and travel restrictions, has made many Americans more reluctant to hop on a crowded airplane for a cross-country flight. This health-related hesitancy is likely to remain for some time to come. RV travel allows vacationers to control every aspect of their environment at every step of the journey.
There is no need to wonder who was staying in the hotel room before you or how well the surfaces were cleaned and sanitized before your arrival. There is no need to wonder if the rental car steering wheel or door handles were cleaned after the last use or who was riding in the back of the taxicab or shuttle before you. With RV travel, you have the assurance and peace of mind knowing that you and your family are the only ones to use your space.
Social distancing is a cinch with RV travel. With thousands of RV parks, campground sites to choose from, you can easily select the level of social interaction you are comfortable with on any given day.
A growing “YOLO” mindset
If the challenges and the triumphs of the last year have taught us nothing else, they have opened our eyes to the uncertainty of life. This epiphany has fueled the growth of the “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) mindset. RVing offers the financial freedom and the freedom of movement that allows Americans to truly get out there and experience everything that life has to offer right now instead of putting it off until some better time that may never arrive.
Related: RVs Move America
The biggest driver of the recent surge in the popularity of RV ownership is a combination of many of the factors discussed above, all coming together to create a newfound urge to live life to the fullest while we have the chance.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
―Marie Curie (1867-1934), physicist and chemist