COVID has brought significant changes to the world as we know it and it has clearly affected the travel industry. Much to our surprise, this has led to an increase in travel trailer sales. Bloomberg has noted the rise in sales attributed to COVID and calls them “COVID Campers”. Usually, the sale of travel trailers and other similar recreational vehicles would mark the end and the beginning of recessions, but COVID has changed the pattern. The typical pattern is that sales fall as one begins and rise right before we come out of it, but currently, trailer sales are increasing as we enter the worst economic squeeze since 1929. One insight as to why COVID is different than normal recessions for this industry is how according to a Kampgrounds of American Inc Survey, people now consider camping the safest form of vacation in North America. Another survey by MMGY’s says that 68% of people feel safe traveling in a personal vehicle compared to 18% saying the same for domestic flights and 11% for international. Since many travel plans have been canceled due to the presence of COVID, many people who still want to travel have looked toward RVs for safe ways to get out of the house while being socially distant.
Though wanting to travel and not stay cooped inside is a common reason for the uptick in trailers, some people use them to further isolate themselves from the public so they run less of a risk of catching COVID. This is an especially good option for those that are extra worried because their RVs or trailers can easily be used as home offices or for those who are still meant to work “at home”. People are able to keep their family close, while maintaining a safe distance, especially from those friends and family that are older or present a higher risk of catching and suffering from the virus.
The RV industry is also seeing significant growth in RV rentals as well. This can come from the need for people to travel home from flights they took pre-COVID or other reasons for one-way, long-distance travel. Some people are moving their children into colleges that are across the country by RV or even people returning home from a period of working remotely. Another reason that trailers are on the rise is that the government may be using them to help support essential workers, especially those in the medical and similar fields. In California, 1300 RVs were authorized, by the government, to be purchased for COVID protection use. This is used as a safety precaution so that they don’t have the possibility of giving the virus to their family members or roommates and other house members.
What It Means for You
Since travel trailing and RVing are some of the safest options at the moment to allow people to travel or be off the grid, that means that spaces at popular campsites and campsites, in general, will be more than full. In California alone, the state and national parks saw a 77% increase in camping reservations. KOA bookings across the country had their reservations being filled more than the cancellations that occurred. If you are currently an RV or trailer owner, this means you have to prepare for popular sites to be full for the possibility of a full calendar year. If you want to take an RV for a spin, this means that you may be running out of time! Some companies have had to stop manufacturing or even shut down their rentals depending on your states’ laws and reactions to COVID. You also just may run out of opportunities to rent because of the high number of rentals that can end in rentals selling out! This means that planning is even more vital around COVID times, so it is best to prepare in every way possible to make your plans bulletproof.
What to Do to Prepare
The best way to prepare is to make sure that you make your booking for your campsites ahead of time. Never is it a good idea to just drive up to a campsite and hope that they have space for you. Though that works for some, people would always be running the risk of not making it to an actual park and may have to drive further to find one that is available. This can be dangerous because it could mean driving tired, which is never safe and can have disastrous consequences.
Go check out the blog post Planning for Camping Ahead of Time for more information on the best practices of planning and preparing for a camping trip in the US during COVID.