What is a recreation vehicle (RV)?
An RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and temporary living quarters for travel, recreation and camping.
What are the types of RVs
There are two main categories of RVs - motor homes (motorized) and towables, which are towed behind the family car, van or pickup. Class A motor homes are generally the largest; Class B motor homes or van campers are the smallest and type C motor homes generally fall in between. Types of towable RVs are folding (pop up) camping trailers, truck campers, conventional travel trailers, and fifth-wheel travel trailers.
What does an RV cost?
There's an RV for every taste and budget. Prices for new RVs are typically $4,000-$13,000 for folding camping trailers; $4,000-$26,000 for truck campers; $8,000-$65,000 for conventional travel trailers; $48,000-$140,000 for Class C motor homes and $58,000-$400,000 for Class A motor homes.
Who travels in an RV?
RV ownership in the Unites States has reached record levels, according to a 2005 University of Michigan study commissioned by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Nearly one in 12 U.S. vehicle-owning households now own an RV. That's nearly 8 million households - a 15% increase during 2001-2005 and a 58% gain during 1980-2005.
Today's typical RV owner is 49 years old, married, with an annual household income of $68,000 - higher than the median for all households, according to the Michigan study. RV owners are likely to own their homes and spend their disposable income on traveling - an average of 4,500 miles and 26 days annually, RVIA surveys show.
The baby boomer generation is a driving force in growth in RV ownership. At the same time, there are also strong ownership gains among both younger and older buyers. High RV ownership rates now extend across a 40-year span from age 35 to 75, the study found.
More RVs are now owned by those aged 35 to 54 than any other group, according to the University of Michigan study. Nearly 9 percent of U.S. households headed by 35-to-54 year olds own an RV, slightly exceeding the 8.6 percent ownership rates of those 55 and over. Those under age 35 posted the largest gains in RV ownership over the past four years.
Approximately 8.2 million RVs are on the nation's roads, according to the Michigan study. RVIA estimates nationwide there are as many as 30 million RV enthusiasts, including RV renters.
Why do people choose and use RVs?
- Flexibility and convenience - RVs offer a convenient, hassle-free way to see America. RV travelers enjoy the freedom and flexibility to go where they want, when they want - without the worry and stress of inflexible schedules, advance reservations, airport lines and luggage restrictions.
- Comfort - With fully-equipped kitchens and baths, rooms that slide out at the touch of a button, central air and heat, plasma TVs, surround-sound stereos and more, today's RVs provide travelers with all the amenities of home while on the road or at the campground.
- Family appeal - Families that vacation by RV say it fosters an increased sense of togetherness and helps improve family communication. RV owners say that strengthening family relationships is important for their pleasure trips.
- Affordability - RV vacations are more affordable than travel by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship, according to vacation cost-comparison studies by PKF Consulting. Even factoring in RV ownership costs, and considering resulting tax benefits, a family of four can spend up to 74 percent less when traveling by RV.
- Lure of the outdoors - RVers can enjoy the mountains, beaches, parks, popular tourist attractions and small towns whenever they want, without giving up the comforts of home. RV travelers can easily haul their ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles or other outdoor vehicles right on board.
- Versatility - In addition to travel, camping and outdoor recreation, RVs are being used year-round for a wide variety of other purposes, like shopping, tailgate parties at sporting events, pursuing special interests like horse, dog and antique shows and other hobbies.
Where do RVers travel?
There are more than 16,000 public and privately owned campgrounds nationwide. These campgrounds appeal to travelers by offering a variety of activities to keep the whole family happy, including swimming pools, hiking and biking trails, game rooms, playgrounds and snack bars. RV travelers seeking a resort atmosphere are especially attracted to the growing number of luxury RV resorts with facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses and health spas.
What does the future hold for the RV market?
Ownership and demographic trends favor substantial RV market growth, according to the University of Michigan. As baby boomers have been entering their prime age range - 55 to 64 - with the highest ownership rates, according to the Michigan study. The number of RV-owning households in the U.S. is projected to rise to nearly 8.5 million by 2010-a gain of 15 percent between 2001-2010, outpacing overall U.S. household growth of 6 percent.
Changes in the frequency and duration of vacations favor the RV industry. Americans are traveling shorter distances and on weekends with less planning, according to recent studies. For RV owners, this is a convenient travel pattern.
Primary RV demand remains very good and the potential for future sales is bright, according to a 2005 University of Michigan study. Among U.S. households that have never owned an RV, more than one in six expressed interest in purchasing an RV in the future. Both parents and empty nesters are strong potential buyers of RVs, and promising future prospects are emerging among younger, ethnically diverse consumers, reveals a Harris Interactive study commissioned by the Go RVing Coalition. For example, Generation Xers, exhibit interests in outdoor activities that are highly compatible with RVing, the study found.
How can I learn more about RVs?
Go online - Check out the RVIA and Go Rving websites for information on RV travel trends, vehicles types, show listings and lists of RV dealers and campgrounds in your area.
Order a free DVD or CD-ROM - Visit GoRVing.com or call 1-888-Go-RVing for a free RV "getting-started" DVD or CD-ROM.
Visit an RV dealer - RV dealers in the state of South Carolina are listed on this site.
Attend an RV show - A variety of RVs of all shapes, sizes and costs are displayed at RV shows. The South Carolina RV Dealers Association holds three shows each year in Greenville and Columbia. Visit the RV Shows section of this website for dates and times.
Obtain an RV buyers' guide - Visit your local library or bookstore.