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Trend Toward Shorter, Spur-of-the-Moment-Trips Is Growing

According to the latest "Campfire Canvass" survey by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), three-fourths of RV owners expect to travel more this spring/summer than they did last year. Almost a quarter (23%) say they will travel the same amount as last year, while only two percent plan to travel less. The survey was conducted by Robert Hitlin Research Associates of Reston, VA.

Among RVers planning more travel this spring/summer, over two-thirds (68%) of respondents say they'll take more RV mini-vacations and "spur-of-the-moment" trips. In an age of over-scheduled families and busy lives, 96 percent of RV owners feel they have greater flexibility and control with RVs, making it easier to take shorter, less structured getaways.

"All we have to do is pack up and go, whenever we choose," explains RV owner C. Scott Short of Vancouver, Wash. "If we see something we want to explore, we stay. If we get tired, we stop. If we start one way and decide to go another way, we go," adds RVer Diane Holloway of Leesburg, Fla.

In addition, survey respondents cited desires to enjoy nature (66%), travel anytime and anywhere at their own pace (57%), escape stress (54%), and spend quality time with family (51%) as other top reasons for using their RVs more this spring/summer. Over a third (34%) cited a desire to save money on travel as a reason for RVing more this spring/summer. "RVing costs less than staying in hotels/motels. We can also cook our own food and save on restaurants," says David and Brenda Baker of Alexandria, Ind.

RV owners––traveling in motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers and folding camping trailers––plan to use their RVs an average of 40 days––including nine weekends––this spring/summer, according to the survey. In addition, those surveyed plan to log approximately 2,900 miles and visit an average of five states and nine campgrounds this season.

Camping is the overwhelming favorite activity of RVers, according to 88 percent of respondents under the age of 55, the largest and fastest-growing segment of the market. Sightseeing (81%), swimming (68%), fishing (61%), hiking (56%), biking/ATVs (54%) and festivals/fairs (51%) were most frequently mentioned as activities enjoyed by RVers under age 55. Activities enjoyed by RVers over 54 include sightseeing (87%), campfires (72%) visiting friends (65%), shopping (51%) and antiquing (46%).

Reflecting the family-friendly nature of RVing, 97 percent of respondents feel that RVs enable their family to spend more quality time together. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they will travel with either their children or grandchildren this spring and summer. In addition, 87 percent of pet owners surveyed agree that RVing is the best way to vacation with family pets. "RVing makes it easier to travel with a pet as we don't have to look for dog-friendly motels," says John Collari of Glendora, Calif.

Nine out of 10 RV owners surveyed say that RVing helps their family maintain a healthier lifestyle. Among the top reasons why are the ability to escape stress and rejuvenate (75%), control one's own schedule (70%) and get more exercise (68%), according to respondents.

"RVing makes me feel healthier because we're always involved in outdoor activities rather than vegging out," explains RVer Mary Lou McDaniels of Benton, Ky.

"Families are finding that RVs provide an excellent way to release stress and promote good health," confirms RVIA President David J. Humphreys. "The psychological benefits of escaping the daily grind with family and friends are the perfect complement to the increased level of activity enjoyed by RVers."

RVIA is the national association representing more than 500 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

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