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RVers Adjusting to Economy

RESTON, Va., Nov. 11 -- RV owners love the RV lifestyle, but just like everyone else, they're concerned about today's sagging economy and looking for ways to save money and cut costs. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association's fall/winter survey, RVers are adjusting to the economy by traveling closer to home and staying longer in one place. By having their "homes on wheels" with them, RV owners say they can stretch their dollars by saving on costly airfares, hotels and restaurant meals.

The latest Campfire Canvass fall/winter survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, reveals that 29 percent plan to travel more this fall and winter than last year; 56 percent plan to travel the same amount as last year; and 15 percent plan to travel less than last year.

Sixty-two percent of survey respondents say they'll travel to destinations closer to home, while 38 percent say they'll stay longer at the same destination.

One of the biggest reasons why RV travel appeals to families is because of the value that RV vacations offer. Eighty percent of the RV owners surveyed say RV vacations cost less than other types of vacations.

"I'm the bargain queen," says Donna Grant, 50, of Woodbridge, Va. "It's economical to go RVing. I love my portable house on wheels. I don't like hotels and I don't like sleeping in strange beds."

The survey shows that 60 percent of RVers plan to take more mini-vacations (1-4 days) this fall/winter compared to last year. Because RVs have full kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, RV owners can get away at a moment's notice. And they don't have to worry about hotel reservations or the hassles of flying such as long security lines and costly baggage fees. With an RV, everything is onboard and ready to go.

According to a new study comparing vacation costs by PKF, an international consulting firm with expertise in travel and tourism, family RV trips are, on average, 27 to 61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations, even with today's higher gas prices and factoring in RV ownership costs.

"This study indicates that RV ownership offers great value," says Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. "In these economic times, RV owner appreciate the significant savings they enjoy on air, hotel and restaurant costs."

Forty-three percent of the survey respondents said they'll use their RVs to attend festivals and fairs this fall/winter; 33 percent will use their homes-on-wheels for foliage tours; and 30 percent for antiquing and flea market trips.

The survey reveals that holiday travel remains popular with RV owners. Among the respondents, 37 percent said they plan to travel in their RVs over the Thanksgiving weekend and 20 percent over the Christmas/Hanukkah season.

Fifteen percent of the respondents described themselves as "snowbirds" who'll take extended RV trips to warmer regions this fall/winter.

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cloke, 71, and his wife, of Turnwater, Wa., plan to beat the cold weather by wintering in his fifth wheel travel trailer in Harlingen, Texas on the Gulf Coast.

"We'll be there from October to April and make other mini-trips throughout the year," says Cloke, who's been RVing since 1962. "RVing gets into your blood. We enjoy seeing what's going on in other parts of the country. It's the type of education that can never be taken back. You always learn something new and meet different people."

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association ( 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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