RVers On The Road: Who, What & Where?

An RV is a vehicle that combines transportation and living quarters for travel, recreation, and camping purposes.

Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Texas Lakeside RV Resort, Port Lavaca, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In this post, we take a look at some RV fun facts, top destinations, and budgets of the estimated 9 million RVs currently on the road.

Fast Facts About RVers

Estimated 9 million households own an RVs

The average RVer is 48 years old

And own their home

39 per cent have children under 18 living at home

Spend an average of 3 weeks traveling annually

Travel an average of 4,500 miles on their RV annually

Medium income: $62,000

Fastest growing segment: 35-54 years old

Intent to buy another RV: 70 percent

Whiskey Flats RV Park, Hawthorne, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The whole concept of RVing is to have fun and enjoy your leisure time. Camping at Whiskey Flats RV Park, Hawthorne, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Own their own RV: Average 8.4 years

On their RV over 10 years: 30 percent

Camping clubs had their start with the Tin Can Tourists of the 1920s and 30s who camped on roadsides, using gas stoves to heat food in tin cans and bathed in cold water

Good Sam Club had its start 49 years ago in 1966

Good Sam Club is the world’s largest RV organization with over one million members

RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Elkhart, Indiana

Fast Facts About the RV Industry

Produced 1.1 million RVs in the past 4 years

More than 12,000 RV-related businesses in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of more than $37.5 billion

Employs more than a quarter million Americans

Midtown RV, Newmar and Airstream dealer in Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Midtown RV, Newmar and Airstream dealer in Penticton, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Over 60 percent of all RVs are manufactured in Elkhart County, Indiana

Where Are RVers Going?

Most Popular RV Travel Destinations

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Yosemite National Park, California

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina

Great Smokey Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

Disney World and Orlando theme parks, Florida

Fall Foliage Tour

Utah Grand Circle Tour

Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Scamp travel trailer at Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An RV For Every Budget

RV vacation for a family of four is 27-62 percent less expensive than vacations that include hotel, airfare, and restaurant costs.

There is an RV for everyone’s lifestyle and budget

Folding camping trailer

Truck camper

Travel trailer

Fifth wheel trailer

Class A gas motorhome

Class A diesel pusher motorhome

Class B motorhome or camper van

Class C motorhome

Cherohala Skyway
Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons especially along the Cherohala Skyway Scenic Byway, North Carolina. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Toy hauler or sports utility RV

Let’s Go RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Arguably the best slogan ever written to describe the RV lifestyle comes to mind: Wherever you go, you’re always at home.

We have much to be thankful for, including our great RV lifestyle…

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RV Camping in Russia

When Yury Yelashkin first encountered a camper van on holiday in Germany, it seemed like a somewhat alien concept.

Yuri Yelashkin’s mobile home at the camper-van lot in Sokolniki park. (Source: Roland Oliphant/Moscow Times)

“You know when you see a yacht or something, and there is a mental barrier saying ‘That’s not for me’ — you just don’t associate yourself with it,” he said.

“Then when I tried it — it was eye opening.”

Since then, he has taken his family on camper-van — or recreational-vehicle — trips all over Europe and the United States, reports The Moscow Times.

Smitten with vacationing on the road, three years ago he decided to bring his newfound passion to Russia, founding one of the country’s first specialist caravan- and recreational-vehicle dealerships.

Since then he has sold “about 150 vehicles,” and says he is seeing sales grow each year.

Yelashkin said he sells more budget models, starting from 2.3 million rubles ($73,800), than anything else, but offers luxury vehicles with prices of up to 11 million rubles.

Whether you call them mobile homes, camper vans, or recreational vehicles, the holidays on wheels that are ubiquitous in Europe and North America are still rare in Russia, according to The Moscow Times.

Andrei Artyukhov, president of the country’s small Caravan League, says his nascent organization has no more than 1,000 members across the entire country.

“It’s still quite a young sector compared to Europe or North America, but in the past two or three years we’ve been seeing more and more interest,” he said.

The market profile is quite distinct. “If in Europe and North America typical customers are pensioners, here it is the new middle class — people in their 30s or 40s, usually looking for something they can do with the family,” Yelashkin said.

But it is not just the middle classes.

He said his first customer was a high-ranking government official who needed a mobile office, though he asked The Moscow Times not to name him. He claimed a string of others in government have adopted the mobile-home concept too as a work tool.

“We have all sorts in our club — from middle-class families to hunters and fishermen,” Artyukhov said.

But one thing holding back the sector is the lack of the extensive networks of purpose-built campsites that provide parking places, water and waste disposal facilities that support the pastime in Europe and North America.

RV Camping at the Elizar Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia (Source: RV Russia)

Seeking to lead by example, Yelashkin, who has taken his own camper as far as Germany, France, Norway, and Italy, could be found last weekend living on a small lot that his company has established in Sokolniki Park.

He says another is due to be opened in Kolomna, 100 kilometers southeast of Moscow, and that the Night Wolves, Russia’s largest motorcycle club, is thinking of opening one to the west of Moscow.

Artyukhov, who was involved in the opening of a new 30-space camp site in Suzdal last year, believes such infrastructure will grow to meet demand.

“There is great interest in this kind of vacationing, not just from Russians — we’ve had huge interest from European caravanning clubs who want to come here,” he said.

While acknowledging that taking a holiday on Russia’s terrible roads may not appeal to some, he said it was no deterrent to the adventurous.

Once you on the open roads outside the main cities, things can get a little rough. Winter snow, ice, and freezing make for a rough surface often with potholes and frost heaves, according to RV Russia.

That is why heavy built vehicles like Mercedes are popular in Russia. The constant banging and road vibration is hard on vehicles.

Just take it a little slower and your RV will be fine. You won’t make any speed records on Russian roads unless you want to leave your vehicle at the junkyard.

“There’s appeal to the extreme of traveling through the whole country. We may not have the same infrastructure as in Europe. But we have many more people who go camping — and they’re going to be a big market for these things.”

Worth Pondering…
What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?
—Jack Kerouac

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RV Show Withdraws from Kansas Due to State Law

A state law that prohibits out-of-state dealers from selling recreational vehicles in Kansas means a national RV show will bypass the state, taking with it millions of dollars in potential revenue.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) recently notified Kansas State Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein that the national motorhome group will not bring its event to the state fairgrounds in Hutchinson until the law is changed, The Associated Press reported.

“You and the entire staff at the Kansas State Fair have been wonderful to work with and you have exerted great efforts to bring our event to Hutchinson,” FMCA’s Events Manager Chris Lusk wrote.

“However, the current laws and business environment in the state of Kansas have made it prohibitive for us to return to the Kansas State Fair at this time.”

Stoeklein says he hopes this law is amended to make it easier for future shows to be held in Kansas. He says the last time Kansas hosted the convention, more than four thousand RV’s came to the Fairgrounds.

“What we’ve hoped for is that we can find a compromise that would appease the dealers in the state but then also satisfy organizations like FMCA and we just haven’t hit on that yet.”

When the event was held in Hutchinson in 2002, 4,716 motorcoaches camped at the fairgrounds, bringing an estimated $24.4 million economic boost to Reno County and another $7.2 million to the state, according to an earlier report in The Hutchinson News.

Stoecklein said FMCA’s 2012 convention will take place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis and that the 2013 convention—the association’s 50th anniversary celebration that the fair had hoped to land—will be in Gillette, Wyoming.

“We had a feeling this would be the direction they went,” Stoecklein said. “They indicated…they were concerned with the dealer restrictions, which has been a concern of theirs for a long time.”

FMCA official Jerry Yeatts wrote to the fair board in 2010 saying his association would like to come back to the fairgrounds for an April 2013 rally.

State lawmakers resisted the fair board’s efforts to get the law changed. Kansas is not unusual, Yeatts said, noting his organization considers only a few states friendly to motorhome sales.

A regional FMCA rally last fall in Hutchinson that drew more than 600 didn’t attract dealers or manufacturers because of the law, he said.

Bill Hawley, who owns Hawley Brothers Hawleywood RV Ranch in Dodge City, the oldest Winnebago dealer in the nation, said smaller dealers couldn’t afford to provide a large inventory. Manufacturers bring in dozens of units and the dealer has to buy what is left, Hawley said.

“It is not really a rally,” Hawley said. “It really is a big commercial sale.”

Reno County Fair Board Member Brad Rayl was disappointed with the decision but said he could see both sides of the argument.

“It was a good revenue item for us and the state fair,” he said. “It was a lot of outside income, gas, lodging, all the services…it was a big economic impact.”

If the law changes, Yeatts said FMCA will reconsider Kansas.

Details

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained, motorized recreation vehicles known as motorhomes. The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has approximately 85,000 active member families.

FMCA offers a number of benefits for motorhome owners, including a subscription to its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching; trip routing; mail forwarding; and group rates on an emergency roadside assistance program.

2012-2014 FMCA Conferences

87th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase

Dates: August 27-30, 2012

Location: Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana

88th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase

Dates: June 19-22, 2013

Location: CAM-PLEX, Gillette, Wyoming

89th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase

Dates: March 17-20, 2014

Location: Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry, Georgia

FMCA National Headquarters

Address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)

Website: fmca.com

Worth Pondering…

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

—Tim Cahill

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Carefree Travel Service Launches Exclusive Brochure

The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Carefree Travel Service announced Friday (December 16) the launch of an exclusive Worldwide Motorhome Touring Holidays Brochure for 2012/13.

The inspiring brochure is the first of its kind and offers a range of worldwide motorhome tours which will excite even the most adventurous camper, according to a news release.

Carefree offers tours to a range of popular holiday destinations including: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa, Argentina, Southern Africa plus a new tour to America which travels through seven national parks.

For those that wish to travel in a group, Carefree provides escorted tours—ranging from 20 to 39 days in length—led by experienced Tour Escorts, allowing campers to experience the best of each destination and make friends for life along the way.

Additionally, Carefree also offers individual tours and bespoke go-as-you-please packages for those campers who prefer to travel alone or with friends.

Richard Grimsdale, the Club’s Travel Services Director, said: “Travelling by motorhome is a unique way to see a country and our Club members seem to agree—our first Canada tour is already fully booked and the second is filling up quickly.

“Our Carefree Travel Specialists have exceptional knowledge—many of them have experienced our tours themselves—and are the perfect point of contact if you want to talk to someone who has cuddled a koala in Australia, driven a motorhome through a herd of elephants in the Kruger National Park, or left their heart in San Francisco.

“Whether you decide to travel alone or on one of our escorted tours, we’re dedicated to helping you feel confident when travelling abroad to really allow you to experience, what our fellow travelers describe as, unique trips of a lifetime.”

Carefree customizes every holiday to meet members’ needs from booking ferries, campsites, and insurance to a fully inclusive holiday at the best possible price.

Details

The Camping and Caravanning Club

The Camping and Caravanning Club is 110-years-old and is the largest and oldest Club in the world for all forms of camping. It has 109 award-winning sites throughout the UK and, through a partnership with the Forestry Commission, now runs and manages a further 20 Camping in the Forest Touring Sites.

Whether you’re a seasoned camper, caravanner, or motor caravanner, or new to taking your accommodation with you, joining the Club will help you to get more from your caravanning and camping holidays.

Address: Greenfields House, Westwood Way, Coventry, UK  CV4 8JH

Phone: 0845 601 0905 / 024 7647 5340

Website: campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk

Worldwide Motorhome Touring Brochure 2012/13

View Carefree’s Worldwide Motorhome Touring Brochure 2012/13 online or alternatively call to order a free copy.

Worth Pondering…

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

—Mark Twain

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