Relaxation Vehicles - Highway Tales
A Bright Future
It’s been said that when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel you should still be careful: It might be an oncoming train. When the economy tanked a few years back, the RV industry, like most every other industry, went into a tailspin. As the economy slowly recovered the RV industry became one of the first segments to show improvement. Initially, dealers were skeptical and wary that this was just the proverbial oncoming train, with more to come, but eventually settled in to the fact that this was a sustainable recovery.
RV sales have grown consistently every year. One of the main reasons for this growth is that the public is waking up to the benefits an RV holds. With the ever increasing security hassles and delays at airports, the RV truly does offer a more relaxed mode of travel. Having the security of your own bed is a plus compared to some of the surprises motel stays can serve up.
Staying at a campground saves considerable money over motel stays, as well. RVers can gain additional savings by being able to carry food with you and prepare it at your convenience, rather than having to find a decent restaurant. Pundits have stated that the lower fuel-economy ratings of RVs result in higher fuel costs. However, surveys have shown RV travel is a less expensive way to travel. A family of four can save up to 59 percent on vacation costs over other forms of travel, depending on their choice of RV.
The RV offers something that appeals to most of us: freedom. Americans don’t care for mass transit. We’ve always had a love affair with the automobile and being able to drive where we want, when we want. An RV is the perfect vehicle to accomplish that. It can overnight in a parking lot, truck stop, a fancy RV resort, or anything in between. All it takes is a place to park. If you don’t like the neighbors or location, pack up and move.
The snowbirds segment of RV owners enjoy the freedom to escape lousy weather. During the cold winter months, you’ll see these RV owners basking in the sun in Florida, Arizona, or Texas. When those areas start to warm up to much, its wheels up and they begin their migration to cooler northern locations to escape the upcoming oppressive heat. These semi-annual migrations can be seen on our highways as a number of RVs head north in the spring and south at the end of fall.
RVs have come a long way since the early campers, and roughing it is no longer part of the experience. This turns the RV into a desirable retreat, rather than a tin can with a bed. Today’s RVs have multiple large-screen LCD or LED televisions, DVD or Blu-ray players, Surround Sound systems, and satellite dishes, many of which exceed what is found in the average sticks-and-bricks homes. Residential refrigerators are becoming the standard in many larger fifth wheels and motorhomes. You’ll also see more electric fireplaces adding a nice ambience to an interior typically equipped with quite comfortable furniture.
The chassis on motorized RVs have also made leaps and bounds, with increasing reliability, fuel economy, and performance. Everything from the tires on up has been improved over the years, making the RV a joy to drive instead of an unwieldy large box. Cargo carrying and towing capacity have also improved. In the beginning, it took a large Caddy or Lincoln to pull larger trailers. With the ever-increasing popularity of pickup trucks, it’s now possible to pull much larger towables and fifth wheels than ever before. For those with smaller vehicles, the industry has been responding with lighter towables that can be pulled behind most any vehicle. Both ends of the spectrum are covered.
The information age has also made a positive impact on RV travel. The proliferation of smart phone and tablet PCs has created a market for software apps that can find the nearest campground, restaurant, or tourist attraction. Of course, GPS systems designed for large vehicles, such as RVs, will safely guide you to your destination. Websites like RVcampReviews.com display real-world unbiased reviews of campgrounds by fellow RV owners. The Internet has opened up all of the things previously held secret. Today’s RV owner is better informed and able to make a good decision based on reams of information.
I’ve always felt RV should stand for Relaxation Vehicle. The RV lifestyle is a laid-back way to travel at your own pace. Surveys have shown RV owners are in better health for more years than those who do not RV. The relaxed atmosphere, plus the joy of the outdoors is hard to beat. RVers are some of the best people around. The people you meet at the campground or RV park are very friendly and generally more than willing to help if you have a problem. RV travel is an awesome experience that an ever-increasing number of Americans are joining. For the RV industry, it appears the light at the end of the tunnel is a shining star.