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RV Travel Vacation Expenses Still Affordable Compared to Other Vacations

By Guest Author Paul Bender, Owner of American Adventure Insurance

Over the last several years the RV industry watched intently as prices of crude oil rise and fall. But one fact remains; RV Travel is still the most economical way to take a vacation. A recent study confirmed what I had suspected long ago.

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) recently commissioned a study for the purposes of evaluating RV travel vacations vs. other popular types of vacations. RVIA chose PKF Consulting, an internationally recognized consulting firm with expertise in travel and tourism. So, what did they find? They found that typical RV family vacations are approximately 26 to 74 percent less expensive than those taken by personal car, commercial airline or cruise ship.

The analysis included all basic expenses for trips to several destinations. Included in the study were trips to the Grand Canyon; Orlando, Fla.; Cape Cod; Napa, Calif.; and Alaska. PKF went as far as selecting three different types of RVs. The types chosen were those typically used by families for vacation purposes are; folding camping trailer, conventional RV travel trailer and Type C motorhome.

"In all cases, RV trips were more economical than other vacations analyzed, regardless of trip duration, distance or region of the country," says Kannan Sankaran, PKF's lead researcher for the study. "Even when fuel prices rise, our data shows that each RV vacation would still be significantly less expensive. While fuel costs are a component of the overall vacation cost, fluctuations in fuel prices aren't significant enough to affect a family's decision of whether or not to take RV trips over other types of vacations." (www.RVIA.org)

An interesting fact gleaned from the study shows that fuel prices would need to triple from 2006 rates in order to make RVing more expensive for a family of four than other forms of travel. In fact, if you used the family car and stayed in hotels you're likely to pay up to 36% more than the same trip in a motorhome.

" . . . a family of four traveling from Washington, D.C. to Dennis Port, Mass. for 10 days with their folding camping trailer in tow, staying in campgrounds for the local average of $25 per night, would save 54 percent, or $1,696, over the same trip taken by car, staying in hotels averaging $120 per night and eating in restaurants. Taking the same vacation by motorhome would save $974, or 34 percent, over going by car." (www.RVIA.org)

On a trip from Atlanta to Orlando for a week, a family of four would save $1,658, or 53 percent, by traveling in their motorhome and staying in campgrounds averaging $27 per night, rather than flying, renting a car, staying in hotels averaging $125 per night and eating in restaurants.

A week-long family vacation towing a conventional travel trailer from Salt Lake City, Utah to the Grand Canyon compared to the cost of taking the same trip by airline, renting a car and staying in a rental property would be $2,820 or 70 percent less expensive.

And shorter trips were also found to be more economical by RV. According to the report, a three-day vacation from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Lancaster, Pa. would be $271 less if you towed a conventional travel trailer, rather than going by car, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. The savings would be even greater... $1,049 or 62.2 percent... for families taking the same trip by motorhome rather than flying.

When people ask what I do for a living, there will be the inevitable mention of a childhood trip taken in an RV, or the mention of someone they know who had recently rented one. The comments are generally positive, and everyone seems to enjoy the RV experience. My point? It's difficult to measure the pleasure factor. Not only are RV vacations the most economical form of family vacation, but factor in a few items devoid of monetary value such as convenience, flexibility, and additional time spent with family, and you have what I believe to be the most cost-effective vacation in the world.


Paul Bender
American Adventure Insurance
1-805-409-3042

Note from Steven & Fran: We offer web space for guest author articles because we believe there is always room for another viewpoint and because we surely don't know everything there is to know about RVs and the RVing lifestyle. In that spirit we invite you to submit your own articles. We're happy to give you credit and provide a link to your website.

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