‘Staycationing’ Becomes U.S. Trend
"It's heaven," says Candy Conover.
Conover's heaven is where the New Haven River and Otter Creek meet north of Burlington, Vt. She lives in nearby Milton, Vt., but the longtime camper will summer at the Rivers Bend Campground, according to WCAX-TV, Burlington.
"We love this area of Vermont," says Conover.
She's part of a trend some call "staycationing" – staying close to home to vacation. Conover has hauled her camper to Tennessee and Texas, but high gas prices have put the brakes on those long trips.
"It's just too much!" she says.
Conover says for Memorial Day the campground was jam-packed with weekend guests. But some like her didn't want to burn the gas to pull their campers back and forth so they're parking for the whole season. The site is booked right up with folks who still want to enjoy this American tradition, but don't want to drive too far to do it.
"It's more local. Plattsburgh… New York… Within a 50-mile radius, I'd say. Essex Junction… Williston… St. Albans. We're not seeing much out of state anymore," explains Tom Crilley of Rivers Bend Campground.
Dealers of RVs and travel trailers say their biggest competition used to be Disney World. But now with air fare so high, more people are sticking closer to home. Pete's RV Center in South Burlington has had two consecutive record months of sales in March and April.
"Most people have a camper payment of around $200 a month. And figure that out for a whole year and campsites at $20 a night, it's a pretty inexpensive way to go out and have fun with your family," says Todd McGinnis of Pete's RV.
High gas prices are also driving new patterns in the campground. Experienced campers like Candy Conover are making meticulous lists when they have to stock up on food and materials. No more quick trips just to pick up charcoal or soda.
"I've only made two trips and the truck's been loaded. I'm done for a week and a half," says Conover.
She's as fed up with $4 gas as anyone, but hopes her "staycation" will actually help her save money. While many of us watch the price at the pump climb, Candy Conover is happy to just watch the rivers flow by.
"I'm looking forward to a fantastic summer," she beams.