RVIA: RV Vacation Still Cost-Effective
Despite record-breaking fuel prices, typical RV trips remain the least expensive type of vacation, according to a new study comparing vacation costs.
PKF Consulting, an international consulting firm with expertise in travel and tourism, found that "typical RV family vacations are on average 27% to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations studied."
Even factoring in RV ownership and fuel costs, the study reveals that RV family vacations tend to be significantly less expensive than other types of vacations.
"This study reaffirms what RVers have long known, that RV vacations deliver greater economic value compared to other types of vacations," said Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). "RV vacations continue to be the most affordable way for a family to travel because of the tremendous savings on air, hotel and restaurant costs. And these savings offset the cost of fuel."
PKF analyzed major costs that would be incurred by a family of four taking eight different types of vacations for three, seven, 10 or 14 days to such popular travel destinations as the Grand Canyon, Cape Cod and Napa, Calif.
"On average, RV vacations were more economical than the other types analyzed in all but one case," said Kannan Sankaran, PKF's lead researcher for the study. "Even as fuel prices increase, our findings show that almost all RV vacations are still significantly less expensive than non-RV ones."
Fuel prices would have to more than double for typical motorhome vacations to become more expensive than other forms of travel, according to PKF Consulting. The study also shows that fuel costs would have to more than triple for trips in lightweight travel trailers or folding camping trailers to be more expensive than the least expensive non-RV vacation. Almost 80% of the RV market consists of towable RVs, including lightweight units which can be towed by car, van or pickup.
For example, the study showed that:
Among the RV vacations analyzed by PKF, even those taken in an ultra-luxury Class A diesel motorhome were less expensive than flying and staying in a hotel. Only a family taking a vacation by personal car with hotel or renting a condo and cooking for themselves would cost less than a family taking a trip in a Class A motorhome. "Owners say the added space, comfort and convenience while traveling justify the investment in a Class A," noted Coon.
In addition to major expenditures required from the start to finish of each vacation, PKF factored in an estimated cost of ownership of the RVs analyzed: a folding camping trailer, conventional travel trailer and Class C and Class A motorhomes. Research included documenting average ownership periods, residual values, annual days of use, insurance and applicable interest deductions.
"RV vacations are a great way for families to spend time together and bond," said Coon. "Whether it's in a luxury motorhome or a basic folding camping trailer, RV vacations offer value that lasts a lifetime."
The PKF study considered only quantifiable economic factors, not the comparative quality of each vacation. As a result, the convenience, flexibility and quality family time cited as major benefits of traveling in an RV could not be addressed