Winter Travelers Turn to RVs for COVID-Safe Vacations
For “snowbirds,” retirees making the annual trek to warmer climates, COVID has thrown a monkey wrench into plans and habits. People in high-risk groups are reluctant to brave crowded airports and restaurants or stay in hotels with iffy cleanliness standards. Rather than hunker down to endure months of ice and snow, some snowbirds are opting for travel by RV.
An RV road trip offers winter travelers safety and comfort. Travelers not only avoid the risk of travel in crowds, they can stay safe in their home away from home on wheels. They can enjoy home cooked meals and overnight at “home” no matter where they stop.
Travel by RV offers winter travelers and snowbirds comfort and convenience along with virus-safe transportation. Packing for an RV trip is also much easier. No need to cram everything into a carry on. Some models include room for bikes and sports equipment, too. You can travel at your own pace, eliminating a stressful dash to the airport.
Once they arrive at their over-wintering destination, snowbird RVers are not staying put. Many are taking to the road, getting more use out of their RVs to explore the sights and attractions around their winter homes.
And not all RV trips are by snowbirds heading to warm climates. COVID restrictions have opened younger adventure travelers to the joys of RVing even in colder months. Newer RVs that are well-insulated are suited to winter vacations to ski areas, to visit family, and to head to attractions in states with less stringent COVID restrictions. The sales of adventure RVs, many with four-wheel drive options, are booming.
RV parks in cold destinations make winter RV travelers welcome and comfortable. Look for facilities with full-hookups so you can run a space heater. Other nice-to-haves include hot tubs, indoor laundry, hot showers, game rooms and transportation to local attractions and amenities in towns. Check online for up-to-date information about campgrounds that are open all year.
A KOA survey published in Car & Driver reported that 42% of respondents plan to travel by RV in the fall and winter. The number of people planning to buy an RV in the fall was equal to the number seeking to buy in May. The KOA magazine offers critical tips for winterizing an RV.
RV parks are enjoying a strong season, as well, with bookings on the increase. Travelers need to plan ahead, especially for popular routes and destinations. It is no longer possible to let serendipity decide when and where you will spend the night. Spots fill up quickly, so calling ahead to make a reservation is highly recommended.
It is no wonder that the RV industry is reporting exceptionally high demand for both new and used vehicles. Popular models have sold out. Waiting lists are long. Manufacturers and raw materials suppliers struggle to catch up after pandemic shutdowns.
With gas prices low and the safety and comfort benefits of an RV being valued now more than ever, the demand for new, used, and rental RVs is likely to stay high.