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Study: RVing Cuts Vacation Costs by Up to 62 Percent

| Updated Nov 6, 2014

I knew RVing made a lot of sense for us as we travel about North America. It gives us freedom, mobility and we get to bring most of the comforts of home. But now I have another big reason for this traveling lifestyle.

RV vacations save money.

A lot of money.

For the most recent Roadtreking RV Podcast Episode, I was in contact with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and I got talking with staffer Kevin Broom about the huge resurgence of popularity in RV travel and he directed me to a study that I wish I had found five years ago when I first started trying to talk Jennifer into buying an RV.

The study shows that RV vacations cost substantially less than other forms of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership. For a four-person travel party, the study found savings of 27-62 percent; a two-person travel party saved 11-48 percent.

The research was conducted by PKF Consulting USA, and com­missioned by RVIA. It updates previous vacation cost comparison studies done by PKF.

The PKF study provides a vacation cost analysis using two sets of hypothetical travel parties: a four-person travel party of two adults and two children, and a two-person travel party of two adults.

reason to rvPKF analyzed major costs these hypothetical travelers would incur taking nine different types of vacations to nine popular vacation destinations. For each destination, researchers analyzed vacations last three, seven, and 14 days.

The study compared different methods of travel, including a folding camping trailer, a lightweight travel trailer, a compact motorhome, a type C motorhome, and a type A motorhome. The type A motorhome was used for comparison vs. first-class travel options such as flying first class, renting a premium car, staying in upscale hotels/resorts, and eating meals in restaurants.

RV travel emerged as having a clear economic advantage over other forms of travel, regardless of the RV type. Below is what a four-person travel party could expect to save:

• Folding camping trailer – 47-62 percent

• Lightweight travel trailer – 34-53 percent

• Type B motorhome – 27-48 percent

• Type C motorhome – 28-48 percent

• Type A motorhome – 38 percent

A two-person travel party also saved, according to the analysis:

• Folding camping trailer – 38-48 percent

• Lightweight travel trailer – 23-36 percent

• Tyoe B motorhome – 19-32 percent

• Type C motorhome – 15-28 percent

• Type A motorhome – 14 percent

As part of its analysis, PKF considered how fluctuating fuel prices might affect vacation costs. Their findings showed that fuel prices would have to reach more than $12 per gallon for a four-person travel party before RVing would begin to lose its economic advantage over other forms of travel.

For a two-person travel party, fuel would have to reach $6 per gallon.

See how smart we are?

Mike Wendland

Published on 2014-11-06

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “Study: RVing Cuts Vacation Costs by Up to 62 Percent”

January 19, 2015at12:54 pm, Robo99 said:

I think this study’s conclusions are a bit exaggerated, at least for some scenarios. As a couple we have completed 3 cross-country trips (PA to CA and back) in our new Class B, two in fall and 1 in spring. We used to travel in our Subaru Outback with tent and camp on some of the days during our 2-week treks, but mostly stay in motels. Now we stay in the van-RV every night, mostly without hookup on public lands, mostly cooking dinner in the RV. The trip costs are almost exactly the same as with the Subaru, which averaged 28 miles per gallon, versus 18 in the the van-RV. So we exchanged motel costs for gas costs, but enjoy our evenings much more.

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