“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space.”

It could be the theme song of every RVer, though it’s not likely what Steppenwolf had in mind when they recorded Born to be Wild in 1968.

Recreational vehicles continue to grow in popularity. For the most part, seniors remain the driving force behind the market, although young families are showing increasing interest in having an RV for family vacations.

The pull of the road and the freedom that comes with it is what attracts most recreational vehicle owners—and despite the cost of fuel, it’s a relatively cheap way to go.

And when you look at the cost of RV ownership over time, it’s still one of the most reasonable vacation options there is.

It’s freedom. It’s comfort. It’s nature.

Once you’ve paid for your rig, the costs are generally minimal.

RVs have been around for decades, but the technology is changing. Trailers today are lighter and have more “slide-outs”.

A Diesel Pusher motorhome can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but there are cheaper alternatives such as the Class B motorhome in the sub-$100,000 market. They’re smaller inside than most motorhomes, but much, much easier to drive even in very tight, in-city traffic. And that isn’t the case with some larger motorhomes.

Camping up-close to nature in Arches National Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVing is more affordable now than it has been in the past. Interest rates are at an historic low for those who require financing.

According to a new survey by Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than half of current RV owners plan to use their RVs more often this spring and summer than they did last year by enjoying frequent weekend vacations and staying closer to home. The latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners reveals that 53 percent intend to use their RV more this camping season despite higher fuel prices, while 38 percent plan to use theirs the same amount and just 9 percent say they’ll use their RVs less.

Of the respondents who plan to use their RVs more often, 65 percent said one of the reasons is to take more mini-vacations.

“RV owners love the RV lifestyle and when gas prices rise, they don’t stop RVing,” says RVIA President Richard Coon. “With more than 16,000 campgrounds throughout the country, RVers adapt by traveling closer to home and staying longer in one place. Whether they travel five or 500 miles, they can still have a great outdoor experience.”

According to Go RVing Canada, a coalition of dealers, manufacturers, and campgrounds, there are more than one million recreational vehicles on the road in Canada with 14 percent of Canadian households owning an RV.

Joe Halat is one RV owner who isn’t letting higher fuel prices stop him from enjoying the RV lifestyle.

“Gas prices are high, but not high enough to spoil our fun,” Halat said, a 62-year-old native of Rochester, N.Y., who owns a 38-foot motorhome. “Prices may keep my wife and me from traveling far distances, but we’ll continue to RV. It’s the only way to travel.”

Camping in a fifth-wheel trailer at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Like Halat, RV owners remain passionate about the RV lifestyle despite higher fuel prices, while at the same time they’re concerned about fuel costs.

According to the RVIA study, 68 percent said they expect fuel prices to affect their travel plans. Of those respondents, 61 percent said they’ll travel closer to home, 42 percent will travel fewer miles and 37 percent will stay longer in one place.

Surprisingly, 32 percent said they wouldn’t be affected by higher prices. As gas prices increase, RV owners cite the affordability and value of RV travel as a major benefit to owning an RV.

Despite the economy, people still want to vacation, and RVing is a cheap and flexible way to do that, Go RVing Canada spokeswoman Alana Fontaine said.

Parking an RV “is a lot cheaper than having a cottage you have to maintain all year,” she said.

Worth Pondering…
But do not ask me where I am heading,
As I travel in this limitless world
Where every step I take is my home.
—Eihei Dogen


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1 comment

  1. Patti Faustini

    Too funny, Rex! Are you SURE Steppenwolf didn’t have RVers in mind when he recorded, “Born to be Wild?” Cracked me up! I love that song. Thanks for the terrific summary of RVing in general. Great writing.

    Happy tales to you and yours, Patti