Road trips in recreational vehicles (RVs) are not just for retired folks anymore. Families looking to explore the U.S. while maintaining social distance and limiting exposure to COVID-19 may find that their perfect summer vacation awaits them in an RV.
“As travelers reach out to travel advisors to change plans from international destinations to those that are in the U.S., agents should consider recommending RV travel,” said Tamara Souder, senior trip planner for RV Adventure – USA, an RV travel agency in Stanton, Calif. “RV-ing offers the opportunity to travel and be in a space with just your family. Who knew this would be an important consideration when traveling?”
While an RV trip might seem like a slam dunk right now, travel advisors should thoroughly qualify clients to ensure they are a good fit for this unique vacation experience.
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Personal Space in the Wide Open
The ability to social distance is currently being used as a selling point for RVs, which are thought to function as personal bubbles for travelers.
Unlike hotel or cruise travel, RV trips provide guaranteed social distancing since there is usually no common space or facilities shared with other families. And many campgrounds provide ample room between designated campsites, which allows groups to keep their distance from one another.
Although road trippers do often gather at the same popular attractions, an RV vacation gives families the freedom to set their itinerary to avoid peak crowds. However, the idea of maintaining space from fellow travelers may seem counterintuitive to families who like to meet new people on vacation.
To RV or Not to RV?
According to Dan Wulfman, founder and president of Tracks & Trails, an RV travel operator, advisors should only recommend this type of travel to the right kind of client.
“A lot of people are thinking, ‘Well, we can’t go to Africa and do our safari, or we can’t go to Italy, so let’s pick up an RV and go somewhere,’” Wulfman said. “That could be viable if you’re somebody who has done this before and you’re prepared for potential chaos — or at least for setbacks — because there are many unknown variables right now.”
According to Wulfman, RV-ing doesn’t jive with every client’s travel style.
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While many families are experiencing more time together than usual right now, an RV vacation allows very little — if any — alone time for parents. Wulfman says that engaged parents who frequently do activities with their kids absolutely love this kind of travel because they are spending ample one-on-one time with their kids outdoors.
A lot of people are thinking, ‘Well, we can’t go to Africa and do our safari, or we can’t go to Italy, so let’s pick up an RV and go somewhere.
On the other hand, clients who prefer vacations with kids’ clubs and organized kids-only activities might not be the best fit.
Know Before You Go
An RV vacation requires more preparation than other kinds of travel under the best of circumstances, but it’s even more critical right now. Therefore, advisors should notify clients to check the most up-to-date rules and restrictions for the areas and destinations they plan to visit before traveling, in order to avoid disappointment and unnecessary complications.
For example, in California — a popular destination for RV road trip vacations — sites are reopening at their own pace and in multiple phases. National parks are also reopening at different times, and certain parks may not reopen this summer at all.
Wulfman recommends that advisors check with the National Parks Service for the most current status of each national park. After all, he says, nobody wants to cruise up to Yellowstone National Park only to see a closed sign on the gates.
Clients should also be aware that individual states, counties and businesses may require face masks, and some states may mandate a quarantine period for out-of-state travelers. And even in destinations that have reopened, certain activities, attractions, restaurants and campgrounds may be closed.
RV Adventure – USA
Tracks & Trails