The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association has predicted that more than 10 million RVs will hit the road this year, breaking all records from years past. It isn’t retirees or nostalgic baby boomers who are making this possible, but largely millennials.
Millennials are perhaps the most mobile generation, exploring cities, restaurants, and cultural landmarks to experience in real life everything they can see on social media. As long as the destinations can be reached by land or bridge, RVs make this itch to travel a possibility. Today’s RVs can cost as little as $10,000, and with relatively low gas prices, this saves hip travelers a good amount of money.
According to reports from the RV rental company Cruise America, using an RV can save the average family more than $2,000 per week on vacation, as it offsets the costs of hotel rooms, eating out, and renting a car. Driving an RV also gives travelers ultimate freedom and comfort while on vacation, as they can eat healthier, sleep in their own beds, go anywhere on the open road, and really bond with friends or family on the trip. Owner and CEO of Harvest Hosts, Joel Holland, believes that millennials recognize these perks and have turned to RVs for those exact reasons.
“Millennials are realizing that happiness doesn’t come from fancy cars and nice watches, but rather from experiences shared with others,” says Holland.
As RV companies realize the demographics of their most popular buyers, they’re starting to gear vehicle designs towards millennial interests. While these more tech-friendly motorhomes come with higher price tags, they include features such as app-connected controls, retractable flatscreens, and solar-powered panels.
Couples who set out on trips in RVs even decide to live in them permanently, as with Kaaron Ryan, 34, and her then-boyfriend Brian Kehoe, 44. They planned to take a three-month cross-country trip with their cat in an RV that they purchased for less than $15,000. Six months later they are still driving, are now engaged, and have started a custom printing business while seeing sites like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
By 2020, millennials are predicted to spend $1.4 trillion on travel each year. Millennials have been bitten by the travel bug, but with limited income and ever-looming student debt, they’re finding creative ways to collect as many experiences as possible and make that travel money go as far as they do.