Dream Houses—on Wheels! - Since pandemic, RVs taking U.S. by stormJan 24, 2021 01:15PM ● By GINA BIRCH
COVID-19 may have temporarily grounded many travelers, but it didn’t rob Americans of their wanderlust. Recreational vehicle traveling, or RVing, is taking the U.S. by storm. Seeing different parts of the country with those in your “bubble”—in a house on wheels—is a safe alternative for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Buying an RV takes a considerable amount of thought and research. Tim Lowry, marketing director of North Trail RV in Fort Myers, says: “When you’re spending as much as $40,000 to a million dollars, it’s not a spur-of-the-moment process.”
RVs come in hundreds of shapes and sizes, from no frills to elaborate. Some are towed and others let you climb behind the driver’s seat and just go. North Trail carries 100 different models. To narrow the field, Lowry suggests contemplating the following questions:
What are your intended uses? Perhaps you want to visit state and national parks for quick weekend trips, or you desire driving across the country to spend time with grandparents. And who will be traveling? It may be immediate family or, possibly, extended family or friends. Also, do you have pets, small children or need wheelchair accessibility?
What luxury items are important? You might want to take a hot shower in your RV. Or you may want the ability to cook inside the RV, rather than grilling outside. What kind of storage do you require? Sports enthusiasts and hobbyists need room for equipment. When traveling to colder climates, storage is needed for extra bedding. Lastly, where will the RV be stored?
Although North Trail RV’s lot is full, there is still a backup on custom RV orders, which is a lingering fallout from the pandemic. With many factories forced to temporarily close their doors, there are delays in items people might not think of, such as refrigerators for RVs.
The market for used RVs is also hot, but if you think it’s like buying a used car, Lowry says to think again: “It’s a house on wheels—more like a yacht, if you want to compare.” He explains, “You need to consider the condition of the plumbing, electrical, all kinds of stuff.”
Then there is the rental scene. “Renting an RV is a great way to determine if the RV lifestyle is right for you or your family,” Lowry notes. However, not every type of RV is available to rent. In addition, renting can be expensive in the best of times, and is even more so now considering the interest and demand.
RV sharing companies are also popping up. It is a new concept, so be sure to do your homework. Read the fine print and confirm your insurance coverage.
Even though some RVs rival the size of a commercial bus, no special licenses are needed to operate them. Before hitting the road, always make sure maintenance is up to date, from brakes and tires, to water and sewer. “Remember—this is like your house,” Lowry adds. “It’s really amazing how comfortable, luxurious and fun RVs can be.”