Car Culture

RV rentals increase 650% as coronavirus changes how Americans vacation

As we look to avoid shared transportation due to COVID-19, going it alone in an RV looks mighty appealing.

A different way to vacation this year.
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Summer vacation is, undoubtedly, going to look at lot different for many Americans this year, but perhaps what no one saw coming was the rise of the RV.

As so many try to keep their distance and avoid crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, peer-to-peer RV rental company RVshare said last week bookings had increased 650%. The spread of COVID-19 has made air travel and public transportation mighty unpopular options, while personal vehicles feel like more of a safe haven. Other recent studies have shown travelers feel more comfortable in a personal vehicle where they can control the scenario, unlike shared transportation.

CNBC spoke to experts such as Mark Wong, an executive for Small Luxury Hotels of the World, who say this summer will be the summer of road trips for families who do still book vacations, again citing the security associated with a personal vehicle rather than public transportation. 

In an effort to keep things more contained, those booking RVs aren't looking to hit the road and park their vehicles in crowded areas. RVshare said its study found 93% of respondents want to avoid crowds, and 65% want to be surrounded by nature. We could see a far greater number of trips to national parks or lakes, though experts warned to still make sure any remote vacation includes access to medical care nearby, should something happen.

Perhaps playing to Americans' stir-crazy feelings, they're planning to take longer trips, too. Almost half of all those surveyed planned to get away for a week or more than 10 days. But, if you're thinking about taking the plunge on an RV and socially distanced vacation, just know you're not alone. Quickly, isolated areas could become the next popular destination.

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