The record number of travelers predicted for the Thanksgiving holiday will include a strong contingent of RV renters, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.
Some of the largest renters of recreational vehicles say business this holiday season is up 10% to 20% as families are opting to drive RVs to visit relatives or take in attractions.
“Maybe your in-laws are coming and you don’t want them in the house, or maybe there really isn’t room,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV, a nationwide rental firm based in Los Angeles. “It’s a great way to have everyone there for the holiday without having them underfoot.”
The Sun reported that motorhomes, the most popular type of RV rentals, run about $80 to $200 a day, depending on the season, the destination and the size. The price includes some mileage but not the gas. Long-distance trips cost extra and the vehicles get eight and 10 miles per gallon.
The calls from families for reservations for the holidays are still coming in, said Bob Caldarone, assistant vice president of marketing for Cruise America, one of the largest RV dealers in Mesa, Ariz. He expects his business to be up at least 15 percent from last Thanksgiving.
Many more calls, he said, are coming from the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, where business is growing briskly, and it appeared to be gaining in other areas of the country as well.
“It’s becoming more mainstream,” Caldarone said. “Out in the West, RVs have always been very common, and in the East it’s no longer a strange thing. And it’s not just for NASCAR.”
“We have a monthlong snowbird special for people who want to drive to Florida. It’s $45 a day plus mileage and gas,” he said. “Some people even fly to Florida and rent an RV when they get there.”
Laing said he sells off most of his 1,200 rental RVs each year and buys new ones each summer. The new, modern vehicles attract an upper-income crowd, he said. Nearly all are rented over the summer and, now, about half are rented over the holidays.