Barack Obama received the most votes for president of the United States, but he was the runner-up in a recent survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) who were asked, “What living, famous person would you like to take with you on an RV trip?” 

Obama finished second in the poll to Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, who starred in the hilarious film “RV.”

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

“I saw the movie and thought Robin would be the ultimate travel partner,” says James Hennington, an RV owner from Wesson, Miss. “He was extremely funny.”

Other vote-getters included George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet and Rachael Ray. 

With all the pressure confronting Obama in these tough economic times, it would be no surprise if he wished he could escape in an RV — like he did after the 2004 Democratic National Convention — and join the millions of RVers planning to hit the road for fun this spring/summer. 

In other questions asked in the latest biannual Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by the RVIA, 55% of survey respondents intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than last year, and 45% are considering another purchase. 

Only 4% say they’ll use their RVs less this year. Three-fourths said they planned to take more mini-vacations so they could escape stress, spend more quality time with family, and enjoy nature and other outdoor activities.

A primary reason why so many RVers will be traveling — and even buying in this economy — this spring/summer is that they appreciate the value they get compared to flying, driving and staying in hotels. Eighty-six percent say RVing is an affordable way to travel. Three-fourths save at least 25% when they travel in an RV — more than a quarter save 35% to 50%. These results echo the findings of a study by international travel and tourism experts PKF Consulting, which found family RV trips are 27% to 61% less expensive than other types of vacations. 

“RV travel continues to appeal to people looking to save money and cut costs,” says Richard Coon, RVIA president. “By having their homes-on-wheels with them, RV owners receive a bigger bang for their buck than other types of vacations offer.” 

In what has to be a positive sign for the economy, 68% of RV owners said they believe this is good time to buy an RV, with 94% of those respondents saying great deals are available. Buyers who meet income requirements also will be able to take advantage of the new federal stimulus plan that provides for a deduction of sales and excise taxes on the first $49,500 of a new motorhome purchase.

According to the survey, 45% of RVers are considering another RV purchase. Twenty-four percent are looking to buy in the next year; another 48% within two years.

RVers plan to be on the move during major holidays, with 58% planning to travel over Memorial Day weekend and 60% over July 4.