RV travel has one of the most popular recreational activities in the world, not just the US. With many RV travelers now choosing to do this activity on as full-time a basis as possible, there is much to take into account when it comes to this travel subset.
RV travel is only increasing in popularity as time goes by and in the wake of the pandemic. This surge in RV travel fans explains all the numbers now associated with it that we can take an in-depth look at.
RV Travel Stats Highlights
RV travel involves travel or living and travel done in a recreational vehicle such as motorhomes or camper vans. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most crucial RV travel stats:
- 31% of current RV owners are first-time buyers.
- On average, RV owners travel with their vehicles at least 20 days per year.
- The RV travel sector supports around 680,000 jobs in the US alone.
- 33% of RV owners travel with their families.
- Most RV travel camping trips are under 50 miles.
- 64% of RV owners are employed full-time.
- Over 40 million people use RVs to go on camping trips.
RV Travel General Stats
The increasing popularity of RV travel is making it influential in the travel sector. Let’s take a look at how the general facts and figures about RV travel and how they are impacting the travel industry overall.
Most Campers Using RV Travel Are in the West and South Us
72% of campers using RV travel to get to their favorite locations are in the Western US or in the Southern US. 71% of campers are located in Canada, while 70% are in the Northeast region of the US, and 69% are in the Midwest.
This shows the prevalence of RV travel use in North America, where it’s used frequently to get campers to their spots.
RV Travel Frequently Leads To State or National Park Campgrounds
Across North America, RV travel is frequently used by camping lovers to get to the most popular campgrounds in the country. 35% of these trips lead to state or national park campgrounds, while 24% lead to private or public land that is not in use as an official campground.
22% of RV travel leads to private campgrounds, and 7% leads to the backcountry, national forests, or general wilderness areas. 6% of RV travel leads to overnight stays in parking lots owned by Walmart or other such stores.
RVs Are Popular Camping Accommodation
15% of respondents choose RVs as their preferred camping accommodation when going on such trips. Cabins are ahead, at 16%, and tents continue to take the overwhelming majority of votes at 66%.
However, this shows that RVs are becoming a solid choice for accommodation while camping, which highlights the surge in RV owners around the country.
This percentage is expected to grow as more and more RV owners use their vehicles for overnight camping trips instead of the more traditional camping choice, like a tent.
Camping Trips Are Increasing
Camping trips across North America are increasing, which has a direct effect on RV travel. 57% of respondents have stated that they are planning to increase their number of camping trips throughout the year ahead, while 23% are planning to take the exact same number of trips as in preceding years.
20% are planning on taking fewer camping trips in the year ahead. This shows that RV travel will continue to benefit from the rising number of camping trips in the near future.
Sales of RV Parks and Recreational Camps Are Growing
RV owners looking to use their vehicles to travel are in luck. Access to RV parks and recreational camps is increasing thanks to the sales of these locations going up in the last decade. In 2013, sales of RV parks and recreational camps that are perfect for RV parking were at $5.4 million.
They are currently at $6.2 million, which shows that these locations are also more popular than before, thanks to the increased use of RV travel around the United States.
RV Travel Demographics Stats
RV travel is influenced by the people using this as their preferred travel method. Here’s an overview of the most exciting RV travel demographics stats.
Many North Americans Camp on and Off
42% of North Americans have stated that they have been camping on and off through the years. This contributes to the use and popularity of RV travel, which gets campers to their desired locations and doubles as on-site accommodation for those who want to stick to the campgrounds.
26% of North Americans say that they are lifelong campers, while 16% are either new to camping or have only recently started camping.
Many North American Campers Have a High Income
North American campers who make RV travel successful tend to earn a high income. Over 37% of them earn more than $100,000 a year, while 19% earn between $25,000 and $49,999. 18% earn less than $25,000 a year, and 13% earn between $50,000 and $74,999.
12% of North American campers earn between $75,000 and $99,999.
Most North American Campers Are Caucasian
Currently, 65% of North American campers are Caucasian, but the range is diversifying more now than it was in 2012, when 88% were Caucasian.
Now, 14% of North American campers are African American, and 10% are Hispanic/Latino, and 6% are either Asian or Pacific Islander.
This shows that more people from different backgrounds are getting into camping, with many of them using RV travel in addition.
Millennials Plan To Spend More Nights Camping
Of the adult generations in North America, millennials have the majority when it comes to camping more nights.
61% of millennials state that they are planning to spend more nights camping in the upcoming year, while 25% say they are planning to spend the same number of nights camping as in previous years.
46% of Gen X respondents say they want to spend more nights camping, and 31% will spend the same number of nights. 39% of baby boomers plan to spend more nights camping in the next 12 months, and so are 29% of those over 70 years old.
The Majority of RV Owners Are Casual Campers
39% of RV owners describe themselves as casual campers. They tend to use RV travel during the warmer months and spend around 16 days a year on average participating in this activity. Casual campers don’t use RV travel for more than 30 days a year.
Most Casual Campers Are Over 55
As casual campers make up most of the RV travel demographic, it’s interesting to observe their characteristics. 82% of them are over 55 years old, which shows why they have more time and funds to invest in RV travel.
55% of these RV-owning casual campers are also retired, which gives them even more time to focus on traveling in their RVs.
72% of casual campers describe themselves as private individuals, while only 21% refer to themselves as the life of the party. This shows an intriguing overview of the majority of people who take time to travel in an RV.
Most Casual Campers With Rvs Are Women
56% of casual campers with RVs are women, while 44% are male. This shows that more women are now investing in RVs and engaging in RV travel.
A vast majority of casual campers have no other attachments waiting at home, with 90% of them living in homes where there are no children or where the children are now grown. This frees up time for other hobbies and for traveling in an RV whenever desired.
RV Travel Preferences Stats
RV travel participants tend to have their preferences when it comes to indulging in this activity. Let’s take a look at what RV owners prefer when it comes to travel and how this translates into fun data to explore.
Most RV Travel Enthusiasts Prefer Weekend Trips
When it comes to RV travel habits, 55% of respondents prefer taking weekend trips in their RVs. 46% enjoy taking weeklong trips in their RVs, and 44% of other casual campers prefer taking road trips in their cars.
This shows that many love to take short overnight trips in their RVs, but a significant number of campers also spend entire weeks on RV travel when possible.
RV Owners Spend Most Vacation Time in RV
Campers spend, on average, at least 51% of their vacation time on RV travel. This shows that they prioritize RV travel and prefer spending their vacation time taking their RVs on trips, whether long or short. Other types of vacation feature in the minority for RV owners who are also campers.
Family Campers Also Love Rvs
While casual campers make up a large percentage of those using RV travel to unwind, family campers follow immediately after, with 33% of them choosing RV travel.
This shows that families prefer the convenience of traveling by RV too, and it’s not just for those traveling solo or in tandem with a friend or two. Family campers spend an average of 13 days on RV travel throughout the year.
Family Campers Prefer Weeklong RV Vacations
26% of family campers who own RVs prefer going on weeklong trips when they participate in RV travel. 25% of them choose to go to the beach with their RVs, while 22% want to go backpacking or on tent camping trips that involve more traditional camping methods. This shows that many families traveling in RVs prefer spending more time on their travels.
Campers Prefer To Travel To Escape Stress
In North America, campers who also participate in RV travel prefer to camp to get away from the stress of the daily routine. 75% state that they do it for their well-being, which is the leading benefit of camping around the country.
74% use it as their time to relax without worrying about everything else, and 66% use camping to improve and benefit from relationships with friends or relatives.
RV Travel Activities Stats
RV travelers are also camping enthusiasts who enjoy participating in numerous types of activities while on the road. Here’s a look at the most exciting RV travel activities stats provided by campers around the world.
Millennials Love to Trail Run
While out camping and RV traveling, 21% of millennials in North America participate in trail running. 19% of Gen Z participants enjoy participating in trail running while camping, and so do 15% of the Gen X respondents. Only 5% of baby boomers and more mature generations participate in this activity.
Gen X Loves Biking While Camping
32% of Gen X respondents state that they enjoy biking while they go on camping trips. This is a perfect activity for RV travel, with travelers able to easily bring their bikes with them in their RVs. 30% of millennials enjoy biking, too, while 29% of Gen Z and 25% of baby boomers say the same.
Gen X Participants Also Enjoy Fishing
While camping during RV travel, 52% of Gen X respondents say they enjoy fishing. They are followed by baby boomers, with 51% of them participating in fishing on camping trips, and millennials, with 47%.
Gen Z trails behind at 41%, and more mature generations born before 1946 are at 39%. This shows that all age ranges can be found participating in fishing on camping trips.
North American Gen Z Campers Love Bird Watching
38% of Gen Z respondents say they enjoy participating in bird watching when they are on a camping trip. They are followed by baby boomers, at 33%, and by millennials and Gen X, both at 26%. Mature respondents participate in bird watching while camping least, at 24%.
Baby Boomers Love Visiting Historical Sites While Camping
40% of baby boomers visit historical sites while going on camping trips. This frequently happens with RV travel, which allows them to quickly get from one location to another. 31% of mature people love the same thing, while 26% of Gen X do too.
Only 18% of millennials and 17% of Gen Zers enjoy visiting historical sites while camping, which shows the age divide when it comes to participating in specific activities during camping trips.
RV Travel Types of Vehicle Stats
With the steadily increasing popularity of RV travel, it is fascinating to look at the data regarding the types of vehicles that RV enthusiasts choose for their camping trips. Let’s see what the facts and figures have to say about the most popular types of vehicles for RV travel.
Casual Campers Prefer a Conventional Travel Trailer
48% of casual campers, the RV travel leaders, prefer a conventional travel trailer when it comes to purchasing an RV. The travel trailer is a traditional choice.
This non-motorized RV can be attached to and towed by a car, van, or truck that is compatible with the build of the trailer. This is by far the most popular choice for casual campers, with fifth-wheel travel trailers following at 14% and folding camping trailers at 9%.
Family Campers Also Prefer the Travel Trailer
The popularity of the travel trailer can be clearly seen in how family campers prefer it too. 26% of family campers choose the travel trailer for their RV trips. The second most popular choice for family campers is the expandable trailer, at 11%, and the third is the sport utility/toy hauler RV, at 8%.
Full-time RV Travelers Prefer the Fifth-wheel
RV travelers who choose to live full-time in their RV tend to pick the fifth-wheel trailer. 45% of full-time RV travelers have a fifth-wheel trailer, while 31% have a conventional travel trailer.
9% prefer a Class A Motorhome for their RV travel. This shows that those living in their RV full-time have slightly different preferences than those using them for shorter trips throughout the year.
Fifth-wheel Trailer Shipments Are Increasing
By the end of 2021, there were 107,570 wholesale shipments of fifth-wheel trailers across the United States. This showed a significant increase from 2020, when wholesale shipments of fifth-wheel trailers reached a figure of 81,500 in the United States.
The number of wholesale shipments in 2021 was the highest recorded in the past decade, which shows the growing popularity of the fifth-wheel trailer in the United States.
Shipments of Travel Trailers Are Growing
The popularity of conventional travel trailers cannot be understated. By the end of 2021, there were 423,780 wholesale shipments of travel trailers in the United States.
This was the highest number recorded since 2007 and showed considerable growth from the figure achieved in 2020: 298,480 wholesale shipments of travel trailers. This highlights that the conventional travel trailer tends to be the most picked type of RV by most types of campers.
RV Travel Use and Destination Stats
RV travel involves various types of use and numerous destinations. Let’s take a look at how RV enthusiasts tend to travel and where they like to go. Here are the most fascinating stats about RV travel use and destinations.
Prospective RV Buyers Want To Travel 25 Days a Year
Those looking to buy an RV for the first time intend to travel more in it than the usual average. First-time buyers are planning on spending at least 25 days on average traveling in an RV throughout the year.
This shows the enthusiasm that first-time buyers bring to the field and the significant amount of time they plan on spending in their new purchases.
Yosemite National Park Is a Huge Draw
Yosemite National Park in California is a top-rated destination for RV travel. This is also enabled by the 10 campgrounds around the park that can sustain RVs of various sizes, including fifth-wheel trailers.
Yosemite welcomes over 4 million recreational visitors per year. Each year, there are around 682,140 overnight stays by cars and RVs in the park’s many campgrounds.
Yellowstone Is Another Popular Choice
Yellowstone National Park spreads across Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. It has 12 campgrounds, most of which are RV-friendly. Yellowstone welcomes over 4 million recreational visitors every year and has 730,835 overnight stays by cars and RVs.
This highlights the park’s popularity and the ease of exploration it offers RVs in particular. Owners of huge RVs are advised to exercise caution while traveling through Yellowstone, but it is one of the most RV-ready parks in the United States.
Campers Love Going to Lake Mead
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area sits on the borders of Nevada and Arizona. This picturesque park is a draw to RV travelers, with over 377,240 overnight stays by cars and RVs.
Due to the size of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, there are over 900 camping sites across the park. These sites tend to be RV-friendly, but they do not offer full hookups.
RV Travelers Enjoy Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park welcomes over 333,529 overnight stays by RVs and cars throughout the year. It has numerous campgrounds, and some of them are reserved fully for RVs.
Grand Teton National Park can be found in Wyoming and covers extensive ground. It is a very scenic area to discover while participating in RV travel, and many RV enthusiasts stop there at least once during their adventures.
RV Travel Trends Stats
RV travel is becoming more popular, and that brings data regarding the trends that are being followed by RV enthusiasts. Here are the most exciting stats we have to offer about the current and near-future trends in RV travel.
Registrations of New Motorhomes Are Increasing
Across the United Kingdom, registrations of new motorhomes are increasing at a steady pace. Between July 2020 and June 2021, new RV owners registered over 16,608 new motorhomes with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
This shows an increase of 8.25% when compared to the same period of time in previous years. The influx of new motorhome registrations highlights that the pandemic put an even bigger focus on the many benefits of owning an RV around the world.
January 2022 Saw an Increase in Shipments
By the end of January 2022, the total number of RV shipments for the month was 53,209. This showed an increase of 16% when compared to January 2021, which highlights the stable increase of RV shipments around the world. The popularity of RVs continues to add to the impressive shipment and use figures that are being registered.
Most Campers Travel in the Summer
RV travelers have a distinct preference when it comes to the time of year for the bulk of their trips. 89% prefer traveling with their RV in the summer. For the unretired, summer is usually the time with most holidays, and it also tends to have the best weather for trips.
Despite this majority, summer is not the only preferred season for RV travel. 73% of respondents choose fall instead, which is usually less busy and very picturesque.
Most First Time Buyers Get a New RV
55% of new RV owners looking to use the vehicle to travel prefer purchasing it new. This shows that new RV owners are willing to invest in a brand-new option because they want to get the best out of it.
Getting a new RV ensures that those new to the lifestyle can embrace all the benefits with minimum hassle as they get used to the intricacies of RV travel.
The Majority of RV Owners Are Considering Buying Another One
51% of RV owners who already use their RV for travel are considering buying another one, whether as an additional vehicle or to replace the previous one. This highlights the popularity of RV travel and also that RV owners quickly see the benefits of investing in another vehicle.
RV owners using their vehicle to travel become used to what it can offer them and frequently prefer to continue investing in this sort of lifestyle rather than going back to just using a car for traveling.
RV Full-time Travel Stats
Some people around the world choose to travel in an RV on an overall full-time basis. This percentage of RV owners makes specific decisions and choices that give us an interesting amount of data to analyze.
Let’s see how living and traveling in an RV full-time affects the use of these vehicles and how those traveling in them choose to interact with them.
Full-time RV Travelers Are a Growing Minority
The RV travelers who choose to live in their vehicle full-time are 1.5% of the total. This is a growing statistic, with many people around the world becoming more drawn to what this type of lifestyle can offer them as each year goes by.
Many full-time RV travelers choose to embrace #VanLife, sell or rent their properties, and travel around the world whenever they wish. This can help those who want to live more sustainably too, or those who’ve become bored of the daily grind and choose to seek new routines.
More Women Than Men Choose the Full-time Route
When it comes to living and traveling full-time in an RV, women take the lead. 70% of full-timers are female, while 30% are male. This highlights that women are more prepared to make this lifestyle change as things stand at the moment.
Women tend to lead in general when it comes to RV travel, but this is the main case where there is such a vast difference between genders.
Full-Timers Tend to Have Children
While most other types of campers who RV travel tend to live in households where there are no kids, if there were ever any, full-timers are different. Only 11% live with no children in the home, which would indicate that many full-timers take their kids with them on the road whenever possible.
This involves even more complex decisions made about the lifestyle and how it operates, specifically when it comes to the amenities and essentials RV travelers have access to or have at their disposal.
Full-timers Are Private
While the majority of full-timers describe themselves as private people, there is not a big difference between them and those that consider themselves very social. 75% of full-timers state that they are very private people, and 68% say that they are very at ease when surrounded by other people.
This shows that full-time RV travelers like to keep to themselves but that they also enjoy interacting with others when the time is right. Full-timers are the most likely to bear the brunt of the potential loneliness experienced on the road, so these figures indicate the particularities at play in this lifestyle.
Most Full-timers Are Not Retired
Most full-timers are not retired, which sets them apart from many other types of campers. 57% of those traveling in RVs full-time do not describe themselves as retired, while 43% of them do.
This means that full-timers continue to work while on the road, either as freelancers or on some other type of part-time basis. It also highlights that full-timers are ready to embrace this lifestyle change with many considerations to take into account before embarking on this journey.
Many Full-timers Prefer Road Trips
The majority of full-time RV travel respondents claim that they prefer going on road trips in their vehicles. This is their preferred vacation habit. 39% of them choose road trips, while 37% opt for traveling with their RV to a non-resort beach destination. 30% use their RV to take a weeklong vacation in their preferred location.
RV Travel Sales and Economy Stats
There are exciting facts and figures to consider when it comes to the sales aspect of RV travel. Here’s a look at the financial side of this popular lifestyle.
RV Retail Sales Are Increasing in Canada
By the end of 2020, retail sales of recreational vehicles in Canada reached $9.9 billion. This showed an increase from the end of 2019, when retail sales of RVs in Canada reached $8.8 billion. This is the highest figure achieved in the last decade. RV sales in Canada have not dipped under $8 billion since 2016, which highlights the stable growth trend.
The Retail Value of RV Shipments Is Growing
By the end of 2018, the retail value of wholesale shipments of recreational vehicles in the United States increased to $29.1 billion. This showed remarkable growth from 2017, when the retail value reached just over $20 billion.
Before that, the retail value remained well under $20 billion, with the lowest figure of the decade achieved in 2009, with $5 billion in value.
The RV Industry Brings Billions to the US Economy
By the end of 2022, the economic impact of the RV industry was calculated at $140 billion. This was a significant contribution to the US economy and showed an increase of 23% between 2019 and 2022. It highlights that the RV industry is enjoying remarkable growth and that it is a considerable player in the national economy.
Most of the Revenue Comes From Manufacturers and Suppliers
$73 billion of the $140 billion generated by the RV industry comes from manufacturers and suppliers. The remaining $37 billion are produced by RV campgrounds and other associated RV travel services and sales activities.
RV Sales in the United Kingdom Are at a High
RV sales are breaking records around the world. In the United Kingdom, they just reached a record high of $1.36 billion. In Canada, RV sales produced $4.8 billion in GDP for the economy, which boosted it.
These figures show that RV travel is growing around the world and that national and international economies are all the better for it. The economic impact of these sales contributes to many other benefits.
Is the Shipment Growth of RVs Positive?
Between 2009 and the present day, wholesale shipments of RVs have increased by 362%. This shows the very positive trend that RV travel is currently enjoying around the world, and especially in North America.
Where Are the Most RVs Sold in the US?
California sees the highest RV sales across the United States. In 2019, the state saw over $2.4 billion in RV sales, which highlights the popularity of these vehicles in California.
RV travel is quickly increasing in popularity around the world, with plenty of data to highlight the details. This exciting lifestyle has many benefits, and many people are willing to enjoy them. The facts and figures associated with this topic support the boost in popularity.
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.