You might think that traveling in an RV is more expensive than traveling by air and staying at hotels. But not according to a new study conducted by the CBRE Hotels Advisory Group for GO RVing and the RV Industry Association. According to the study, RV vacations cost much less that other types of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership.
Meet the hypothetical travelers.
The study analyzed vacation costs using two sets of hypothetical groups—a four-person family of two adults and two children and a couple on the go. Researchers then analyzed major costs for these hypothetical travelers incur traveling to nine popular vacation destinations for vacations lasting three, seven, and 14 days.
The study compared different methods of travel, including a folding campaign trailer all the way up to a type A motorhome, as well as traveling by car, staying at hotels/motels, eating meals in a restaurant, and traveling by air. It also looked at other factors like whether the two groups were traveling in their own car and staying in a rental where they prepared most of their meals. The type A motor home, which are typically the largest and most luxurious, was compared to flying first class, renting a premium car, staying in upscale hotels and resorts, and eating meals in restaurants.
RV vacations were the budget winner, hands down.
RV vacations show a clear family friendly budget benefit over other forms of travel, regardless of RV type. Here ‘s what the four-person family can expect to save (by unit type).
- Folding camping trailer: 50-64%
- Lightweight travel trailer: 31-50%
- Compact motorhome: 31-50%
- Type C motorhome: 21-43%
- Type A motorhome – 41%
A two-person travel party saved, according to the CBRE analysis:
- Folding camping trailer: 43-53%
- Lightweight travel trailer: 20-34%
- Compact motorhome: 20-34%
- Type C motorhome: 8-24%
- Type A motorhome: 19%
The study included analysis of how fluctuations in fuel prices could affect the economic advantages of RV travel. Researchers found that for a four-person travel party it would take a rise in fuel prices to nearly $13 per gallon for a Type C motorhome vacation to more expensive than the least expensive non-RV vacation. None of the fuel increase scenarios for a four-person travel party resulted in other RV vacation types being more expensive than the least expensive non-RV vacation.
For a two-person travel party, fuel prices would still need to rise significantly (from $5.50 to more than $13 per gallon) from current levels for RVing to lose its economic advantage. CBRE factored in an estimated cost of ownership of the applicable RV equipment that was based upon published data regarding average ownership periods, residual values, annual days of utilization, insurance, and other costs of ownership, as well as any applicable tax benefits.
Want to travel more and spend less? Buy an RV or consider an upgrade.
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