In a historical shift, Americans say the freedom to do what they want is vital to their happiness ahead of material possessions and for nearly half of those surveyed, recreational vehicle travel represents freedom and adventure.
RV travel is making a big comeback, driven by millennials and their love of the freedom it offers, says Jeff Cavins, co-founder and CEO of Outdoorsy, the outdoors experiences and RV travel marketplace.
“We have seen all types of people searching for adventurous experiences, and it validates that RVs are a better way to have an adventure when you’re traveling and want to be fully immersed in the experience of the open road and destinations,” Cavins says in a release.
The company has experienced huge growth year to year — 465% — driven largely by millennials looking for experiences and images to share on social media. A full 40% of Outdoorsy’s user base is under 40, he says.
Indeed, Airstream launched a campaign in July for its new “Nest” product aimed squarely at millennials.
More than two-thirds of Americans would rather travel to a new destination every week (68%) than have sex every day (32%). Additionally, 55% of Americans say they would travel by RV specifically to have an adventure, with about one-quarter of respondents saying it allows them to escape reality (27%) and gives them cool stories to share (26%).
Americans say the freedom to do what they want (95%) and the ability to experience new things (84%) are important to their happiness. These are more important than material possessions (53%) or sharing life on social media (33%). The desire for exploration and experience is particularly relevant for RV owners/considerers, who say that freedom to do what they want is an important aspect to their happiness, coming in at a staggering 99% and 98%, respectively.
The survey also uncovers that RV travel represents adventure for 45% of Americans, ahead of traveling by plane (32%) or cruise (41%), and second only to travel by train (47%). Those who would consider owning or renting an RV are especially interested in traveling by RV for the adventure, coming in at 71% and 75%, respectively.
RVing is also an important way for people to connect with loved ones and disconnect from work and social media. Americans say they would want to spend the most time with their significant other (38%), followed by family (31%) if they were to take an RV on their next trip.
If given the choice between the two, nearly two-thirds of Americans (63%) say they would rather disconnect from work, versus capturing incredible travel images for social media (37%). Millennials are more torn on this sentiment, with more than half (55%) preferring to disconnect from work over capturing incredible travel images for social media (45%).
Most Americans (58%) would choose a domestic trip over traveling overseas, because they want to see more of their own country. In a close second, Americans also say they would choose domestic travel because it is less expensive than international travel (51%).
Although Americans crave adventure, few have ever rented an RV. They haven’t ruled RV’ing out though; many would consider it. Only one in 10 Americans has ever rented an RV (10%), but nearly half would consider it (48%).
Americans who are employed say that they would be most likely to use their vacation days if they had cheaper travel options (37%). Of those who own an RV, have rented an RV or would consider either option, nearly half say that an appealing aspect of RVs is that they offer a cheaper way to travel (47%).
Of those who own an RV, have rented an RV or would consider either option, over two in five (44%) say that an appealing aspect of RVs is being more in control of vacation time.
An online survey was conducted by YouGov with a sample of 1,145 respondents in the United States (18+), including 289 millennials (aged 18-34). The sample was weighted to ensure national representation across gender, age, region, education and race/ethnicity. The survey was conducted June 13-14, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9% at the national level and a 95% confidence level.