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RV Vacations Are Least Expensive, Study Shows

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Despite high fuel prices, typical RV trips remain the least expensive
type of vacation, according to a new study comparing vacation costs. PKF
Consulting, an international consulting firm with expertise in travel
and tourism, found that “typical RV family vacations are on average 27
to 61 percent less expensive than other types of vacations studied.”

Even factoring in RV ownership and fuel costs, the study
reveals that RV family vacations tend to be significantly less expensive
than other types of vacations.

“This study re-affirms what RVers have long known, that RV
vacations deliver greater economic value compared to other types of
vacations,” says Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle
Industry Association (RVIA). “RV vacations continue to be the most
affordable way for a family to travel because of the tremendous savings
on air, hotel and restaurant costs. And these savings offset the cost of

PKF analyzed major costs that would be incurred by a family of
four taking eight different types of vacations for three, seven, 10 or
14 days to such popular travel destinations as the Grand Canyon, Cape
Cod, and Napa, Calif.

“On average, RV vacations were more economical than the other
types analyzed in all but one case,” says Kannan Sankaran, PKF’s lead
researcher for the study. “Even as fuel prices increase, our findings
show that almost all RV vacations are still significantly less expensive
than non-RV ones.”

Fuel prices would have to more than double for typical
motorhome vacations to become more expensive than other forms of travel,
according to PKF Consulting.

Among the RV vacations analyzed by PKF, even those taken in an
ultra-luxury Type A diesel motorhome were less expensive than flying and
staying in a hotel. Only a family taking a vacation by personal car
with hotel or renting a condo and cooking for themselves would cost less
than a family taking a trip in a Type A motorhome. “Owners say the
added space, comfort and convenience while traveling justify the
investment in a Type A,” noted Coon.

In addition to major expenditures required from the start to
finish of each vacation, PKF factored in an estimated cost of ownership
of the RVs analyzed. Research included documenting average ownership
periods, residual values, annual days of use, insurance and applicable
interest deductions.

“RV vacations are a great way for families to spend time
together and bond,” said Coon. “Whether it’s in a luxury motorhome or a
basic folding camping trailer, RV vacations offer value that lasts a

The PKF study considered only quantifiable economic factors,
not the comparative quality of each vacation. As a result, the
convenience, flexibility and quality family time cited as major benefits
of traveling in an RV could not be addressed.

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