The coronavirus has reinvented what people want when they travel — and it’s bringing 2 classic Americana staples back into style

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From Business Insider

  • The coronavirus has disrupted how travellers want to spend their money.
  • As lockdown restrictions ease, industry experts expect travellers to stay closer to home and take road trips rather than flights.
  • RV dealers are seeing an influx of new customers who want to buy or rent.
  • Travelling by RV is inherently socially distanced because travellers are in self-contained units and can control their surroundings, the chairman of the RV Industry Association told Business Insider.
  • Roadside motels may also see a surge in popularity because their design allows guests fewer opportunities to be exposed to other people indoors, hoteliers say.

 

The coronavirus has disrupted travel in unprecedented ways, grounding airlines and emptying out hotel rooms.

But as lockdown restrictions begin to lift around the world, people are once again thinking about travel – and the best ways to do it during a pandemic.

Travel experts expect the summer of 2020 to be the summer of the road trip.

“As home isolation orders are lifted yet physical distancing remains top of mind, we anticipate road trips and personal auto travel will rebound faster than group travel,” Andre Haddid, the CEO of car-sharing company Turo, recently told Business Insider. “Travellers will prefer the privacy and comfort of travelling in their own car with close family and friends.”

This desire for control over how many people travellers interact with could result in some unexpected side-effects: The unassuming roadside motel may find itself more popular than a luxury hotel, and RVs may become the go-to mode of transportation.

 

Here are the unexpected ways travellers will be spending their money differently this summer.

Everyone might be travelling by RV this summer

Travel experts expect that as people venture out again, they will start by travelling closer to home instead of hopping on flights. And that could make the summer of 2020 the summer of RV travel.

“There’s some indication that as we settle into a new normal, folks will forego air travel, cruises, and overseas trips in favour of destinations that are closer to home,” Bob Wheeler, the CEO of travel trailer company Airstream, recently told Business Insider. “RVs are the perfect vehicle for that kind of mindset. You can move at your own pace, and bring along your own environment in which to live and cook and relax.”

RV dealers across the US are already seeing a surge in inquiries, per the The RV Industry Association, the national trade association for RV makers and suppliers.

Mike Regan, the president of Crestview RV, told Bloomberg last week that floor traffic at his two RV dealerships outside Austin, Texas, was up 30% compared to last May. The biggest group of interested buyers and renters are people who are looking to travel by RV for the first time because of the pandemic, he said.

“Interest in the RV lifestyle – because it’s so Americana and the desire for people to get out and explore their immediate surroundings and visit some of the iconic places in the country – it is literally off the charts now,” Garry Enyart, chairman of the RV Industry Association, told Business Insider.

RV travellers are in self-contained units and can control their surroundings – obvious benefits in a pandemic, Enyart said.

Regan told Bloomberg that he may soon even run out of RVs due to the skyrocketing demand.

“The minute the campgrounds opened on May 1 and the governor turned everyone loose, our business went through the roof,” Regan said.

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