- Kampgrounds of America (KOA) conducted a survey of leisure travelers and found that we want to get outside these days, with a majority saying they think it's the safest way to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Despite the upcoming cooler weather, travelers are actually more likely to get out in the fall and winter (42 percent of those surveyed) than they were in the summer (21 percent).
- Fifty-one percent of all campers have an interest in buying an RV this fall, about the same as in May.
An uptick in the number of camping trips Americans took this year was not exactly a surprise, given that it allowed people to change their surroundings without greatly increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19. So maybe this will be another non-shocker: we're likely to keep on getting out there as winter approaches.
According to a fall update to the annual North American Camping Report by Kampgrounds of America, 21 percent of leisure travelers went on a camping trip this summer and 42 percent still plan to take a camping trip in 2020. The report, which surveyed 3500 leisure travelers, was released in October, so lower temperatures aren't exactly taking the chill out out of more camping.
Over half of those surveyed, 54 percent, think camping is the safest type of travel right now, 10 points more than when KOA did its Growth of Camping amid COVID-19 study in May. That's one reason almost half of the people surveyed who went camping did so for the first time this year or restarted the hobby after not heading out "in recent years." These new campers—and those KOA calls "re-engaged campers"—trend younger, with 55 percent of those first-timers being millennials.
For a lot of people, when they think of camping, they think of RVs, and during the COVID era, a "home on wheels" presents a particular benefit: your own private bathroom. KOA's study found having your own restroom was important to 48 percent of all leisure travelers, 42 percent of campers, and 58 percent of prospective campers. In a similar vein, 60 percent of general leisure travelers said they are willing to visit a less popular location in order to avoid the crowds. Sixty-eight percent of campers felt this way.
The increase in RV sales we've seen this year is likely to continue. KOA found 51 percent of all campers are now more likely to buy an RV, about the same as in May, with Gen Xers as the group with the most interest (62 percent said they're considering buying an RV). One big reason for their interest is increased worry about cleanliness at hotels or resorts. You won't catch COVID from your RV's bathroom if you're keeping strangers out, but if it's dirty, there's no one to blame but yourself.
Looking ahead, KOA estimates that 18 percent of these new 2020 campers will keep heading into the wild in future years, pretty evenly split between different camping styles. For RV and tent campers, 44 percent said they're likely to camp again in upcoming years, while 40 percent of glampers felt that way.