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Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association

Fuel prices would have to more than double for typical motorhome vacations to cost more than other forms of travel, according to a new study comparing vacation costs. 

PKF Consulting, an international consulting firm with expertise in travel and tourism, conducted the study. It revealed that typical RV family vacations cost an average of 27 to 61 percent less than other types of vacations. Even when factoring in RV ownership and fuel costs, RV family vacations cost significantly less than other types of vacations, the study concluded.

“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,” said Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. “And these savings offset the cost of fuel.”

'More economical'

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 destinations such 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,” said Kannan Sankaran, PKF’s 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.”

FMCA member John Bargo, a computer operator from Milwaukee, Wisc., agrees with PKF’s findings. “When you figure the cost of driving in a car, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, it’s a lot more expensive than bringing your lodging and food with you.”

Analyzing trips

The study showed that a family of four traveling from Phoenix, Ariz., to Napa, Calif., in a Type C motorhome and staying in campgrounds at the local average of $33 per night would save $1,704, or 37 percent, over the same trip taken by car, staying in hotels averaging $122 per night and eating in restaurants.

Shorter getaways by RVs were also found to be more economical. For example, a family taking a three-day vacation from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Lancaster, Pa., would save $889, or 52 percent, by traveling in a Type C motorhome instead of flying.

Trips taken in an ultra-luxury Type A diesel-powered motorhome also were less expensive than flying and staying in a hotel. According to the study, the only way to beat the cost of a Type A motorhome trip is to drive a personal car, stay at a hotel or rent a condo, and cook your own meals.

The research

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, towable and non-towable.

Research included documenting average ownership periods, residual values, annual days of use, insurance and applicable interest deductions.


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