As people fall ill with quarantine cabin fever, this outdoor activity has exploded in popularity
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SOUTH HAMPTON, NH — Families anxious to get out of the house during this socially distant summer are turning to an old American pastime: RV camping.
Industry insiders say RV sales and rentals have skyrocketed this season. Outdoorsy and RVshare – two RV rental sharing platforms similar to Airbnb – report that bookings have jumped more than 1,000% since the start of the season. RV dealers across the country are also reporting a surge in sales this summer.
“It’s crazy,” Chris Reeder of Lerch RV in Milroy, Pa., told PennLive. “We are completely back to staff and have even hired since we went green.”
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About an hour north of Boston, at the Tuxbury Pond RV Resort in South Hampton, NH, manager Brian Huppe said activity has been unprecedented this summer.
Now many weekends he said RVs lined up outside the gate just waiting to get a spot in the park.
“We filled the park,” Huppe said. “The pickup was amazing […] We’ve never had campers lined up to walk into camp like we did this year.”
Inside one of these campers are Matt and Kristy Bialko, along with their three children. They drove their RV from Ohio to Tuxbury Pond. However, they are not traveling for pleasure, but for an appointment with a specialized doctor for their young daughter.
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“It’s just safer to have our own space,” Kristy Bialko said. “It makes things a bit easier, we take our whole hotel with us.” added her husband.
“The pickup was amazing […] We’ve never had campers lined up to walk into camp like we did this year.”
Jon Gray, CEO of RVshare, said the concept is selling out right now, with many Americans still hesitant to stay in hotels and fly.
“RVs allow you to be socially distant,” Gray said. “This summer, the idea of being able to take your kitchen, your bed, your bathroom with you is incredibly compelling.”
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However, the Bialkos were on the road full-time long before the pandemic hit, sharing their adventures on social media. Matt’s job started allowing him to work remotely — like millions of other Americans right now — so he had an idea.
“Well, if I have to work from home, why can’t I work from this hotel? And if I can work from this hotel, why can’t I work from this Airbnb. What if I can work from there, why can I just travel, right? said Bialko.
Gray expects more people to have that same revelation as more schools announce online learning and employers extend remote work policies into the fall and even into in 2021.
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“We expect working from anywhere and online teaching to generate very robust booking volume in the fall,” Gray said.
RV rental rates start around $120-150 a night, according to a recent report.