Take a second to picture this scene.
After a great night’s rest, you wake up to the sounds of loved ones cheerfully chatting around a slow smoldering morning campfire. You get up, step out of your RV, and are greeted with smiles and your favorite warm beverage. Looking around, you take in the campground. The crisp air, the songs of birds, and picturesque scenery. Life doesn’t get much better than this!
If reading that caused a warm, content feeling to bubble from within, you’re probably one of the millions of Americans that report feeling happier and healthier when spending time outside.
Outdoorsy has always believed in the benefits of traveling and spending time in nature, but we wanted to be able to back up our beliefs with data. To better understand the public’s perspective and thoughts on outdoor travel, Outdoorsy conducted a series of surveys. The findings are just part of a larger, ongoing initiative called the Road to Wellness, which seeks to establish the mental wellness benefits tied to time spent outside.
Here’s what our research has revealed so far. (We’ll give you a little hint: it’s really exciting news and might just make you want to pack your bags right now!)
The Great Outdoors: Good for the Mind, Body, and Soul
It’s no secret that getting up, outside, and moving has a powerful effect on the human body. From lowering the risk of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease to reducing stress, the effects of spending time in the great outdoors can be felt physically.
But there are also enormous mental benefits.
Outdoorsy’s survey revealed that more than 90% of North Americans feel that spending time outdoors makes them happy, helps them relax, and improves their overall mental health. Similarly, just being in the presence of loved ones has the power to lift people’s spirits. Spending time with family boosts mental health in 87% of folks.
Other research supports Outdoorsy’s findings, reinforcing the theory that interacting in natural spaces offers therapeutic benefits. Just the sounds of nature alone can lower blood pressure and reduce levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. One study even noted that those who had recently undergone a stressful life event such as illness, unemployment, or the death of a loved one experienced the greatest boost in mental health from the outdoors.
A Place to Come Together
But nature itself isn’t the only reason for these benefits. People also use the outdoors as a space to come together and socialize, which has the power to improve mental health in and of itself. An active social life has been linked to things like a longer life-span, lowered risk of dementia, decreased depression, and increases in overall feelings of well-being.
Nearly 70% of survey respondents in Outdoorsy’s survey said that they would rather go on a road trip with a significant other than by themselves. 60% would rather go camping or picnicking with someone special than doing it alone, and 49% want to experience a hike with someone along for the journey.
Being outside allows us to strengthen our ties with the people around us in ways that other activities simply can’t do. On top of all of this, being outside also allows people to get in touch with their spirituality. Nearly 8 in 10 people feel enhanced spiritually after spending time in the outdoors. It’s great for the mind, body, and soul, which is probably why 88% of people are trying to incorporate the outdoors into their daily routine more often.
The Ease of Family Road Trips
One of the great things about road trips is that they are a simple way to have family fun. In fact, over 65% of parents find that it’s easier to drive with their children than it is to fly. When you’re loaded up in an RV, there’s no need to worry about making it through security, finding your gate, or missing your flight. You can sit back, relax, and go at whatever pace you want to go.
The result is an unforgettable, memory-filled experience. 92% of parents say that they feel more bonded with their children on vacation; 94% wish that they took more family vacations. 75% of those surveyed described their last road trip as a much-needed escape or as so fun that they plan on doing it again soon.
And believe it or not, kids even seem more grateful in the outdoors. 75% of parents said their kids say thank you more often when on vacation.
Here are a few reasons why road trip travel is the easiest way to vacation:
With cruises and flights, you are bound to other people’s schedules. If you miss the boat, you miss the boat.
But when you travel by RV, the only schedule is the one you set. Even then, it’s always subject to change. After all, you never know what sort of neat roadside attraction will pique your interest and call for a little detour. If you decide to stay at one location a little longer, it’s usually not much hassle to book a few extra days at a campsite.
This flexibility also gives you the freedom to plan a trip as short or as long as you’d like. It’s a good thing, too, since vacation durations typically vary from family to family. When asked about the ideal length for a road trip, here’s what people had to say:
- 21% feel that 1-2 days is the perfect length
- 28% would like to spend 3-4 days on their trip
- 25% say that 5-7 days is the right amount of time
- 12% want their road trips to be between 7-10 days long
- 9% prefer to spend 2+ weeks on the road at a time
With camping and RV travel, there are road trip ideas for every type.
Getting Behind the Wheel
You probably drive fairly often. Even if you don’t have a daily commute into work, it’s how most get from point A to point B in their daily lives. And, surprisingly, most people are actually very comfortable behind the wheel.
Nearly 59% of people prefer driving for vacation travel, either by car or by RV. 31% feel content when they drive, and 27% go so far as to describe the experience as relaxing and zen.
RV travel is as easy as packing your bags and hitting the road. And it’s not hard to get excited about a trip when getting there is half the fun!
(And for the 5% that report feeling rage-y when they drive, maybe it’s time to let your co-pilot take control for a while.)
Costs of Road Trips
Road trips are also easy on the wallet compared to other ways to vacation. 82% feel that road trips are the most cost-effective way to travel. Especially now with gas prices reaching historic lows, road trip travel is more affordable than ever. If you’re on a budget, there are opportunities for saving at every corner. Between packing your own meals to boondocking in the wild, there are thousands of ways to keep expenses minimal.
And the greatest part? Saving money doesn’t have to mean missing out on the fun. A road trip with a budget of $100 can be just as fun as one with a $1,000 allowance.
Rethinking Vacation in the Age of COVID-19
If COVID-19 threw a wrench in your summer vacation plans, you’re not alone. 81% of North Americans say that they are less likely to travel by airplane this summer as a result of the disease. Travel restrictions, closures, event cancellations, and unsafe conditions have all contributed to the growing number of people seeking alternative vacation plans this summer and fall. 71% of folks are looking for new ways to get away after spending months cooped-up indoors.
Luckily, RV vacations are among the safest ways to travel for the foreseeable future. Traveling via RV makes social distancing easy and natural. When visiting outdoor destinations that aren’t packed with people, the risk of virus transmission is dramatically reduced. RVs give campers their own private space where there’s no need to worry about who was coughing inside or touching surfaces right before you.
New Opportunities with Remote Work
COVID-19 has not only changed how and where we travel, but how often we plan on going, too. Quarantine requirements and stay-at-home guidelines shook up the global workforce in an interesting way. Businesses discovered that many jobs can be done without employees ever needing to set foot inside an office building. This has led businesses and major companies to make decisions to allow their workforce to work from home— permanently.
This has opened up new doors of opportunity for travel. Previously, one of the biggest obstacles to road trip travel is simply taking enough time off of work. A lack of vacation time has been the main issue for 44% of those looking to take more family trips. Of those who say that not having time off of work prevents them from taking more family vacations, 44% are Millennials, 40% are Gen X, and 16% are Baby Boomers.
With remote work, however, employees can take their job with them wherever they go. When all you need is an internet connection, the possibilities for working vacations are endless. 44% of those surveyed responded that their job has the flexibility to work remotely, and 72% of those say that now they can work on the road, they’d like to take more road trips.
Another interesting fact? Remote workers that plan on taking more road trips are 2.5 times more likely to say they would take more road trips if they had access to an RV. Larger recreational vehicles give travelers the space and amenities they need to stay productive on the road.
Hit the Road
Survey says… the outdoors is good fantastic for your physical health, mental health, and family bonds! 77% of people feel that they would take more road trips if they had access to an RV. Thanks to Outdoorsy and peer-to-peer RV rentals, now you do. Choose from thousands of RVs to rent near you or your destination, and get on your way to living a happier, healthier life.
Experience the benefits of nature in your dream RV.