Lizzie Dragon
by Lizzie Dragon
Posted November 11, 2021

Not to startle you, but 2022 is less than two months away. Blame the calendar. We’re just the messenger.

As leaves start to fall, the sun starts to set at 4 p.m. (RIP to those long days of summer), and we start to think about holiday travel, our team wanted to reminisce a bit and take a look back at the RV rental trends we saw in the past year. As we approach the 2-year mark since the start of the pandemic, we also decided to survey our past renters and ask them to share their thoughts on travel in the year ahead. 

Consider it our litmus test of sorts for what’s to come as the world — and leisure travel as we once knew it — starts to open up again. We also bribed consulted with our data team to show us the trends happening behind the numbers.

Additionally, we reached out to the most active renters on our platform to get the inside scoop on all things RV travel — the past, present, and future. So settle in and read on. As we wrap up 2021, let’s unpack the findings from our RV travel trend report.

What we’re hearing from travelers, and what was further confirmed by our internal data, is something we’ve known all along. The pull back of leisure travel in 2020 and 2021 has created a slingshot effect, a revenge travel effect if you will, that we’ll see spring to life in 2022. If anything has changed in the psychology of leisure travel since the start of the pandemic, it’s a traveler’s optimistic prioritization of factors like cleanliness, safety, and convenience — preferences that will continue to create first-time RVers and sustain demand for modes of self-contained travel.

Outdoorsy co-founder and CEO Jeff Cavins

How are people traveling?

First things first, RV travel is here to stay. In 2020, we saw a rise in self-contained travel, and that is here to stay.

2022 rv travel trends

In fact, 91 percent of survey respondents say they are planning to take a road trip in 2022. And 83 percent of travelers added they would be either somewhat likely or very likely to vacation via RV or campervan if there were COVID surges in 2022. 

Fall travel is still on the rise

70% of respondents said their travel plans for the holidays would be back to normal this year with Thanksgiving topping the RV rental booking charts for the holiday season.

Top destinations for holiday travel include, respectively: Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, Austin, San Francisco, Miami, and Las Vegas

People need road trips

travel trend report

Approximately 63% of respondents said they had decided to drive instead of fly to their final destinations since the start of the pandemic, with 52% of respondents who took to the road adding they drove more than 500 miles to reach their destination. 

Worklife is hitting the road

Time off work (40%) was one of the top reasons travelers reported why they don’t take more road trips, but 62% of respondents say they stay either partially connected or fully connected to their jobs while on a trip.

Who’s hitting the road?

Of the travelers surveyed, 82% said they are most likely to hit the road with their significant other, 49% with their kids, and 39% with their pets. Only 7% of travelers reported a desire to travel solo

First-time RVers are the standard

All this said, as we head into 2022, first-time campers remain the rule, not the exception.

rv travel trends

Potential RV owners have also entered the chat

“Try before you buy” is more than just a catchphrase. 44% of respondents said their Outdoorsy road trip experience inspired them to buy an RV or campervan of their own. 

What does all this mean for Outdoorsy and RV owners?

For our owners mapping the road ahead, we have some important insights.

RV Owners can earn BIG — like Major League’s big

2022 travel trends

Russell started his rental business on Outdoorsy with seven trailers and has since expanded his fleet to over 125 RVs, resulting in over $6M in rental income. That’s more than the $4.17M annual salary for the average Major League Baseball player. 

Cleanliness is the name of the game

With all this, it’s worth it to note that cleanliness is key here. When asked what features matter most when renting an RV, 80% of survey respondents cited cleanliness as the deciding factor, with amenities like a full kitchen (57%), a full bathroom (57%), and an indoor shower (43%) also ranking high. 

Some RV types are more popular than others

For the past 3 years, trailers, Class C RVs, and Campervans were the most popular rentals, respectively, on Outdoorsy.

Cancellations are OUT

Cancellations are, well, canceled. Only 43% of respondents said they chose to delay or suspend the summer vacation plans they had this year. We presume the other 57% are still flipping through photo memories on their phones. 

Delivery is IN

Approximately 53% of Outdoorsy renters want delivery and are searching for RVs that can be delivered. Fortunately for them, 60% of Outdoorsy owners offer delivery. So those first-time RVers who aren’t ready to get behind the wheel can show up to their campsite without lifting a finger.

Rental prices hold still

Times are a-changin’, but prices remain the same. A positive contradiction, indeed. Outdoorsy reporting estimates the average price per night for an RV rental in 2021 at $153 a night, compared to $151 a night in 2020 and $139 a night in 2019. 

Need a ride into 2022? We gotchu

The future of RV travel is bright. Ride into 2022 in style — like in a campervan, perhaps? Whether you’re an RV owner or renter, it looks like happy travels on the road ahead!

Lizzie Dragon

Outdoorsy Author

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