The coronavirus pandemic has people looking for different ways to spend their vacation time and weekend getaways. Cruises are out. Concerts, sporting events, and other big-crowd events aren’t happening. Commercial airlines look like a big risk to many people, and overseas travel is riskier still (plus some countries aren’t letting Americans in).
People are looking for something exciting and entertaining, but that also keeps them safe from potential infection. What’s the solution? Hit the road and see the good ol’ U.S.A. — while also avoiding hotels and restaurants.
With our RV being in and out of the shop, I have had the chance to speak to some people I know at RV One and at Lazy Days, both located on the I-4 corridor near Plant City. Folks at both places said the same thing: Sales are booming and they can’t keep inventory in stock.
Makes sense. RV camping is a great way to entertain the family while still being self-contained. You can sleep in it, you can cook in it, and you don’t have to be around crowds if you don’t want to. I can tell you that when I drove by those two dealerships this past weekend, there was a noticeable reduction in the number of RVs they have left on the lot to sell.
Boat sales are also through the roof here in central Florida. The guys at Hoppy’s Marine, where I bought my new bass boat last year, have told me that the boats are being sold long before the truck can deliver them and they cannot get them fast enough from the manufacturer. Again, boating is an activity that keeps you outdoors and away from crowds (provided you avoid those big groups out on the sandbars and other popular gathering spots).
These types of activities are allowing families to spend time together, and at the same time be outside in the heat where the virus is less likely to spread or stay for long periods of time. The RV and the boat have both been great outlets for us, especially as we explore our passion for golf and fishing. I think we will see this trend toward individual rather than group recreation going forward for quite some time.
I have mentioned in the past that the allure of an RV lifestyle and being able to move about at will is something that has a hold on my wife and me. Now, others are starting to realize that getting out to see and do other things outside of the amusement parks can be just as much fun. I’ve been to Disney, Busch Gardens and Sea World. They were a lot of fun. But really, how many times can you go see the same thing?
If I have learned anything in the short time that we have been RVing, it’s that there are virtually no limits. Wherever you decide you want to go and hang out for a few days, if there’s a road that goes there, you can.
I know some of the locations have not been accessible due to the pandemic, but that to will pass and once again we will be able to go where we want without restrictions. It may take a little time yet to feel 100 percent safe wherever you go, but one thing is certain: Traveling via RV will definitely keep you away from the crowds today.
While we see parts of our economy struggle with what is going on today, it’s nice to note that other parts are doing fine — thriving, even. To those of you who got into the RV life because of what has transpired this year, welcome to the club. We’re glad you joined, and I think you’ll enjoy it for years to come. Like Missy and me, you too may start thinking of a way to really enjoy your RV after your workdays are done. I know we truly look forward to those times ourselves.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.