Thursday, October 16, 2014

Motorhome Travel On the Rise Among Young British Families

According to research done by Salop Leisure, a UK motorhome rental and sales company, the demographics of travel by RV -- or caravanning as it's known in Britain -- are quickly changing. The past year has seen a four-fold increase over recent years of Millennials who inquire about renting a motorhome or stationery camper at a vacation destination.

Whether due to the recessionary economy or a change in lifestyle, there's also been an increase in UK staycations and close-to-home road trips by RV, including those by grandparents traveling the roads in these compact units, with grandchildren aboard.

Notes Mark Bebb, managing director of Salop Leisure, "We’ve clearly noticed that the average caravan user is younger than they were just a few years ago. At England's Caravan Club, a membership group for RV enthusiasts, there are reports of an increase in young families as members.

“Our traditional caravan buyers are still coming in to the showroom," adds Mr. Bebb, "but we’re often seeing them accompanied by their grandchildren [to research] a joint purchase for these family members, as they discover a shared interest in this kind of holiday.” They dub this trend "gramping."

His findings are echoed by dealerships around Great Britain, where young celebrities such as Jamie Oliver, Kate Moss and Rio Ferdinand have professed to love RVing and camping in the outdoors. The recent BBC 4 documentary entitled Caravans – A British Love Affair also brought attention to the pastime.

RV travel has long been common in Australia, where nearly 75% of motorhome users are currently aged 20 to 54. Its popularity is said to be part nostalgia and part economics, as families who want to tour the country can save on hotel rooms. Stuart Livingstone, CEO Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia, says that, “Young adults and young families are really where the next 10-15 years of growth is in the industry.”

Although not necessarily true for American families, in the UK surveys, young families with dependent children were found to be significantly more interested in taking a camping or RV holiday -- 75% of parents surveyed were between 25 and 44.

Additionally, according to Salop Leisure, data from Google indicates that 28% of visitors to RV websites in the last 12 months were under 45, and 20% of those visiting sales sites were also under the age of 45.

And what about gramping?  Apparently, Marilyn Lindsay from Slough, UK regularly takes her grandchildren on RV holidays. She says: “I bought my caravan for my grandchildren as I felt that a caravan holiday was not only cheaper but gave the kids wonderful adventures.”

Luke Rees contributed this report.

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