RVshare's 2024 Travel Trend Report Predicts Game Changing Year for Outdoor Travel
In 2023, international leisure travel hit record highs as many travelers checked off bucket list vacations to Europe, Asia and beyond. Following a year of far-flung adventure, just 24 percent of survey respondents report plans to take more international trips in 2024, and only 26 percent report plans for big trips to bucket list destinations. Instead, 2024 looks to be the year Americans prioritize ease, quality time, wellbeing and restoration while traveling. 49 percent of travelers are planning laid-back trips focused on relaxation and 43 percent of travelers are looking forward to annual trips with family or friends. After the rush of big trips this past summer, data indicates that Americans will trade in crowds of tourists for quieter travels with friends and family in 2024.
As early indicators reveal increased interest in domestic travel for the year ahead, the Travel Trend Report also showcases that overall interest in RV travel remains high for the third consecutive year. Nearly 60 percent of respondents are organizing a road trip or vacation in an RV in the next 12 months, and data demonstrates that 62 percent are most excited about taking more relaxing trips to destinations away from crowds. Also garnering interest, RVshare's unique RV delivery option is as in-demand as ever, with 78 percent of travelers more likely to consider an RV stay if the RV is delivered to their desired destination ahead of time.
"We are ever curious to uncover consumer sentiment and preferences surrounding various aspects of the travel and tech industries," said RVshare's CEO Jon Gray. "Looking ahead to 2024, RVshare is excited for milestones in both the RV space and overall domestic travel landscape. Americans want to spend time outdoors, whether seeking adventure or purely looking for relaxation, and RVshare's expansive inventory of RVs, campers and more - paired with our trip-booking technology - provides access for all types of travel. This year's Trend Report explores not only what travelers are planning for, but also how they are doing so – with RVing at the forefront of outdoor travel."
Below, find RVshare's top five travel trends for the year ahead, pulled directly from original survey data provided by American travelers.
Solar Eclipse is Drawing a Crowd
The total solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024, and while visible across North America, the experience will be most spectacular for those situated within the path of totality, which will reach across certain states at specific times. Survey results reveal that not only armchair astronomers are planning to travel for the celestial event, but also more than half of Americans are considering traveling to the path of totality. RV travel offers a convenient way to witness this breathtaking phenomenon, and consumers have taken note. RVshare's internal insights reveal a +3242 percent increase in bookings for the weekend of April 8 compared to Memorial Day Weekend 2024, which is historically the kickoff to camping season, and one of the most popular times of the year for RV travel. While 46 percent of travelers surveyed have already booked their accommodations for the eclipse, another 30 percent have also started looking into options. RVshare expects to be fully booked for the 2024 eclipse, and many campgrounds along the path of totality are already sold out.
- More than half of travelers (52 percent) would consider renting an RV for a long weekend to experience a rare natural event.
- 53 percent are considering traveling to the path of totality for April's solar eclipse, specifically.
- For those planning to view the eclipse, 49 percent are considering travel to a remote destination for a less crowded experience, while 35 percent are considering travel to a city along the path to view it with others.
Embracing AI for Travel Planning
In 2023, RVshare introduced a ChatGPT travel plug-in to act as a virtual travel agent for RVshare renters, providing an innovative, alternative way for travelers to plan RV adventures. Wakefield's research reveals that while the majority of American travelers are intrigued by AI trip planning tools, only 18 percent of travelers have already used AI to plan their own trips. The emerging technology is still relatively foreign for some travelers as well, as 25 percent of survey respondents who are open to trying AI, are simply unsure how to tackle it.
- 63 percent are interested in using AI-based tools to plan their next trip, specifically younger generations of Millennial and Gen Z travelers.
- Two-thirds of respondents said AI would make planning a trip enjoyable and reduce the amount of time and effort required to plan it.
- 71 percent of travelers who reported interest in using AI for travel planning say they would utilize the tool to find dining, attractions, and hidden gems that they would otherwise overlook.
- Not all travelers are on board though, as 37 percent of respondents said they would find using the tool to be stressful because they wouldn't trust AI to accurately plan details of their travels.
"Take Me Away" Travel on the Rise
After two years of revenge travel and well-researched bucket-list vacationing, travelers are experiencing planning fatigue thinking about the year ahead. While desire to travel remains high, 75 percent of survey respondents say they would love to have at least one element of a trip be a surprise, especially Millennial and Gen Z travelers. Almost half (48 percent) find it appealing to have trip activities be a surprise, 40 percent are interested in being surprised by dining choices, and 36 percent would prefer to have the destination be kept a secret. While having someone else plan aspects of travel is desirable, only 9 percent of travelers are willing to throw all planning out the window and embark on a trip that is a complete surprise.
While battling planning fatigue, travelers are in turn prioritizing restorative travel for the year ahead. Instead of spending time in crowds of tourists, 57 percent are looking to spend quality time with family while traveling, a 7-point spike over last year, and 43 percent are planning annual trips with family or friends in 2024. Time with family and friends is something that more than half of travelers (52 percent) say helps them feel relaxed while traveling.
As pre-pandemic levels of everyday stress and work commitments return, data reveals that women are at higher risk to return from vacation not feeling relaxed. According to traveler data, just 54 percent of women often or always return from vacation feeling relaxed, compared to 75 percent of men surveyed. 2024 may be the year this changes though, as 73 percent of women are committed to taking relaxing vacations this coming year where they can truly unwind.
RVing to EVing
As the automotive industry continues to innovate, there is excitement from consumers surrounding the electric RV space. In fact, half of travelers view a trip in an electric RV positively, seeing it as a great way to save money and protect the environment. In anticipation of increased consumer interest, RVshare debuted its partnership with Grounded in fall 2023, bringing a pioneering electric recreational vehicle rental program to the Detroit market. These rentals are available exclusively on RVshare, making Grounded RVs the first electric vehicle fleet on the platform. Over the last year, RVshare has also worked closely with leading manufacturers like Lightship, Aero Build, and Winnebago on their production of electric RVs, estimating that models will be readily available to rent on RVshare by early to mid-2024.
According to survey data, half of travelers view a trip in an electric RV positively, seeing them as a great way to save money (26 percent) or an excellent way to protect the environment (24 percent). Another 28 percent find the idea interesting, though they aren't ready to try it right away. More than 35 percent of RV renters come to RVshare to "try before you buy" as potentially interested RV owners. With the electric RV market growing rapidly, RVshare anticipates that number will increase throughout 2024, as EV enthusiasts look to trial RVs, camper vans and different vehicle models for the first time.
RV Travel Appeals to the Masses
For the third consecutive year, interest in RV travel remains high. Among those planning to travel in the next year, nearly 3 in 5 (57 percent) are planning a road trip or vacation in an RV, similar to the 61 percent planning RV travel at this time last year. Doubling down on last year's surprising results, Millennials lead the way, as 74 percent plan to travel by RV in 2024, followed by 67 percent of Gen Zers (9 percent increase compared to last year) and 56 percent of Gen Xers.
On the heels of an unpredictable year of air travel, RVshare sought to find out what elements of RVing travelers enjoyed the most last year. Findings proved that travelers appreciate the lower costs, convenience, and flexibility. When asked why RVs are a preferred travel option, 58 percent of respondents said it's because they have a greater ability to change their own time schedule - proving the importance of flexibility while traveling. RV travel allows vacationers to put an emphasis on relaxation and getting away from crowds, which data shows is most important to them in 2024. With 49 percent of travelers choosing laid-back trips focused on relaxation this year, many look forward to exploring nature, outdoor adventures, and spending quality time with friends and family.
RVshare is the largest online community for RV renters and owners with a diverse selection of vehicles for rent across the US, ranging from luxury motorhomes to cozy camper vans. On RVshare you'll find vehicles that can accommodate any outdoor adventure, whether it's a weekend of camping or a cross-country tour of national parks. Hit the road yourself or plan for a campsite delivery to experience the unbridled freedom of RV travel. With more than 3 million nights of sleeping under the stars booked, families and groups can experience a one-of-a-kind trip and create memories that will last a lifetime. For more information, visit rvshare.com, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @rvshare.
1 The RVshare Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ who have taken a vacation in the past 24 months, between September 28th and October 9th, 2023.
2 RVshare 2023 Internal Booking Data