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Outdoorsy Releases Generations in the Wild: The 2024 U.S. Family RV Travel Report

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Teens drop tech and look to faith for meaning during family road trips. Baby Boomers beef up multigenerational camping plans this summer. Economic constraints and appetite for travel push GenZ to search for free campsites. Demand for developed campgrounds booms.

AUSTIN, Texas, May 21, 2024 -- Outdoorsy, the leading outdoor travel and accommodation marketplace today released Generations in the Wild: The 2024 U.S. Family RV Travel Report. The company's inaugural independent research explores motivations behind travel, benefits of time on the road, and cultural values restoring human relationships across four generations of RVing American families.

"This independent research was deliberately designed to span not just generations, but to represent Americans from all walks of life who seek the benefits only the outdoors can provide," said Outdoorsy Co-Founder Jennifer Young. "Resoundingly, every group acknowledged that RV travel provides a powerful way to strengthen family bonds, reconnect with themselves, and draw closer to their faith."

Notably, Outdoorsy's survey found that today's always-on work culture is negatively impacting young families on the road - cutting into quality time and reducing enjoyment for GenZ parents in particular. GenZ is most likely to take work on the road, with 74% saying they work at least sometimes during a trip, and 96% of those who do reporting that their work hours negatively impact their time with family. By comparison, GenX has a healthier work life balance, with only 53% reporting that they work during family trips.

"Creating time for a digital detox is closely correlated to better reported trip outcomes, but we found that only one in five families will always take the time to do so," said Young. "However, we discovered that disconnecting from tech isn't the only way to reliably improve your summer vacation. Our research showed that parents who involve their children in every aspect of trip planning - from meal planning to destination selection to activity mapping - report improved journeys across almost every metric."

Families with children who are highly engaged in trip planning report lower stress (+21%), an increase in positive attitudes (+12%) and increased excitement (+16%). Families who engage their children in every aspect of trip planning are also more likely to report strengthened faith after a trip (65% vs. 39%) and a higher likelihood of tech-free time (66% vs. 52%).

Additional key findings from this year's report include:

GenZ: The changing face of RV travel
The youngest generation of RVers are notably different from their peers. They're the most likely to travel, with the majority (65%) saying they plan to take at least five RV trips this year. However, this cost-conscious generation is also the most likely (47%) to seek out free RV accommodations this year, signaling that this cohort especially is feeling the strain of inflation. This group also tends to stay closest to home, with an average trip length that is 100 miles less than that of older generations.

Developed campgrounds are the most in-demand in 2024
This year, developed campgrounds are in high demand, with 83% of families preferring their RV campground to be packed with amenities like showers, pools, biking paths, pickleball courts, and more.

RV trips reduce tech time and increase spiritual connectedness for teens
Nearly half of all teens (48%) report reduced screen time during family RV trips, and the vast majority (88%) report at least some level of spiritual connectedness, with more than half (59%) engaging in prayer, reflection (34%), and reading sacred texts (21%) during family RV trips.

Baby Boomers beef up multigenerational camping plans this summer.
In their youth, Baby Boomers popularized backcountry camping. However, over time they fell into travel patterns that were less likely to include outdoor experiences. Now that they're entering their retirement years, they are much more likely to turn to RV trips as an affordable means of travel that can include their children, grandchildren, and extended family. Three fourths (74%) of Baby Boomers will include their adult children in their next RV trip, and 31% will include their grandchildren.

Millennials: The experience-first generation
This formidable travel group started the trend of investing in experiences instead of things, and their desire to fully lean into family travel shows up in a variety of ways. Seven out of 10 Millennials say RV trips are an important time to disconnect from technology, and this generation is less than half as likely to always work while traveling as their GenZ counterparts (11% vs. 26%), signaling they have a better handle on work/life balance.

Nearer, my God, to thee
RVing families tend to be highly religious or spiritual, with 96% of parents and 88% of teens reporting at least some connection to faith or spirituality. Of religious families, 82% report being Christian. And although teens are less likely to say they're very connected to religion or spirituality, they're just as involved (and in some cases more involved) as their parents in spiritual pursuits while in nature. 

The results of the first Outdoorsy U.S. RV Family Travel Report are based on a total of 3,200 surveys completed among a random sample of U.S. families and a corresponding sample of n=400 teens. Within the sample of families, quotas were established for each of the four primary census regions: Northeast (n=800), Midwest (n=800), South (n=800), and West (n=800). Overall, a sample of n=3,200 U.S. families is associated with a margin of error of +/- 1.63 percentage points, and a sample of n=400 teens is associated with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points. All surveys were completed only via an outbound solicitation sent to a randomly selected cross-section of families. The sample of respondents was statistically balanced to ensure that the results are in line with overall population figures for age, gender, and ethnicity. Some results may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

Access the full report, Generations in the Wild: The 2024 U.S. Family RV Travel Report

About Outdoorsy
Outdoorsy transformed access to the outdoors with the launch of its RV and campervan rental marketplace in 2015, and expanded to offer marketplace insurance in 2018. Today, Outdoorsy's partnership with its hosts has resulted in over 7 million travel days through RV rentals that are available in 4,800 cities across North America. Outdoorsy's marketplace, insurance, and retreats provide life-changing financial benefits for RV hosts and retreat communities and offer guests the trust and guidance they need to enjoy memorable rustic travel experiences. Outdoorsy's team is inspired by a mission to restore our relationship with the outdoors and each other by inviting guests to Live Outdoorsy.

About Cairn Consulting Group
Cairn Consulting Group is a market research firm with extensive experience in the hospitality and services industries. For the past several years, Cairn Consulting Group has worked with organizations in both indoor and outdoor hospitality, including the gaming/casino areas, food services/restaurant space, accommodations, travel/tourism and the products and services that are a part of the hospitality industry. The organization also serves clients in branding/brand positioning efforts, evaluating consumer behavior, public opinion & policy and product development.