HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - As Memorial Day Weekend ushers in the unofficial start of the summer, the nation is starting to see yet another "new normal" setting in, this one in regards to how we take trips in the time of the coronavirus.
What You Need To Know
- RV Rentals are driving the travel economy
- Mid Florida RV Rentals seeing 50% increase in requests from same time last year
- RVShare say bookings on its site are up 650%
- More coronavirus stories
Renting a recreational vehicle has seen increased demand as states reopen and travel starts to take off.
Stephanie Carey, who lives in Tampa with her husband and three children, explained she feels safer traveling in an RV.
“We kind of have control of our surroundings," she said. "We can do the cleaning ourselves in the RV, we don’t have to be in big public spaces. We can go to parks where we’re out in the open air, so it gives a little bit of comfort at this time.”
The Carey family got into the RV rental business as a labor of love. They loved their first trip so much they decided to buy Mid Florida RV Rentals.
A year and a half into their new family business, the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Craig Carey, who’s also a pilot, said business bottomed out in March.
“We lost all of our bookings and we knew going forward no one was going to take a vacation rental,” he said.
Part of their business is providing RV Rentals for special events, such as the Grand Prix.
All those events got canceled.
The Careys had to find new ways to keep the business running under the new normal. They provided RVs to health care and frontline workers during the peak of the crisis and did what they can to keep the wheels turning.
As the state reopened, with parks and recreational facilities opening up just over the weekend, the Carey’s labor of love has seen a dramatic shift—50 percent more requests than the same time last year.
“We’re booked through the rest of this month, all of next month and about half of July,” said Carey.
It’s a trend happening throughout the country.
So it’s RV rentals driving the travel economy for the foreseeable future.
While vacation plans are changing, the Careys are looking forward to staying busy with other families hitting the road.
Some summer plans will be the same as eldest son Jack works to get his driver’s license.
“I’m happy I’m learning on this big thing because then hopefully it’ll make me a better driver in a car,” Jack said.