I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
Since traveling in recreational vehicles seems to be on a collision course that eventually will cause thousands of people to give it up in the near future, it is obvious that something is going to have to change and soon.
Problems in the RV Market
- The cost of purchasing and maintaining new units has been increasing exponentially in recent years.
- This has caused the same thing to happen with older coaches as well.
- Manufacturers continue to cut corners in quality control, making coaches less safe for people to own and more likely to have break downs.
- Parts and labor costs have been skyrocketing.
- Camping fees, even for the lowliest of parks, have gone through the roof.
As a result, people who love this form of vacationing have begun to find it increasingly difficult to afford it. These trends simply cannot continue, because if they do, the industry will eventually undo itself.
The wealthy will always be able to afford to own and travel in recreational vehicles, but they make up a very small portion of the more than 9 million individuals who currently own and live in them. It is clear that any positive changes will be the result of technology, which is moving at warp speed.
This article discusses some of those changes that people can hope to see within the next ten years or sooner.
People Will No Longer Purchase Motor Homes
Companies like Google have already created self-driving cars, so it’s not much of a leap to believe that the creation of self-driving motorized recreational vehicles will be next. As with cars, there will no longer be a need for people to purchase motor homes.
Why People Will no Longer Purchase Motor Homes
- the cost of owning one would be too high,
- the level of normal use would not justify paying it and
- terminating the need for ownership would also eliminate the need for paying for items such as parts, repairs, insurance, detailing and storage
In short, the savings to the consumer would be substantial.
What About Travel Trailers and Campers?
Basically, the scenario would be the same for these types of travel units because tow vehicles would also be self-driving.
However the logistics for using them would be somewhat different.
What Would the RVs Be Like?
Because the manufacture of RVs would be part of a national system, the days of cutting corners would end. The liability for problems would now fall on the manufacturer, not the owner because there would be no “owner“.
This would eliminate the need for legal actions other than those brought against manufacturers, which now would be a viable option in the event of problems, which was not the case in the past.
Thus, travel units will be safer, more durable, better built and designed, and more comfortable than they are now. It will be up to the client to decide which type of unit he wants to rent, but all will provide the basic comforts and necessities.
How Would People Access These RVs?
There already are companies that rent motor homes and trailers, but now they would be part of a national system that also rents campers and, if needed, tow vehicles that would be properly weight rated.
The difference would be that instead of people going to the rental agency to pick up their RV, they would use technology to arrange for a rental. The vehicle would drive itself to their home, park itself and await loading.
All of the arrangements would be made ahead of time so that the vehicle would know exactly
- where the travelers wish to go,
- how they want to get there,
- the stops they would like to make,
- the type of facilities they wish to stay in and
- other pertinent travel information.
If people want to make changes as they go, they would simply input the new information.
What Would Happen Next?
Before the coach arrives at a customer’s home, he would download an itinerary as well as a list of items he would need that would be based on his chosen destination.
This would allow him to organize his belongings ahead of time.
Since the vehicles would already be loaded with linens, cookware, tools, cleaning items and other necessities, and since the units would already be sanitized, the only thing clients would have to do is load their food, clothing, medications, cosmetics and other similar items.
Thus, in less than an hour, vacationers could close up their house, board, turn the travel unit on, and start traveling.
They would not have to worry about choosing campgrounds or making reservations because these things would already have been taken care of using a national network along with the list of preferences the travelers originally provided.
What Would Happen At the Camping Facility?
One of the nice things about this situation would be that people would not have to
- waste time checking in or out of campgrounds,
- make reservations,
- pay (because they would have prepaid for their trip before taking it) or
- worry about the type of site they will have.
This is because parks would all have to upgrade in order to be part of the new system.
What Would RV Parks and Campgrounds Be Like
People would no longer have to worry about camping sites that are too close together, not level, or noisy.
They would also know that parks would be clean, attractive, well maintained, and guarded by a security force 24/7.
Also the sites would be sized to match their camping unit.
After their RV parks itself, a maintenance team (some of whom might be robots) would come over, empty and clean their tanks, check their tires, put up their awnings and perform other chores the travelers would have normally done in the past.
Travelers will even be able to give their laundry to campground workers to be washed overnight and then returned to them in the morning before they move on.
In short, the majority of issues that made camping a chore before will no longer exist.
In addition to being relieved of a good amount of work, people traveling in self-driving RVs would also be much safer because
- there would be fewer, if any, accidents,
- the stress levels involved in driving long distances would be eliminated and
- there would be no driver fatigue.
For the first time in history, RV travelers would be able to relax and enjoy their trips and avoid frustration, work and the problems associated with this type of vacationing.
What About Cost?
Clearly, setting up a system like this would take time and would be expensive, but because coaches would be purchased as part of a national system, prices would be less. Furthermore, they would be made with cost-saving features such as electric engines and solar powered appliances.
With millions of people using these units and being able to choose the types in which they wish to travel, people would be able to adjust costs to suit their needs. Once the system is in place, and as more people start to use it, prices for all services would drop significantly.
In the end, it would actually cost less to travel this way than to vacation in your own coach or even rent one at today’s prices.
As with anything, there will be problems associated with this new system, the main one being that there would be a significant financial impact on many who are either directly or indirectly involved with the RV industry.
- Many campgrounds, RV dealerships, manufacturing facilities and repair shops would either have to upgrade to meet national standards or close their doors.
- Thousands of jobs might be lost.
- Lawyers and doctors would earn less because there would be far fewer accidents and lawsuits.
- Advertisers and PR firms would also lose income.
- People would still be able to purchase their own coaches, but the cost to them would be enormous.
In the long run, however, the changeover to self-driving recreational vehicles and full service camping facilities would be well worth these financial losses because there would be other types of work available for most who become displaced.
Is This a Dream or Could It Be a Reality?
Those people, like my husband and myself, who love to RV might find it hard to believe that everything suggested here could really happen.
I think it will. In fact, I don’t see how things can go any other way. RV travel in the future will be a reality sooner than you may think, even though it may take a few years to organize it and get it up and running.
As an older person (and perhaps a bit selfishly), I can’t stop thinking about how nice it would be for my husband and myself to be able to continue RVing as the result of these changes when we know that before too long, if things stay the way they are, age and disability will make us stop.
For us, the future cannot arrive soon enough!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Sondra Rochelle