KENNER, La. (WVUE) - Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to summer and if the increase of RV sales, so far, is any indication of the weeks to come, more Americans will see the country in a RV.
"The last few days we've been getting an abundance of calls all day long where the last few weeks we haven't had any calls," says Arty Lawson, the owner of Motorhome Rentals of Louisiana in Kenner.
According to RV Industry Association, RV sales in some areas have sped up 170 percent over the same time period last year. Dealers like Lawson say they people renting from him are doing so for the first time.
"They say they normally fly but they don't want to fly,” said Lawson. “Or they normally take the cruise ship but say they will wait till things get better."
He says when the COVID-19 pandemic started, like many, his business stopped. But in the last few weeks, as the state eases in Phase One of reopening, people are eager to get out and stretch their legs.
"Some of them just want to go to Florida, they aren't going far,” Lawson said. “Florida or Tennessee, they just want to get the kids out of the house."
“We strongly encourage Americans to follow federal and state guidelines,” says RV Industry Association Spokesperson Monika Geraci. “As we emerge as a nation from the stay at home orders, it is clear that Americans want to get back outdoors.”
It’s not just renters, but owners are also visiting shops to keep up maintenance.
“It’s kind of twofold, you have Memorial Day weekend but we’re also getting into hurricane season,” said Jeff Charrier, operational manager at RV Masters. “Not only is it something for the corona but a lot of people use their RV as their evacuation vehicle as well.”
Charrier and RV Masters’ owner Tim Switzer say people are picking RVs because once it’s clean they don’t have to worry about anything else plus Switzer says they have more control of their environment.
“You’re sleeping in your own bed, you’re using your own bathroom,” Switzer said. “You don’t know who was in a hotel before you so it’s your own germs and your own choice of cleaning.”
Lawson says before he rents out and of his units, he and his team clean it, “We’ve always done that making sure it’s clean for the next customer,” he said. “Once they are in it they are the only ones in it.”