BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Coronavirus hasn’t put a complete halt to all vacation plans yet. There is one travel option that’s revved up in popularity.
When the COVID-19 pandemic lead to crushed vacation itineraries and refunded plane tickets, families took to RVs and the open road.
“I think they reached a point where people just realized that life would continue after this, but it’s going to be different,” said Jeff Hilliard, owner of Miller’s RV. “So people are not necessarily comfortable traveling by airplane or cruise ship, but they’re going to go somewhere.”
The owner of the RV shop on Florida Boulevard says RV sales and rentals have been booming in the last couple of months. Even those new to the cross-country roads are jumping on board.
“I probably field 15, 20 calls a day of people saying ‘we’ve never had an RV, but we want one and we’re really eager,’” said Cam Hilliard, Jeff’s son and a sales expert at Miller’s RV.
The RV experts believe it’s due to people’s hesitancy to hop on a plane or stay in hotel rooms again. But that isn’t stopping their desire to getaway.
“Most people start off by saying ‘we have canceled vacation plans, but we still want to go off on some trip,” said Cam.
They describe camping in an RV is like packing up a second home. Essentially, all of your things and family stay in one place while your surroundings could change each day.
“You have your people with you and no one else. You’re self-isolated in your RV anywhere in the country,” said Jeff.
Camping is relatively affordable for family fun, too. That’s why the Hilliard family has been doing it for years.
“I’m 21, almost 22 now, and I still remember moments of us camping when I was like 5 or 6 years old. It sticks with you for a lifetime,” said Cam.
So, if your family vacation plans feel flattened, maybe think about renting a new ride.
According to a recent report by the RV Industry Association, RV camping rates the highest in consumer confidence as a travel option, with 20 percent of US respondents more interested in RVs now after COVID-19.
Additionally, eighteen out of twenty-one total state parks in Louisiana reopened to the public on Friday, May 15. All previously-booked out-of-state reservations have been canceled. Also, all 18 State Historic Sites are open at this time. Reservations will be taken for campsites, cabins, large capacity lodges, meeting rooms, and group camps.
Louisianans are encouraged to get out and explore the state parks and state historic sites in a safe manner, respecting social distancing and Governor John Bel Edwards’ guidelines for Phase 1, keeping within in the 25% capacity for these facilities.
“I urge everyone in the state to take this time to be safe, but also get out and enjoy all the wonderful things right here in our backyard, like our state parks, historic sites, and state museums. The road to our recovery starts with the strong people of Louisiana,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser in a press release.
Three state parks, which were used as isolation areas for patients, will remain closed. Those state parks are Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, Lake Bistineau State Park in Doyline, and Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego. Before opening each of these facilities to the public, certified cleaning crews will perform a decontamination cleaning of each area of the park.
For more information about Louisiana State Parks visit LaStateParks.com.
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