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RV business booming as coronavirus changes how we vacation

“I don’t think people are going to stop living their life ... They’re just going to live it in a different fashion.”

NEW ORLEANS — Americans are looking for safe ways to get away during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This July 4th holiday, a growing number of travelers are taking to the open road in a recreational vehicle.

Walter and Brenda Helm and their granddaughter from Louisville, Kentucky are spending some time in New Orleans in route to Destin, Florida.

They say an RV is the only way to travel, especially now with the Coronavirus still out there infecting people.

“Automatically, camping is social distancing anyway,” Walter Helm said. “We’re really not on top of everybody when you’re camping versus a hotel. In a hotel you have people up and down the elevators.”

According to the RV Industry Association, 46-million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months.

The Helms say they have noticed many more campers on the road and in the parks since COVID changed life as we knew it.

“It is safer because this is you,” Helm said. “This is your environment. Just about like at home. Home on wheels.”

The Helms are staying at Pontchartrain Landing, an RV resort along the Industrial Canal.

Co-owner and manager Nate Gaarder said business is booming.

“People still plan on taking their family vacation,” Gaader said. “They just don’t plan on doing it in the traditional way. A lot of them are buying RVs, renting RV.”

Because of the heat, the summer months are normally a slow time for tourism in New Orleans. According to Gaarder, Pontchartrain Landing is now on track to double, maybe even triple its normal summer business.

“I don’t think people are going to stop living their life," Gaarder said. “They’re just going to live it in a different fashion.”

For the Helm family, living life is an adventure in their motor home.

“Being an RV’er, is more to our advantage,” Helm said.

According to the RV Industry Association survey, fifty-one percent of those that plan to take any RV trip this year reported that current health concerns increased their interest in RV camping – much higher than any of the other travel options.

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