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  • Writer's pictureAspen Custom Vans

Opting for Open Space and Flexibility, #VanLife Continues to Surge

Pulling into any trail head or gas station this summer reveals one sure thing: #vanlife is here to stay. As overseas travel and mass gatherings came to a halt thanks to Covid-19, Americans opted for the open road. National Geographic dubbed 2020 “the year of the camper.”

Sales of mid-range motor homes were up 54% in July compared to last year, according to the RV Industry Association. And that doesn’t take into consideration sales of small and mid-size vans, both new and used. Here at Aspen Custom Vans, we have a six-month wait list for custom van orders.

But we still have availability for renting!

However, given the predictions for fall travel, that too will fill up fast. Rentals across the United States have surged. The country’s largest peer-to-peer rental site, RVShare, reported that 69% of people they surveyed plan to travel this fall, and will do so for 7-10 days. More than half said they’re not flying any time soon.

Just how popular is #vanlife these days? It’s hard to know, since there’s no official way to track it. The hashtag, which was born in 2012, has almost 9 million posts, almost doubling in just two years. If it was having a moment before, now it’s definitely a permanent part of American culture.

Covid-19 has reorganized the way that people live. Remote working means that someone’s office can now have a view of a national park. Booking a trip is a spontaneous undertaking, and finding a place to sleep can be as simple as parking your four-wheel home on a dirt road.

In June, AAA reported that 97% of people traveling this summer would be doing it by car. And the top searched destination? Denver jumped from No. 10 on the list to numero uno. That makes sense given that people are choosing outdoor vacations over urban ones. They’re using the opportunity to visit one of America’s most spectacular assets: its national parks. (You may have been clued into this trend through your Instagram feed.) In fact, 22% of all national travel this summer was to national parks, which doubled pre-Covid numbers.

If you’ve been thinking about joining the proverbial bandwagon, now is the time. Before fully committing by purchasing an RV or building out a van, take one for a test drive. We rent out Blue and Grey through Outdoorsy. And if we’re booked, there’s a large—and growing—community of VanLifers who will open their sliding door to welcome you.

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