Airstream’s Basecamp. Credit: Airstream

[January 2017] Gas prices are low, the economy is looking up and interest rates are optimal. With that news in mind, millions of Americans are ready to hit the road this year in a brand new RV.

The latest trend toward choosing lightweight trailers that can be towed behind many cars or small SUVs opens RV travel up to a new generation. This year, the RV industry expects to ship 383,000 trailers and 55,000 motorhomes, the eighth consecutive year of growth.

The typical age of an RV owner is 48, according to 2011 research from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). That number represented a one-year decrease from 2005 data, and the average age of customers is continuing to decline. Younger people, including Millennials are moving into the market, according to RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom.

“The Millennial generation is one that desires the experience of travel, the experience of seeing great things around the country,” Broom said. “And they enjoy that sense of adventure.”

Airstream’s silver trailers are among the most distinctive on the road, and the Basecamp, with its wrap-around tinted window, looks more like a space capsule than a trailer that sleeps two and comes with a fridge, microwave, air conditioning and stove, depending on the specific options.

Many manufacturers now offer similarly sized trailers, using lightweight materials, small propane-powered coolers and stoves, and flat-screen televisions, to keep the weight down. And while the RV lifestyle may not be for everyone, millions of Americans enjoy the chance to hit the open road, visiting national parks and small towns across the country.

The RVIA estimates it generates an annual economic impact of $50 billion per year, employing 289,000 workers earning $15.8 billion in wages and benefits. Additionally, the industry contributes $5.7 billion in federal, state and local taxes, officials say.

Read the entire article in USA Today.