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RV Shows Highlight Family Travel Options

With so many travelers staying closer to home and looking for low-stress vacation getaways, recreation vehicles (RVs) are an attractive option. Retail RV shows are a great way for consumers across the country to learn more about these "homes on wheels."

More than 140 local shows feature the industry's latest RVs, helping families gear up for great vacations and get acquainted with one of the most popular, hassle-free modes of travel. According to an RV owner survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), just over half say that RV shows play "important" or "very important" roles in their buying decisions.

RV show exhibitors say attendees welcome the chance to walk through various vehicles, compare different floorplans and comparison shop. From traditional amenities (fully equipped kitchens and baths and central heating/air conditioning) to the latest cutting-edge extras (global positioning systems and automatic leveling systems), RV advances continue to draw consumers.

Today's RVs are more comfortable, spacious, lighter, better equipped and technologically advanced than ever. RV shoppers will find everything from multiple slideout rooms, designer interiors and convection ovens to home theater centers complete with DVD players, flat screen TVs and surround-sound speaker systems. Responding to consumer demand, new models are designed with built-in garages to store ATVs, motorcycles, mountain bikes, golf carts, watercraft and even small cars. RVs can even be equipped with rooftop patios complete with wet bars and barbecue grills.

Other high-tech options offered include satellite dishes, back-up cameras, automatic-powered awnings, power window curtains/shades, seats with built-in heat and massage, freezers that fit in the RV's "basement" and combination washer-dryers. So whether families are shopping for a towable RV (folding camping trailer, truck camper or travel trailer) or a motorhome, they're sure to find different RV sizes and styles for every taste and budget.

RV shows are attracting a record number of consumers. According to show officials, attendance and sales are expected to exceed last year's figures. That's not surprising considering 2004 factory-to-dealer deliveries of RVs are forecasted to reach their second-highest level in 25 years as increasingly younger consumers drive up sales. A stronger economy, continued low interest rates and international travel concerns will continue to bolster consumer interest in RVs.

"It's understandable more and more families are checking out RV shows, especially in today's travel climate," says David J. Humphreys, president of Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. "These hometown events offer consumers first-hand opportunities to see how RVing offers freedom, flexibility and control over their own vacations, with all the amenities and comforts of home right on board."

To find an RV show near you, as well as a list of RV dealers and campgrounds, RV travel tips, publications, rental sources and clubs, visit GoRVing.com. A free "getting-started" CD-ROM or video full of RV shopping and travel tips from actual RVers is available on this website or by calling 1-888-Go RVing. Or write to: RVIA, P.O. Box 2999, Dept. P, Reston, VA 20195.

RVIA (rvia.org) is the national association representing 500 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States.

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