Posts Tagged ‘travelers’

Holiday travel is expected to increase during the July 4 period compared with last year, but the mid-week holiday is likely to result in more spread-out travel plans that could ease congestion. As reported by theWall Street Journal, the fuel bill for road trips should be smaller, though gasoline is still far from cheap.

The travel-services group AAA estimates 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the coming holiday weekend, a 4.9 percent jump from last year. The projected travel volume will match the high point of the past decade, which occurred in 2007, and marks an increase of nearly 42 percent from 2009.

Road trippers will recall that the July 4 period was near the peak of a spike in gasoline prices in 2008, and many still-shell-shocked motorists stayed close to home in 2009. AAA defines the Independence Day travel period as July 3 to July 8.

Because July 4 is Wednesday, the usual five-day travel period grows to six days and gives people the option of including a weekend and two week days either before or after the actual holiday. AAA asked prospective travelers about their planned departure day, and 54% said they expected to begin their trip before the start of the week that includes July 4.

Lower fuel prices are helping to drive travel volume. The average price of regular gas in the U.S. is $3.44, almost 14 cents lower than last year and about 50 cents below the recent peak in April.

“AAA’s projection for a decade high number of Independence Day travelers is being fed by Americans’ appetite for travel, a mid-week holiday and lower gas prices,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “This is the second holiday this year where travelers indicated a determination to travel while economizing by actively seeking value-added travel options and activities,” Sutherland said.

When a group of investors acquired Flying Flags RV Resort seven years ago, they initially planned to demolish the property and replace it with single family homes.

Market conditions quickly changed, however, and the investors realized they might be better off simply improving the resort, which is less than five minutes away from the Danish-themed village of Solvang.

“Their strategy paid off,” said Daniel Bauman, general manager of Flying Flags, which has increased its gross revenues by nearly 7 percent each year since 2005 when the investor group acquired the resort.

The investors have spent about $1.5 million in improvements under the management of Horizon RV Resorts, a Westlake Village-based company with expertise in improving the profitability of RV parks and resorts.

The improvements include new landscaping with attractive trees, shrubs and flowers and new big-rig friendly pull through sides throughout the park, all of which are equipped with 50 amp electrical service. The investors also purchased five 400-square foot park model cottages, which have become so popular they book up months in advance. “We use them to accommodate travelers who don’t have tents or RVs as well as Santa Ynez Valley residents who need overflow space for visiting family and friends,” Bauman said.

Flying Flags RV Resort

Flying Flags RV Resort, once primarily frequented by retirees, families now account for about 80 percent of its guests.

Flying Flags has also developed an activities program that includes Friday night Tri-Tip barbecues, Saturday night ice cream socials, dive-in movies under the stars, which guests can watch while enjoying the park’s swimming pool and Jacuzzi, as well as Sunday breakfast in bed delivery service. Golf and wine tasting packages are also available. The park also offers wine tasting events, featuring local wineries that come to the RV resort on weekends.

“The wine tasting events are particularly popular with families because it enables the parents to sample local wines while their children enjoy our swimming pool or other park activities,” Bauman said.

Randall Hendrickson, president and CEO of Horizon RV Resorts, said the investments in Flying Flags’ improvements, cottages and activities have also changed the demographics of the resort. “Before we took over management of this park,” Hendrickson said, “it was primarily frequented by retirees. Today, however, families account for about 80 percent of our guests.”

RV ShowThe Pennsylvania RV and Camping Show will roll into Hershey Sept. 14-18. The show will run Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.With more than 900 RVs on display from every major manufacturer, the show is the best place to shop and compare.

Everything from the smallest campers to the largest, luxurious motor homes will be on display to suit all lifestyles and budgets. There will also be more than 100 booths highlighting RV accessories, according to a news release.The show offers something for all guests, from those new to RVing to experienced travelers.

Hourly seminars are available (free with admission) from the industry’s top experts, including “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer, Bob and Cheryl Marx, John Holod’s RV Adventure Videos, Bernie Jwaszewski and many more. Classes include exterior care guidelines, tips on buying an RV and how to become a full-time RVer working on the road.

Tickets for adults are $9; children 12 and under are free. Three-day event passes are available for $18, and twilight tickets are $5 after 3 p.m. Senior Citizen Day (55-plus) is Sept. 14, when seniors can get two regular-priced daily admission tickets for the price of one. Veterans receive $1 off regular priced admission with a valid veteran or active duty ID every day of the event.

For more information, visit www.LargestRVShow.com.

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