Travel in the ‘new normal’: RVs, camping, one-tank trips will become popular, expert says

Holidaymakers may opt to stay in the country and drive to vacation spots. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Attila Gimesi)

This is part of a weeklong series on WTOP examining the future of travel with CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

With travel restrictions loosening all around the country, where and how will vacationers get out and go when they get the chance again?

CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg predicts that, at least during the first few months, many will get behind the wheel.

“We’re going to take a lot of road trips. Some one-tank trips where we can go just for the day and come back, not even do an overnight,” Greenberg said.

He expects demand for recreational vehicles, whether to buy or rent, to go through the roof.

“Families will want to travel together, and an RV gives them the opportunity to be in their own self-contained quarantine-mobile, if you will, to rediscover their own country.”

Greenberg envisions many families stocking up on groceries ahead of their RV trips so they don’t have to stop at any hotels or restaurants along the way. Families without RVs may just pack a tent in their cars.

“Camping is going to be big, whether at the national or state park level. A lot of state parks will be rediscovered because the national parks are going to be full. You can count on that,” Greenberg said.

What about traveling out of the country?

“International travel is essentially dead on arrival now,” Greenberg said, with numerous countries in Europe alone requiring or planning to require travelers to quarantine for 14 days after they arrive.

Setting your sights on a tropical island isn’t a good idea either, he said.

“Each island, and in the case of Hawaii that whole state, is working hard to protect their borders and watching who comes in,” Greenberg said.

Consider yourself lucky to live in the D.C. region and take advantage of it, he said.

“Washington is a great hub, and it doesn’t mean that we all have to go to Rehoboth. It means we have options here. Take a look at the map. Take a look at a 3- to 400-mile radius from where you live right now, and you’ll be surprised at what’s available to you that won’t be crowded, that will be accessible and that will give you a wonderful travel experience at an affordable cost.”

Greenberg’s advice? Aim for a small town that doesn’t have big high-rise hotels, theme parks or national parks.

“Social distancing is almost … the definition of a small town anyway, and as long as it’s not inundated, they can handle you and you can handle them. You’ll learn about American history, you can go antiquing, the restaurants won’t be neck and neck, and you’ll have a better chance of having a better experience within the boundaries of what’s acceptable social distancing and good hygiene principles.”

CBS News' Peter Greenberg on the kind of travel Americans will do

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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