SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Fears about the novel coronavirus are forcing many people to rethink traditional air travel and hotel stays of past summers and look into recreational vehicles as a safer alternative. Some RV and camper dealerships have seen an increase in sales of up to 170 percent, and many customers are first-time buyers. Consumer Reports gives us a beginner's guide to motorhomes.
A motorhome allows you and your family to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing. It even allows you to avoid places you might feel uncomfortable being in, like a hotel or restaurant. With an RV, you bring everything with you.
There are two types of RV to consider: a motorhome that combines the living quarters and vehicle in one package, and a travel trailer. Be aware that some motorhomes may not have to meet all of the same safety standards as passenger cars and are not generally crash-tested.
RELATED: 'Off the rails': RV sales booming as Bay Area residents hit the road to escape COVID-19 woes
Motorhomes can provide comfort, but they can be a big hit to your wallet. A travel trailer is a more affordable option. You'll need a vehicle to tow it, but you may already own one.
Larger fifth-wheel-style trailers require a heavy-duty pickup to tow. Smaller travel trailers, like traditional pop-up and lightweight travel trailers, can be towed by most SUVs or even cars with a tow hitch.
These trailers are also more fuel-efficient to haul around, and you can get in one starting around $10,000.
RELATED: Getting the most out of a car trade-in
Whichever style of RV fits your budget, Consumer Reports recommends buying one with as many safety features, like backup cameras and electronic stability control, as you can afford.
If you want to try before you buy, you're not alone. The rental site RVshare has reported a huge spike in business since April. CR says if you'll be using a rented recreational vehicle, check the cleaning policies of your host or the rental company before you book.
All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2020 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit ConsumerReports.org.
Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.
How to look for motorhomes, RV's: Here's a beginner's guide from Consumer Reports