ORLANDO, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do many things, right down to how we take vacations. People seem to be opting toward road trips, but not necessarily in their cars.
Normally, the lot at El Monte RV Rental and Sales in Orlando is full of vehicles, but recently it's been just about — if not fully — empty. The motorhomes they have for rent are on the open road, with experienced drivers and first-timers behind the wheel.
"I've never driven an RV, I've driven some other large vehicles, but never an RV, no," said Christopher Stinnett.
Stinnett and his soon-to-be wife made the trek to Central Florida from Washington state to rent their RV.
"We came out here in just a Tahoe, and you know, that makes it a little more difficult, because we were trying to isolate, so we slept in the Tahoe," Stinnett said.
Christopher's soon-to-be mother in-law is going through cancer treatment, and they're taking her back to Washington for a while. That's why the RV idea worked for them.
"For her, just isolating because of the chemo, she won't have to go in to the gas stations or anything or be exposed to a lot of stuff," Stinnett said.
The level of convenience in a motorhome is huge.
"You take your bedroom with you, you take your bathroom with you, you take your kitchen with you," said Gordon Hewston with El Monte.
Hewston told Spectrum News rental popularity has increased over 20 years. During just the last few months during the pandemic, rentals are up around 400% over last year. We checked with other rental places in our area, some are booked for weeks and months.
"We disinfect the units as soon as they come back from a rental," Hewston described. "Then, we fix them up if they need it, we clean them thoroughly, and then we disinfect them again."
Hewston said RV's from El Monte are priced like hotels and airlines, depending on the time of year and how soon you want it.
"You can self-isolate if you want to, you can go be sociable if you want to, it's the perfect way to travel right now," Hewston said.
Stinnett said he may look at having his own.
"If this goes well, yeah, we'll look into it, for sure," he said.