"We had looked at places in Florida … but we're the type of people who do not want to do the same thing every year," said Linda Abel, a retired middle-school teacher. "We want to see different places. You have any place open to you in the U.S. you want to go. There are campgrounds everywhere. You've got your own space and can do it on your own timetable. If you don't like that place, you can pick up and go the next day."
Merkel, of Leo's Vacation Center, said his RV sales have grown about 10 percent a year over the past two years. He sells RVs that range from a $5,000 camper to a $300,000 motor coach.
One customer, Ron German, who is in the military and is stationed at Fort Meade, decided to buy a travel trailer after going tent camping a few years ago with his wife and three children. After a downpour one night, campers at a nearby site invited the family into their trailer.
"The minute my wife walked in, she was sold," said German, an Annapolis resident. "It felt like a second home. All the amenities were there."
Two years ago, the family bought a 29-foot trailer with a bunk area for the kids, full bath, kitchen, living room and master bedroom. The savings on hotels and restaurants has meant the family can go on more trips, German said.
Moreover, he added, "It's a huge family bonding experience."
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