Jim Swenson knows exactly why recreational vehicles are so popular.

The administrator of parks for Nebraska Game and Parks bought one a few years ago.

"It's a quick easy way to give yourself a home away from home and to take it to a park location that offers diverse amenities and fun family activities to enjoy,'' Swenson said. "It is a great way to share time with family and develop fond outdoor memories and traditions".

It's also a good way to travel and keep your social distance during a pandemic. Campers can control when and how they are exposed to crowds, said Jeremy Greene, senior director, events & marketing, for the RV Industry Association.

It's an option that lots of people who have been stuck at home for months are eager to explore.

Greene said among dealers who have opened nationally, some are reporting as much as an 170% increase in sales compared to last year, mainly from first-time buyers. According to the RV Industry Association, 46 million Americans plan on taking an RV trip in the next 12 months.

RV rentals are up, too.

At Leach Camper Sales of Lincoln, rentals have skyrocketed since campgrounds began opening up, said the company's Bryce Schneider.

"Every other phone call is a rental,'' he said.

One of their five campers rents from between $1,100 to $1,300 a week with a fee for mileage. But they are almost fully booked through the end of July.

On sites such as outdoorsy.com, people can rent an RV locally from as low as $80 a night to $350 for a Thor Freedom Traveler that sleeps six.

Renting is an easier option than buying if you plan to only camp a few times a year, Schneider said. It also gives you a chance to see if you like it.

"You've got your food, your generator and your bathroom,'' he said. "You are all set to go.''

Check out the full article from the Omaha World-Herald here.