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Central Coast Comeback: traveling during the pandemic

Family RV cleans motor home
KION

(KION) The COVID-19 pandemic halted travel in and out of the Central Coast for several months, but now as the economy begins to return, so are vacations for some.

“Are they willing to go jump in a jet? No probably not. They want their own safe space, their own safe haven,” General Manager of Family RV in Morgan Hill Chrystal Del Castillo said.

Motor homes have become that safe haven for many looking to travel, while still staying safe. Eric Beattie from San Francisco just returned from a trip to Washington in a rental RV.

“Just load the thing up with food and water and use the restroom on the van, and not have to stop for anything except RV parks and filling up gas,” Beattie said.

When the RV is returned, it gets a thorough disinfectant fogging that cleans the inside.

The majority of Family RV’s business is vacation rentals and temporary housing. Like most other industries that came to an abrupt pause in March.

“In rentals about $700,000 in cancellations in a two to three week period of time,” Del Castillo said.

The RV company rebounded quickly when FEMA approached them and Family RV rented out about half their motor homes for medical and other essential workers. Then come memorial day weekend, business spiked.

“Things just kind of flipped a switch, and everyone was ready to get out and travel,” Del Castillo said.

Some may be a bit more reluctant to stay at a hotel, but Coachman’s Inn, tucked away in Carmel-by-the-Sea, has spent months making coronavirus changes.

“This is really about prevention and keeping our industry alive as we move forward through next phases,” Coachman Inn President Tamara Mims said.

Most added amenities like the wine and social hour had to take a back seat, but the Inn instead is offering picnics to go for couples.

“It’s a different experience, but I think it's encouraging just a unique experience in our locations and regions,” Mims said.

Come July, the hotel hopes to take another step towards bringing back more features, but like all in the travel industry and beyond it will continue to be a waiting game.

“It's completely unknown this year. It’s kind of a gamble,” Del Castillo said.

Central Coast Comeback / Monterey County / Santa Clara County / Top Stories

Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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