If you’re in the market for an RV, an RV Show is definitely the best place to compare different coaches from all the local dealers. It’s also a place to find great deals. Read on for our tips to make the RV show experience the best it can be.
Recently, my husband, Dan, and I attended the Acadiana RV Show in Lafayette, LA with our family. We were armed with all the knowledge an RV family with 12 kids and a dog needs to know … our budget.
A dismal number for sure, but we don’t let that stop us from dreaming, right? I mean, I am not the Unstoppable Traveling Mom for nothing.
Given the fact that RV season is in full swing, RV Shows are popping up in every town and city in America. To help you navigate the scene like a pro, here are 9 RV Show Tips and Secrets to help make your RV Show experience awesome:
TIP: Wear Comfortable Shoes
RV Shows typically cover a lot of ground, so it’s a given that you will be walking great distances to see the different RV’s and trailers. Be sure to bring your Fit Bit’s!
And, don’t forget water, lots of water, and snacks, you know, for the kids. Sometimes the kids luck out with free popcorn or cotton candy from the vendor’s, but I bring my own “healthy” snacks just in case.
TIP: Know Your Budget
Budgets suck, it would be so much more fun if there was no such thing as a budget. But this is the real world and your budget dictates what you can drive off in, so it’s a good idea to know your numbers. Will you be focusing on the luxury RV’s or the budget friendly ones? Or maybe something in between? You can often find really great deals at an RV show and if you intend to make a purchase. It’s also a good idea to already have financing ahead of time.
TIP: Know How You Plan To Travel
Many (too many) RV’s are designed with two travelers in mind, these are not conducive to family travel. So you need to weed these out by asking yourself the following questions…
Will you be inviting friends or family to join you? Is there ample seating and sleeping? Is there enough storage for additional clothes and food? Do you love to cook and expect to continue while traveling? Will you visit campgrounds with hook ups or go off the grid and “boondock”? How often do you plan to travel? Will you be driving mountain roads or primarily be chilling by the beach?
Diesel vs gas engines is definitely an important factor when buying an RV … do your research. If you have basic knowledge of how you will be using your RV, and if you’ll have guests, you will know what is important in your future RV.
TIP: Do Your Leg Work
Literally. If you are new to the world of RVing, then you may not be aware of how varying the different makes and models are. Thoroughly check each RV out.
Lay on the bed, sit on the sofas. Pretend to cook a meal, take a shower, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Now pretend to come back from a day on the beach, the trail or the river. Is the layout comfortable and relaxing? Is the TV in a good spot or can you foresee a kinked neck after an hour or so?
Will you have to work a bit in the RV? If so, is there a spot conducive to working?
Playing a little bit of house will help you narrow down your needs and wants and will inevitably help you choose your RV!
TIP: Take Notes & Photos
You think you will remember everything you see, but I promise you that is not even remotely possible. Plus, as you tour more and more RV’s your perspective will change and you’ll want to revisit certain models.
For instance, you will notice that some rigs have induction burners and some have a gas range. You’ll see that some have a gas oven while others offer a convection oven. Most RV’s have one bathroom, while a few have 1.5 baths or even 2. Some have the kitchen in front, and others in the back of the main living space. Some have chairs around the dining table, while others have bench seats.
The more RV’s you tour, the more you will get a feel for what you want and what you need. And your notes and photos will help you remember which models were which. I am notorious for asking “wait, which trailer had that awesome family room?”. “What was the name of the flooring in that one RV that I liked?” LOL!. I now take notes and photos!
TIP: Check the Show Schedule
Oftentimes RV Shows will have guest speakers who are veteran RV travelers and they are on hand to answer questions. Some even give presentations. Utilize their knowledge.
While we were at the Acadiana RV Show in Lafayette, LA we were asked by a family of 6 to tour an RV with them and point out what we saw as good selling points as well as possible downsides for a particular RV they were thinking about buying. We spent about 45 minutes with them running through their typical day, it was super fun and we had a blast playing house!!
Don’t be shy, ask questions of everyone there!!
TIP: Test Drive
Drive the rig! Just as you would never buy a car off the lot without the fun of a joy ride, don’t buy an RV without taking it for a spin.
You want an RV that is easy to handle, so talk with the dealers about the various technologies each of the manufacturers offer. For example, Newmar offers Comfort Drive advanced technology. Dan & I can literally maneuver the steering wheel with one finger, even in strong winds!
Also, when driving an RV you will see that your visibility is off the charts amazing. You have a huge windshield and extremely large mirrors. Check the locations of the mirrors, the controls, etc. to ensure the placement suits you. And, of course, have fun!!
TIP: Don’t OVERTHINK
Don’t settle, don’t ever settle, and be sure everything will work for you … the colors, the flooring, the layout, etc., because these RV’s last forever, and you’re likely to have it for a long time.
But if you find THE RV that you just love, don’t over analyze it. If it’s within your budget and your family is excited … go for it. Purchasing an RV is ridiculously fun and exciting and it will provide your family with a home away from home for years.
If you find yourself panicking, just focus on the memories you will be making, the fun that’s to be had and the bonding experience that will ensue.
Then It’s Time To Celebrate! After signing the papers, go home and pop open a bottle of champagne, post photos all over facebook and Instagram and start planning your first adventure. And tag KelloggShow because we wanna see your new ride!!