In late November we took our last RV camping trip for 2009. We had a great time and when we returned I cleaned the RV, winterized it, and prepared it for storage. When I closed the garage door behind me the reality sank in that there would be no more RV adventures until sometime this coming spring. It’s always a bit depressing to park the RV with no plans to use it for two or three months. It’s sort of like when football season ends, or your favorite television program ends, and you need to wait several months for the next season to begin.
What I discovered can help you through these rough times is to attend some RV shows. You might need to park the RV for awhile but that doesn’t mean you can’t think about RV’s, look at RV’s, or plan the next trip in your RV.
RV shows offer the avid RVer a fix to get through the wintertime RV blues. You don’t need to be in the market for a new RV to attend an RV show. It’s a lot of fun to just look at all the new RV models coming out and to dream a little bit. If you’re not shopping for an RV just be careful and keep reminding yourself that you’re only there to look. With all of the excitement, not to mention a good salesperson, it’s easy to make a hasty buying decision.
There is a lot of ground to cover at an RV show and a wealth of information available. RV shows aren’t just for RV dealers to showcase their new products. RV shows are a great source of information from knowledgeable representatives on every aspect of the RV industry. You will find information on campgrounds, RV resorts and new destinations you can visit. You will get to see a wide variety of RV aftermarket products and accessories available for RVers, and many times there will be some great RV seminars you can attend. RV shows are a good place to talk to RV manufacturer representatives and other industry experts too. Many of the RV manufacturers send knowledgeable representatives to assist RV dealers with their products. This is a good opportunity to ask any questions you might have about a particular RV brand or model. RV shows are also a great place to just talk with other RVers. Many of these people have years of RV experience and knowledge of different RV related products.
If you are a new RVer, or if you are in the market for a new RV, these shows are a great place to start your research. RV dealers come from miles away to attend RV shows. When you attend an RV show don’t be afraid to ask questions about the RV dealership and the products they have to offer. Not only will you find a good selection of RV dealers to check out, but there will be every make and model of RV imaginable too. RV shows are a great place to do some comparison shopping too. Keep in mind that RV’s are available in entry, mid-line, and high-end models. When comparing prices, make sure it is apples to apples. One RV may look like another one, but you need to compare the options, construction, equipment and features they both have to offer. If you are in the market to buy an RV you should have some idea of what your needs are, what you want, and how you plan to use the RV. This is extremely important. Here are a few things to consider before you buy at an RV show.
- What type of RV is best suited for you and your family?
- What type of floor plan will work best for you and your family?
- What price and monthly payment will comfortably fit in your budget?
- Do you plan to travel cross-country with the RV or is it going to be set up at one location and left there?
- If you’re going to be towing the RV is the tow vehicle capable of handling the weight of the RV and do you have the proper hitch work to safely tow it?
- How many people will be in the RV and what are the sleeping requirements?
- Is there enough seating space?
- Do you need a slide-out(s) for additional living space?
- Is there enough exterior storage, and are the storage compartments large enough to accommodate what you plan to take?
- Is there enough closet, cabinet and drawer space for all of your personal belonging?
- Are there enough cabinets and drawers in the kitchen? Don’t forget about the pots and pans.
- How much counter space does it have in the kitchen? Is it enough?
- Where is the dinette table in relation to the range, oven and the refrigerator? Does it make sense?
- How does the bed feel when you lay down? Is it long enough and wide enough?
- Are there windows where you want windows?
- Can you reach the microwave?
- Is the A/C ducted throughout the unit? If not will it cool the entire unit?
- Do you prefer a split bathroom where the shower is separate, or a bathroom where everything is together?
- Is the bathroom big enough? Can you stand up in the shower and sit on the toilet?
- How much fresh water can you take with you? Is it enough?
- How large are the gray water and black water holding tanks? Are they large enough for the way you plan to use the RV?
- How much LP gas does it hold? Is it enough for how you plan to use the RV?
- If you want a motorhome drive it before you buy it.
- Do you need a generator?
- If equipped with a TV where is it located in relation to the seating arrangements?
- How long is the warranty for on the RV? Do you need extended coverage to protect your investment?
- How is the RV constructed?
- If you’re buying a motor home do you want gas or diesel? Which type is more practical for how you plan to use it?
- Does the RV have the options that you want?
This is just a partial list, but it should help you make a more informed decision before you purchase an RV. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, RVIA, offers a very good, searchable database to assist you in locating upcoming RV shows near you. RV shows are usually advertised on local television and radio stations too. There is also a list of 17 RV Shows around the nation here on the blog, sorted by state and date.
So what are you waiting for? Find out when the next RV show will be in your area and make it a point to attend. This can be just the RV fix you need until it’s time to take your RV out of storage for another great camping season. Oh, and don’t forget to wear some comfortable walking shoes too!
If you’re new to RVing and/or are considering purchasing an RV be sure to check out our latest DVD release, An Introduction to RV’s.