First Time RV Buying for Dummies

With the camping and RV season quickly coming upon us many of you are out looking at and possibly even purchasing your very first RV! It is such an exciting experience to purchase your first RV, you begin to plan trips to new destinations you will visit during the Summer, find fun RV clubs to join, and even try to persuade some of your close friends to do the same and join you on your journey! RVing is a ton of fun and the best part is anyone and everyone can enjoy it.

Since this new RV is going to be such a big part of your life you want to make sure you are very thorough in the process of selecting the right RV for you or for you and your family. Doing an online search is a good way to get your foot in the door and see what is out there, see what you don’t like and what you do like before heading to the dealership or private party to make your big purchase.

A few things to initially consider are:

Would you rather have a drive-able RV or a tow-able trailer or 5th wheel?

When considering these two options you want to weigh the pros and cons of each. As they always say with an RV, the party starts as soon as you get on the road. With a trailer the vacation sets in once you have unpacked everything at your destination. Both require a lot of maintenance and up keep. (see our other blog about how to take care of your roof) An RV needs more mechanical work since it has a engine, but a trailer can put a lot of stress on the engine in your towing vehicle. There are many options to consider for this question, and some of the questions below will help guide you in your decision.

How much space do you really need?

Many of us like to have our space. We don’t like to be cramped and we want to sprawl out and relax, I mean it is a vacation right? But how much space do you REALLY need? Are you traveling with a small family, a large family, or even riding solo? Do you have any pets? These are all things to consider when picking out your first RV. Slideouts are a great way to keep everything compact until you arrive at your destination and they expand to create a much larger space. Some RVs have none, one, two, etc. it all depends on what fits you the best! Too much space is not good, but too small of space can be even worse.

Will you be taking long trips or short weekend getaways?

I think this question is really important because the average length of your trip will affect what size and type of RV or trailer you are going to buy. If you have the time and plan on going on longer trips you will want get something larger so you can store everything you want to bring along with you. If you are a weekend warrior or plan on going on shorter trips, a smaller more compact RV or trailer would be ideal so you can get there a little quicker, you don’t need as much storage space, and you will have less to take care of when its time to pack up and leave!

Will you be traveling with pets?

Most of us have pets and like to take our pets EVERYWHERE with us. They are a part of the family. So if you decide you will be traveling with pets you will need to make sure whichever RV or trailer you pick has a spot for your furry friend. You don’t want them to be uncomfortable during the ride, nobody likes a whining co-pilot!

Do you want a fixer upper or something turn key?

It is almost always cheaper to build or re-model something ourselves, but it takes a lot of time. There are plenty of RVs and trailers out there that could use some TLC. With the right tools and skills you can turn a not so great RV or trailer into something custom that fits you perfectly. However, without these said skills and tools it can be extremely difficult and time consuming to take on a project like this in which case is it best to just buy something turn key. You will be ready hit the road in no time!

Do you have a favorite place you like to go? If so what is it like traveling there?

It is a good idea to initially plan a few places that you like to visit or that you know you want to visit sometime in the future. You will want to map out the roads and check to see how RV or trailer friendly they are, it will take time away from your trip if you are taking the long way around avoiding bad roads. For the most part the road conditions are usually ok and there will always be a few roads that will test your driving skills, but that’s just part of the adventure!

Where will you store the RV or trailer?

If you do not have RV or trailer storage at your home you will want to check out a few storage facilities before purchasing your new RV or trailer. Find a place that is above all affordable and easily accessible from your home or from work. Do some research on your top picks and read reviews from fellow RVers that have stored there rigs there before. Vandalism and theft are 2 big red flags you want to look for when reading these reviews.

 Lastly, if you really want to make sure you are ready to purchase your first RV go out and rent one for the weekend! There are plenty of RV rental companies across the United States and they have a huge selection of rentals. You can rent anything from a Class A full sized RV to a small travel trailer. Once you have a chance to experience RVing first hand you will be ready to make your decision and figure out what is best for you!

Happy Buying!