Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or new to the lifestyle, shopping for an RV can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. With so many RV types, sizes, and features to choose from, there's a lot you should think about before buying to ensure you find the right RV for your needs.
If you don't know how to shop for an RV or what to consider — and what to avoid — as you look around for one, then you've come to the right place.
What to Avoid When Shopping for an RV
From budget and size to maintenance and comfort level, there's a lot to consider and be aware of as you go through the process of purchasing an RV. After reading through these points, you'll better know how to shop for an RV to get the best possible deal on the best possible vehicle.
1. Don't buy on impulse
Look, you're excited...it's natural to want the first RV you see. But is it wise to pull the trigger right away? No! Of course not. You should avoid making an impulsive big-ticket purchase with an RV. It is a huge investment, so there's no need to just dive in. Treat this purchase with the same sort of care you'd put into buying an actual house or a family car. Take your time and weigh your options, and you can avoid the mistake of overspending on an RV (and buyer's remorse afterward)!
2. Don't overspend (set a budget)
You'd be wise to set a budget before shopping for an RV and then stick to it. You'll have to factor other things in later, like maintenance and repairs. For the moment, though, remember that you'll have to cover upfront costs somehow; you'll also probably have a monthly loan payment for your RV; RVs aren't cheap, and you don't want your monthly payment to be so high it breaks your bank account.
By setting a budget and not budging on it, you can avoid overspending, and the later financial strain that doing so almost inevitably leads to. That can impact the enjoyment of your RV lifestyle and travels, which defeats the point of buying an RV, to begin with!
3. Don't avoid pre-owned RVs
Who in the market for an RV doesn't want a shiny, top-of-the-line and state-of-the-art, brand-new vehicle? Sure, that's the dream, but it's not so dreamy for your bank account; did you read the preceding point about not overspending? You'd be surprised how many people think that they have to buy new when shopping for an RV, but they're missing out on the best deals — and those are usually reserved for pre-owned RVs.
There are truly awesome used RVs for sale that offer the features you're looking for but for much less than you would pay for a brand-new rig.
As you shop for an RV and look at different types, lengths, and models? Look at the year and the mileage, too. A fantastic pre-owned RV could be waiting for you, reducing both the upfront and long-term costs for you!
4. Don't forget to research different RV types
Before you buy an RV, research and understand the many different RV types out there first. It'll do you well to familiarize yourself with the differences between motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-up campers, and so on.
Each type of RV/camper has its pros and cons; what the pros are to someone else might be the cons to you. It all depends on your plans and needs, so doing your own homework is essential; it's how you'll be able to choose an RV that fits your lifestyle and budget.
5. Don't overlook these features and your needs
When shopping for an RV, you need to make sure it's equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, and adequate sleeping spaces. The kitchen should have at least a mini fridge, if not a full-size one. The bathroom should be functional, with both a toilet and a shower.
As for your sleeping arrangements, be sure that an RV can handle the number of people you plan on having sleep in it.
You should want your RV to have other creature comforts, too. If it doesn't have a TV built in, does it at least have the ability for you to install one? Does it have an awning? If it doesn't, how easy or difficult will it be to install one of your own?
How about storage — does it have enough? What might you have to leave at home if you're planning on an extended road trip?
You're going to be using your RV as a home away from home on the road, so you need to ensure that you will be able to enjoy it that way before you buy.
6. Don't forget to factor in maintenance and repair costs
What is an RV? It's a vehicle, right? Yep, a BIG vehicle. And vehicles, big or small, need ongoing maintenance — and they sometimes need repairs, too. You gotta plan for potential breakdowns and unexpected repairs.
You can head some of this off by carrying out common maintenance for your RV. This includes regular check-ups and winterizing your vehicle if you'll be traveling during colder months. It'll cost you a bit to do it all, but add it up — it'll be cheaper than paying to repair frozen and/or burst pipes!
7. Don't buy without a test drive
What do you know about RV height and clearance? Have you ever backed a long vehicle into a parking space? Are you familiar with the turning radius of such a vehicle, its weight distribution, and how both can affect both right and left turns?
All these are issues that you'll have to deal with once you buy an RV, and you need to be as comfortable and confident as possible behind the wheel.
Different RV sizes and types can affect your driving experience, and this is why it's important to test drive an RV before making a purchase.
If you're satisfied with the exterior and marvel at the interior, you might be tempted to start the paperwork. Before you do, ask to take the rig out on a test drive; you might find issues with your driving experience that give you second thoughts.
Find Your Next RV with Cruise America
Now that you know how to shop for an RV and what to look out for, it's time for a visit to Cruise America. Cruise has a wide selection of pre-owned RVs just waiting to hit the road again. Will you be the lucky owner of one of them? Get in touch with Cruise America today to find your next RV!