• Jessica Rider

5 Tips For Surviving An RV Camper Show

An RV camper show is so exciting, right?


There are hundreds of RV campers that you can climb in and out of to try to find the one that fits you the best. But buying your first RV, or buying a new RV, can be very overwhelming!

For some, an RV show is just for something to do in the middle of winter. It gets them excited for Spring and camping season. For others though, they are going with the serious intention of buying a camper. 


For us, both times we bought campers at a show we were “just-looking” at campers with no intention of buying. However, there are a few things that we always kept in mind when we went RV shopping, which helped us to make the right decision for us.   

These are some RV show tips that helped us to find the right camper.   


Understand what your vehicle can pull

Take a look at the inside of the driver’s side of your truck or whatever you are using to pull a camper. There should be a weight in which your vehicle is rated to pull. For example, when we bought our first camper, our 2005 Dodge Ram was rated to pull 7000lbs. We knew we didn’t want to max that out with a camper so when we went to the show, we looked at campers around the 5000lb mark. 


Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely looked at the big beautiful ones, because well a girl has to dream right? But in reality, I knew that we were focused on getting a smaller camper within what we could pull. 


You also have to keep in mind that you are going to add anywhere from 500 – 1000lbs worth of stuff to your camper so just because the camper is under the max weight, you still need to consider all the stuff you are putting in the camper as well.   


Take the minute to see what your vehicle is rated to pull, so you go into the show knowing the type of camper you should be looking at.


Have an idea of what your budget is. 

Most likely you are not walking in with a check and paying cash for a camper. If you are, awesome! But more times than not you are probably financing an RV purchase. 

Know what camper rates are and what loan terms you can get. Typically if you purchase something over the $50,000 mark you can get a longer term note, such as 20 years. Anything less than that you may be looking at a 10-12 year note.    


A simple calculation online at a website like bankrate.com can do a monthly payment calculation for you.     


Understand what your budget is and what you can afford. This will help you stay within the right areas of the show. Again nothing wrong with jumping in the big monster campers but understand what the payment on that looks like. 


Understand that the “show” prices are not always that great

Everyone is going to be running a “show sale.” But keep in mind it costs those dealers to have their campers at the show, get the campers to the show and then pay all their staff to be there.    The show is a big ordeal for these dealers and there are added expenses that they normally don’t have on their own showrooms.    


Guess who eats that cost?  YOU!


So do your homework a few weeks in advance and see what the prices on the campers are and then compare to the show prices.  You can always wait until after the show as well and see if there are better prices.    


Be smart and consider all the circumstances of the “show price!”


Don’t feel pressured.

The dealers are going to have a large number of their staff there and they will all be running around trying to sell as many campers as possible.  That is their goal! Sell as many campers as they can. It cost them a lot of money to be at the show so the more campers they sell the more they will recoup the cost of the show. 


But don’t feel pressured into making a decision right there!


That camper that you fell in love with at the show will be back on their lot next week and if it’s not they can order it for you.  Now if you go to the show and you are ready to buy and you find the right salesman that does take the time to focus on you and help you, then by all means buy, buy buy!  But don’t feel pressured. Take your time and find the right camper for you. 


Don’t be afraid to lay on the bed, put your feet up and get comfortable in the one you like. 

Look you are going to be hopefully spending a lot of time in this camper so get comfortable in it. Don’t let the fact that other people will be climbing in and out of the same camper make you feel rushed.    


If you are serious and you find a camper that you really like, get comfortable in it.   Put your feet up just like you would if you were camping. Lay on the bed! See how the kids do climbing in and out of the bunks. Sit on the toilet and see where your knees hit. Imagine where you are going to be putting your stuff in it.    


Seriously, make yourself at home!


If you are ready to buy at the show and you have done all your homework then, by all means, kick your feet up and get ready to relax.   


Buying at the show can be a great experience, we bought both our campers at a show.    Now I will say neither was an exemplary experience and there are tons of room for improvement but we learned a lot. The biggest things to keep in mind are what I detailed here. Do your homework and be prepared.   


Then find the perfect fit for you and your family.    

#camping #buyinganRV #RVcamping #RVshow #RVshopping

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