Are you searching for an RV for you or your family for vacations and road trips? Dave and I recently attended the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, Florida. And with so many RV models available, we were reminded just how confusing it can be to choose the right RV. Here are nine tips to help you focus and choose the right RV.
First of all, choosing an RV is exciting! And, a great way to look at numerous RVs is to attend an RV show. But, if you don’t do some research and soul searching ahead of time, your fun can turn to frustration quickly. With so many types of RVs, RV shows can be overwhelming. And, RV salespeople can confuse you even more. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right RV for you.
Tiffin Motorhomes Class C Wayfarer 25LW
Determine Your Budget
Just like any significant purchase, you need to establish what your budget is. RVs range in price from several thousand dollars up to over a million. If you set a budget limit, it will help you stay on track. And help you avoid the heartbreak of falling in love with something out of your price range. The larger the RV and the more options and technology, the more the RV will cost. So, establish your budget. Then begin your search for RVs in that price range.
NuCamp T@B Teardrop Trailer
Think About the Type of RVing You Want to Do
One of the most important things to decide is what type of RVing you want to do, and where you want to take your RV. Will you spend more time at RV resorts? Or do you want to do more off-grid, off-road camping? Perhaps you want to stay in all the National Park campgrounds. You don’t have to choose one or the other. The point is to give thought to what type of RVing you enjoy most. Then, align your style with the RV best suited for that style.
Coachmen Expedition Travel Trailer
Tiffin Motorhomes Class A Phaeton 40 AH Schoodic Woods Campground, Maine
We love to take our motorhome camping in natural settings. And we like to boondock (camp without hookups). One of our favorite ways to boondock is with Harvest Hosts. These are beautiful locations on farms, wineries, and more, where you can camp overnight. For more information about Harvest Hosts click here .
Dave and I boondocking at a beautiful Alpaca Farm, Harvest Host location in Maine.
Don’t Forget to Think About Seasonality
In addition to where you want to go RVing, ask yourself when you plan to go as well. Do you want to RV all year long? Seasonality and climate can guide your RV choice too. Do you like to camp in the fall and winter? If so, ask questions about the heating system or systems on the RV. You don’t necessarily need a four-season RV to camp in winter, but if you plan to do a lot of winter camping, it might be worth checking out some of the four-season RVs. Will you RV in mostly warmer climates? If so, make sure you have enough air conditioners to sufficiently cool down the RV.
Consider How Much Space You Want and Need
Space is a significant consideration when selecting an RV. Look critically at RV length, the floor plan, and storage. Does it meet your family needs? Are you a family with kids and pets that needs a lot of room? Or a couple that wants to live minimally? Maybe you need extra space for your crafting hobby. Tour as many RVs as you can. This will help you determine what amount of space is right for you.
Dave is checking out the R-Pod travel trailer by Forest River.
Consider What Length RV You Want
RV length is related to how much living space you’ll have. But the length can also determine what type of campgrounds you can fit in too. Some campgrounds, state parks, and National Parks do have length limits. Not all, but some. So if your goal is to stay in smaller campgrounds most of the time, definitely give serious consideration to RV length.
Dave exploring the Winnebago Travato Class B Camper Van.
Airstream Classic 25FB Bunk Model Travel Trailer (Below)
How big an RV do you want? RVs range in size from the tiniest teardrop camper to Class B Camper Vans, all the way up to 45-foot motorhomes. At 40 feet (see below), we’ve been happy with the size of our RV as we live in it full-time. There are some smaller campgrounds we can’t fit into due to our size. But for us, the living and storage space is worth not always fitting in some smaller campgrounds and National Parks.
Our Class A Tiffin Phaeton 40 AH
Factor in Weather As You Consider Space
Don’t forget to factor in bad weather as you think about how much space you need. RVs are small and get smaller quickly when you are stuck inside during bad weather. So, give thought to how little space you can tolerate before you go stir crazy. We thought our 40-foot motorhome was large. And, on great weather days when we are outside, it is. But, after weeks of endless rain and being inside, 40 feet felt very small.
Create a List of Your Must-Have Features Inside and Out
Think about the things you really want on the RV. For example, do you want a drive-able RV with a car in tow? Or do you already have a truck you love and want a travel trailer or Fifth Wheel to tow behind? Also, do you have a preference for a gas coach or diesel? If you plan to do a lot of off-grid camping, do you want an on-board generator and solar panels? Maybe you’ve had your heart set on the iconic look of an Airstream or a Vintage camper. Whatever elements are on your list, let those and your budget be your starting point.
Gulfstream Vintage Cruiser-Travel Trailer (Below)
Interior of Tiffin Motorhomes Allegro Bus 35 CP (Below)
Now, determine your must-haves on the INSIDE of the RV. Think about this room-by-room. Do you need a king-size bed? How about a bunk area for the kids to sleep in? Does your family need a bath and ½? What about your eating area? Table and chairs, or a booth? Or a work-station that doubles as an eating area. Carefully decide what you need and want and keep moving forward. You’re getting closer to your RV.
Don’t Forget To Make a Wish List.
Now that you know what’s on your practical list, create your wish list. Are you dreaming of a washer and dryer in your RV? How about a cozy fireplace? What about an outdoor kitchen? We like to balance our must-have list with a few wish list items to get closest to the RV that will make us comfortable and happy!
Try Things on For Size
This means any feature or option you can try out; you should. Get in the shower. See if the shower is tall enough for you and others in your family. Climb up on the bed. Is it long enough? Sit in the driver and passengers seat, are they comfortable and does the seat height work? Me testing out the leather sofa in the Tiffin Allegro Bus 35CP. It’s very comfortable!
In our previous RV, we never sat on the couch when we bought it. It turned out to be miserably uncomfortable. Ultimately, we sold that RV. Also, look around and ask yourself questions. Can I see the TV? Or do I have to strain my neck to see it? How about the kitchen layout? Stand there and imagine yourself fixing a meal. Is there enough space to prep and cook? I love my kitchen pull-out island. Try out everything you can. It will help you avoid surprises once you get the RV home.
First, take your must-have and your wish- list with you as you search. Second, look at as many RV models and floor plans in person as you can. Third, ask questions about quality, safety, and customer service. Also, join some Facebook owners groups of the Brand of RV you are interested in. Pay attention to owner comments. You can learn a lot about quality and customer service from owner groups and their experiences.
Lastly, have fun! When your feet get tired of touring RV’s and your eyes blur from internet searches, remind yourself just how much fun it will be when you are on the road to explore!
If you are interested in full-time RVing, check out the article here for things you can do today to get started.
To see numerous RV video tours from our visit to the Florida RV Supershow, check out our Youtube Channel youtube.com/outdoormoretoexplore.