What you need to know before buying your first RV
RVs can be a great way to travel and explore. There are a wide variety of RVs available, including campers, trailers, motorhomes and more. You just have to decide which is right for you.
Begin by understanding your “RV style.”
What type of camping do you want to do? Do you stick to RV parks, or does your family prefer the relatively civilized state of national park systems with their well-maintained roads and on-site bathroom and shower facilities? Or maybe you like to venture into untamed back country where facilities, not to mention roads, might be less available.
Who’s with you?
How many people do you usually take camping? Are you a lone camper, or do you have a family to accommodate?
How long are your camping trips? Are you an overnight camper? A weekend warrior? Do you hit the road for days on end and only return home when you run out of funds or time?
Road type, quality
Will you be driving mostly paved roads or mostly unpaved roads? If you plan to hit the back roads with unpaved surfaces and potentially steep inclines, you’ll want to understand the limits and capabilities of any RV you may purchase.
Your comfort level
How long can you go without a soft bed, hot shower and flush toilet? If you need those things, and you’re not planning to stick to parks with maintained facilities, you’ll want to bring them with you.
Do your favorite camping spots have length restrictions? Most RVs come in a range of lengths. Do your research before you buy, or you may be squeezed out of your favorite spots.
How often do you plan to travel?
If you hit the road every weekend you may want an RV that you can load up at the beginning of the season with everything you need for your trips. If you’ll only get out once or twice a year, your RV will be in storage most of the time. And if you’ll be keeping linens and other items in the vehicle while it’s in storage, you’ll need to keep the interior dry. Carefully consider your storage options and costs.
At your destination
Once you arrive at your destination, will you remain parked or will you spend your time driving around to the sights? Some RVs can easily accommodate road touring while others are more challenging. Can you tow a small car? Can you unhitch your RV and leave it in place?
Know your eating habits
Do you like to eat out when traveling, cook over a campfire or prepare full meals? A family that sits down to a home-cooked meal every night may want the convenience of a full kitchen while on the road.
Before you buy
After you have a short list of potential models:
Consider renting one for a trip to make sure it fits your needs. Ask your RV dealer if they rent the RV you are considering purchasing.
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