Are you stuck in analysis paralysis? Have you seen so many RV’s that you can no longer remember which one had the Murphy bed and which was the bunkhouse? There comes a time when you have to take all the spreadsheets, pros and cons and checklists and just PICK ONE before you miss out on another season of camping!! Here’s one more checklist to help you choose the right RV for you. .
Tips for Choosing an RV
- Determine if you are going with a towable or a motor home. They each have their pros and cons and the decision will be different for everyone. A travel trailer allows you to have a touring vehicle available once you have unhitched and set up. A motor home will require you to break camp or tow a vehicle behind you to get around in once you have arrived but the travel itself is so luxurious. There’s also safety advantages to a motor home that are important to many solo women travelers. Being able to pull away without leaving your vehicle if you ever felt unsafe is a big plus to many women. The first step in pulling the trigger to your RV dream is to decide which type of RV best suits you.
- Decide which type of RVing you’re most likely to be doing. Do you want to boondock for long periods of time in remote places with no hook ups or access to water? If so you are going to want to be looking at units with large holding tanks, battery and generator power and solar panels to boost your ability to stay off the grid longer. If your plan is to resort camp at full hook up campgrounds for a few weekends a year, you may be happy with an entry level RV that keeps you cool in the heat and warm in the cold.
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- What are your kitchen, sleeping and bathroom needs? Do you love to cook? You are going to want to pay close attention to the available prep space, cabinet storage and refrigerator size in the kitchen of the RV you are considering. It’s also important to think about how many you want your RV to sleep. Will you use it alone or as a couple? Do you want the ability to host guests? Do you want a walk around bed or are you okay with a bed against the wall? Lastly, think about the bathroom. Do you prefer a three piece unit with a separate shower or can you live with a wet bath? Pay attention to the ventilation and lighting in the bathroom too. Many units have skylights and ceiling fans that make the bathrooms easier to keep mold free.
Pay attention to the kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area of the trailer and make sure it will meet your needs.
- Set a budget. Be sure to include the cost of annual maintenance, storage, insurance and purchase taxes in the price. Also include any upgrades you will need to make to your tow vehicle for weight distribution hitches, tow packages or lighting. Another budget component to add would be any after market products that you might want to purchase. Solar panels, tankless hot water heaters and keyless entries are a few common RV upgrades.
- Become an investigator. After you have narrowed down your choice, get online and start getting user feedback. Search the internet for user groups, chat rooms, and articles on the model that you are leaning toward. Check out the YouTube users for videos on the use and any problems the unit might have. It’s also a great place to see what modifications the owners are making. Consider renting one first from Outdoorsy or from a rental company. It could cost several hundred dollars to do this but could save you thousands if the weekend rental reveals that the bathroom, kitchen or floor plan is something that in realty is not practical for the style of camping you plan on doing. Go to RV shows and rallies and look at the different models in person. Lay on the bed, spin around in the kitchen and pretend you’re showering in the bathroom. Make sure you can use the unit comfortably.
- Choose a reputable dealer to buy from. Don’t let price be the sole factor in deciding where you will buy. Check out the online reviews of different dealerships and see what customers are saying. Look at their social media presence is like. If they have no online presence ask them why? Find out how many bays they have in their service department, what the wait is like to get a unit in for service and if they take their customers ahead of those with RV’s that were not purchased there. Ask what will be covered on pick up day. How long will the walk through take? Will you be allowed to video tape it? Pay attention to how you were treated when you first came in to browse? Were you greeted immediately? Before they showed you any units, did they listen to you and ask questions about what you wanted? Be aware that you can sometimes find a dealer that will sell you the unit at a lower price but they may not have the reputation or the ability to service it quickly.
- Decide on new or used. RV show season is a great time to get a great deal on a model you like but don’t discount the used RV either. Buying used from a reputable dealer allows the buyer to normally have at least a 90 day warranty that a buyer would not get from a private sale. A used RV from a dealer has also been completely gone over by their service department and any problems have been addressed. It is advisable to negotiate the start date of the warranty if you purchase the unit in the off season. Getting a warranty start date that begins at the start of the camping season when you will be able to use it and identify any problems. Lastly, buying used also allows you to scale your purchase, It is a way of getting into the unit you want by buying it at a lower price than the best year end sale of the same model brand new.
To see all the different types of RV’s available go to Go RVing.