RV Shows: One-Stop RV Shopping

RV shows are like the megamalls of the RV world

RV and camping shows are where multiple dealers gather to bring their latest models and offer deals. This provides a great opportunity for prospective buyers to wander between different brands, dealers, models, check out various floor plans, ask questions, meet other RVers, and find the RV that best suits their needs.

How to Prepare For an RV Show

Under the Big Tent – the Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

With the height of RV show season in full swing, thousands of potential buyers will attend one of the many fun-filled events taking place across the US and Canada.

The biggest mistake attendees make when attending an RV show is not doing their homework to determine what it is that they really want in an RV. Many shoppers will walk into a 36-foot Class A motorhome and say, “Oh this is great, it’s exactly what we want.” They’ll then proceed to walk into a 45-foot motor coach and realize that more stuff will fit into a 45-footer than in a 36-footer. Being absolutely overwhelmed, they end up leaving the RV show frustrated and more undecided than when they arrived.

Viewing a toy hauler at the Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

In preparation for an RV show, first determine the type of RV best suited for your current family situation and lifestyle, minimum and maximum length you could live with comfortably, and your budget. When setting a budget, consider insurance and license costs, maintenance and storage, in addition to total cost of RV including sales tax and fees. Keep in mind that you don’t want to purchase a 40-foot rig if 32 feet is the maximum length that will fit in your driveway.

Think about whether you want motorized or towable? If motorized, gas or diesel? If towable, what is the GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) of your tow vehicle? This will determine the weight of a trailer you can legally and safely tow.

In addition to new motorhomes and trailers RV shows offer parts and supplies of interest to RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Think about how many people your RV will need to sleep.

How easy is it to hook up and unhook?

All of this helps to narrow your focus so you’re not wasting your time examining RVs that don’t fit your needs or your budget.

FMCA rally in Indio, California offers seminars and workshops of interest to RVers in addition to displays of new coaches and RV-related services © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The four basic questions to ask yourself before purchasing an RV are:

  • Will it meet my needs?
  • Is it built to last?
  • What happens down the road?
  • Will the manufacturer and dealership stands behind the RV?
An RV show and rally sponsored by Freightliner Chassis held in Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

With that being said, customers are always going to have questions, as they should. Part of the reason shoppers attend RV shows is to receive guidance from experienced product experts. It’s not always easy to decide on the right RV for you, and sales consultants and manufacturer’s representative are there to help.

If you want to measure a coach and see what it looks like with the slides in or any of that kind of thing, get to the show in the early morning. There won’t be as large a crowd and you can sit in different RVs and really get a feel for each one.

Entertainment is often a key component of RV shows and rallies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Don’t grab every brochure you come across. People often walk around grabbing this brochure and that brochure and at the end of the day they’re carrying around 10 pounds of product literature. If you know you’re in the market for a Class A motorhome, you’ll regret it later if you start loading up on travel trailer brochures.

And of course, dress comfortably. Bring a bottle of water, wear comfortable shoes, and be ready to do some walking. If you’re not dressed comfortably, you’re not going to enjoy yourself.

FMCA Show and Rally in Perry, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

An RV show can be a great opportunity for customers who know what they want to get a great deal. The more prepared you are going into a show, the more likely you are to be able to take advantage of show-based incentives and discounts.

Check out the new rigs for numerous manufacturers at an RV show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Consider this: A dealer requires considerable time and effort to setup and display their units for show. Afterward, the dealer had to break down all of the unsold units, transport them back to the lot, clean them up, and get them ready to display all over again.

One of the most important things to remember is if you don’t feel comfortable with a particular salesperson, move on. An RV is a major purchase, so make sure you find someone you’re comfortable with who has the knowledge and expertise to make your experience a great one.

And the sun sets on another RV Show and rally © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Worth Pondering…

I don’t think you can call yourself a true American until you’ve been behind the wheel of an RV … I love seeing parts of the country I wouldn’t otherwise.

—Jeff Daniels, actor