Taking Delivery of your RV: Do’s & Don’ts

What to expect when taking delivery of your new RV

The process of buying and taking ownership of an RV can be a bit confusing if not downright daunting especially for a first-time RV buyer. Many folks expect the process to be similar to purchasing an automobile and in some ways it is. Shopping, negotiating, and financing will be very familiar to anyone who has ever bought a car. But after that, things get a bit more complicated.

Remember, you are purchasing a house on wheels so the process might take a little longer than you initially expected. Don’t get frustrated. If your dealer takes time to inspect and prep your rig and you take time to learn how to use it your RV experience will be that much better in the long run.

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most likely, you will sign a purchase agreement, put down a deposit, and then make an appointment to return and actually pick up the RV. If it’s already on the dealer’s lot your appointment might be a week or two in the future. If you are ordering from the factory, you may have to wait months.

Here’s a list of a dozen do’s and don’ts for taking delivery of your new RV.

Do: Search for a reputable dealer with a robust service department

Sure, you want to get a great price but you also want to buy from a reputable dealer who will service warranty issues in a timely manner and at a convenient location. RV prices are definitely negotiable but you do not want to sacrifice customer service for rock-bottom pricing.

Read online reviews of the sales and service sides of the dealership. You will most likely need to take advantage of the RV’s warranty and you’ll want to be confident that the dealer will be there for you at that time.

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t: Expect to take delivery on the day you decide to buy the rig

First-time buyers are often surprised that they can’t take ownership on the day they decide to buy an RV but this is an industry norm. Remember, an RV has a lot more components than the typical automobile and there is quite a bit of work involved in getting it ready for the road and RV park. The dealer will do a complete predelivery inspection (PDI) checking over all the RV systems, cleaning the interior and exterior, and handling dealer-installed accessories and options.

If you buy at an RV show, it’s important to know that you probably won’t be towing the RV home with you. Instead, you will make an appointment to visit the dealership after the show to actually take delivery.

Shoppers, especially first-time buyers, should look for a dealer who is willing to educate them. They should also look for a dealer with a robust service center with positive online reviews.

Do: Research additional equipment you will need to safely tow the RV

Some first-time RV buyers are surprised to discover how much equipment is needed to drive a motorhome or tow a travel trailer or fifth-wheel.

When we bought our first fifth wheel trailer, our truck needed a hitch and brake controller installed. We had to get that work done before we could safely tow the trailer home for the first time.

Even if your vehicle is already equipped for towing, you’ll still want to research towing equipment in advance—for instance, sway bars and weight-distributing systems if you’re buying a travel trailer. Some buyers are successful with including this equipment in their RV price negotiations so it’s definitely worth a try.

On the other hand, some dealers will install the cheapest equipment when it’s included in the purchase order so it’s worthwhile to know the most effective and efficient equipment on the market, rather than relying on package deals.

Check this out to learn more: The 10 Essentials Every RV Owner Should Buy Before Their First Road Trip

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do: Compare interest rates if you plan on financing the RV

First-time buyers are often surprised at the differences in auto and RV financing. Typical RV loans will range from 10 to 20 years and the interest rates will likely be higher than those for a new car purchase. Avoid being captive to whatever loan terms are offered by the dealership. Arrange for financing in advance. Then you can use these preapprovals to better negotiate with the RV dealer’s finance department.

Do: Research extended warranties in advance

Everyone has an opinion about purchasing extended warranties but the bottom line is that there is no obvious answer to the question of whether or not you should buy one of these service packages. The key to purchasing an extended warranty is to research providers with good track records.

Handy people may prefer fixing problems with their rig on their own though buying a replacement appliance can be pricey so figure that into the equation when considering a warranty purchase. Other buyers will enjoy the RV only if they have the peace of mind an extended warranty can offer.

Either way, you want to do your research ahead of time and have an educated response to the high-pressure sales tactics that sometimes occur during the purchase process. Be aware of what is included in the warranty and what is excluded.

Here is a helpful resources: Best RV Roadside Assistance Plans for Peace of Mind

Do: Set aside time for a thorough RV walk-through

I get it. You want to get that RV on the road. But now is not the time to rush out of the dealership. When you show up to take delivery of your RV, the dealer will give you a walk-through of your new rig, demonstrating the systems and appliances from extending down the stabilizer jacks to filling up the freshwater tanks and opening the awning. We’ve purchased three Class A motorhomes from a wonderful dealer and every walk-through has taken over two hours from start to finish.

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do: Record the walk-through on a smartphone or other device

There’s a lot of information to take in on an RV walk-through and even seasoned RVers get overwhelmed. Don’t rely on your memory to take it all in. I highly recommend using a smartphone or other device to record the RV tech’s lessons on every system. Record each RV component individually so they are easy to reference in the future. For example, have separate videos on the automatic leveling system and the macerator for dumping the holding tanks, both new pieces of technology that we knew would take us awhile to learn how to operate.

While recording, also ask your service tech to demonstrate how to winterize and dewinterize the RV. Having reference videos for your personal rig is priceless.

Do: Ask the dealer to test all the RV systems

A reputable dealership will allow you to test the systems including running water and checking that the water heater is actually heating the water, the water pump is actually pumping water, and all the electrical outlets are working. The dealer will also take time then and there to fix any small issues that are found.

I’ve heard complaints that some dealers balk at testing everything during the walk-through. I encourage buyers to be persistent with this request as it is incredibly frustrating to uncover problems on your first outing that could have been fixed at the dealership.

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do: Test the air conditioning, refrigerator, and other appliances

Make sure that you run the air conditioner (and heat pump or strip) and turn all the appliances on and off and then on again during your walk-through. I highly recommend testing the refrigerator on both the electric and LP-gas settings. Ask to do this at the beginning of your walk-through and then check in at the end to make sure the fridge is cooling down (in most cases, it will not be down to the proper temperature during that time since that generally takes hours). This is a great time to ask the service tech to show you the fuse box and to ask about spare fuses. Some manufactures provide spare fuses with a new coach.

Don’t: Take ownership until the RV is in tip-top operating condition

An RV is a big purchase and there is a huge learning curve even for experienced buyers. If you don’t feel like the dealer has given you a complete walk-through or if you have concerns regarding anything operating correctly, do not take ownership of the RV. No issue is too small to address.

Do: Schedule a shakedown trip as soon as possible

Some of the best dealers have on-site camping for customers to fully test their new rigs and get any bugs out of the system. Our dealer provides four full-service sites for delivery of new RVs and other customers with service appointments. We stayed on site several days to have all issues resolved and questions answered. Since we were on our way south for the winter we wanted to ensure that we were knowledgeable of all aspects of our new coach.

Of course, not everyone is so lucky to purchase from one of those dealers but a close-to-home camping trip is always a good idea with a new RV. Find a full-hookup site near your home or RV dealer and put the RV through its paces. It’s better to discover issues on a shakedown weekend than hundreds (or thousands) of miles away on a bucket-list adventure.

Read: RV Driving Tips: 20 Ways to Stay Safe and Calm

Taking ownership of our new motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t: Sweat the small stuff

Even if you do everything right, something may go wrong soon after your RV purchase. RVs are homes on wheels and they pack a ton of technology into a really small space and then we haul it around the country. Things are going to break. Don’t let a loose cabinet or a faulty Bluetooth stereo keep you from having the time of your life in your brand-new RV. If it’s not a big problem, don’t turn it into one. Keep a running list of small warranty items to address on your next visit to the dealer and head back out on the open road.

Worth Pondering…

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

—Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

RV Show List for 2024

Each year, recreational vehicle associations and RV dealers put on RV shows throughout the United States and Canada. This is a round up schedule of RV Shows 2024 in chronological order. Most of these are standalone RV shows but some are part of a boat show, outdoor show, or RV rally.

Are you looking for an RV show? They are wonderful opportunities to discover the latest travel trailer and motorhome models. You can meet with dealers, tour various layouts, and maybe even score a great deal on your next camper. 

Whether you’re a newbie looking to buy your first travel trailer or a seasoned traveler with an upgrade on your mind RV shows can be very enjoyable and beneficial. 

Don’t forget about all the cool camping gear and gadgets. Dozens of vendors are usually in attendance to promote their camping goods, services, and products.  

I’ve compiled a list of RV shows across the nation we think you’re sure to love. Take a look and see what’s coming up in your area. 

Here is our list, organized by month.

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

January 2024

NCRVDA RV Show–Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, January 4-7, 2024

Chicago RV Show, Schaumburg, Illinois, January 5-7, 2024

Ohio RV & Boat Show, Columbus, Ohio, January 5-14, 2024

Indy RV Expo, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 6-7 and 10-14, 2024

The Original Pittsburgh RV Show, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, January 6-14, 2024

Ohio RV Supershow, Cleveland, Ohio, January 10-14, 2024

OKC Boat, RV & Tackle Show, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January 12-14, 2024

Bismarck Rec & Leisure Show, Bismarck, North Dakota, January 12-14, 2024

Annual RV & Campgrounds Show, Allentown, Pennsylvania, January 12-14, 2024

Florida RV SuperShow, Tampa, Florida, January 17-21, 2024

Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 18-21, 2024

St. Paul RV Supershow, St. Paul, Minnesota, January 18-21, 2024

Inland Northwest RV Show & Sale, Spokane, Washington, January 18-21, 2024

Tacoma RV Show, Tacoma, Washington, January 18-21, 2024

Cincinnati Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 19-21 and 24-28, 2024

The Great Rockies Sportshow, Billings, Montana, January 19-21, 2024

Tidewater RV Show, Virginia Beach, Virginia, January 19-21, 2024

New Jersey RV & Camping Show, Edison, New Jersey, January 19-21, 2024

Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 20-28, 2024

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

STL RV Travel Show, Saint Louis, Missouri, January 23-25, 2024

Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, Louisville, Kentucky, January 24-28, 2024

Colorado RV Adventure Travel Show, Denver, Colorado, January 25-27, 2024

Calgary RV Expo & Show, Calgary, Alberta, January 25-28, 2024

Kansas City RV Show, Kansas City, Missouri, January 25-28, 2024

Boston RV and Camping Expo, Boston, Massachusetts, January 25-28, 2024

Ft. Myers RV Show, Ft. Myers, Florida, January 25-28, 2024

Atlanta Camping & RV Show, Atlanta, Georgia. January 25-28, 2024

Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show, Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 26-28, 2024

Northeast RV & Camping Show, Hartford, Connecticut, January 26-28, 2024

Tulsa Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Tulsa, Oklahoma, January 29–February 4, 2024

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

February 2024

Iowa’s Original RV Show, Des Moines, Iowa, February 1-4, 2024

Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show, Fort Wayne, Indiana, February 1-4, 2024

Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation & Camping Show, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 1-4, 2024

Oregon State Salem Spring RV Show, Salem, Oregon, February 1-4, 2024

Edmonton RV Expo & Sale, Edmonton, Alberta, February 1-4, 2024

Manitoba RV Show & Sale, Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 1-4, 2024

Nebraska Boat, Sport & Travel Show. Lincoln, Nebraska, February 2-4, 2024

Southeast Texas Boat, Sport & RV Show, Beaumont, Texas, February 2-4, 2024

Huntsville SuperShow, Huntsville, Alabama, February 2-4, 2024

Lawton RV, Boat & Outdoor Leisure Show, Lawton, Oklahoma, February 2-4, 2024

Ottawa RV Expo & Show, Ottawa, Ontario, February 2–4, 2024

Houston RV Show, Houston, Texas, February 7-10, 2024

Jacksonville RV MEGASHOW, Jacksonville, Florida, February 8-11, 2024

La Crosse Boat Sports, Travel, RV & Hunting Show, La Crosse, Wisconsis, February 8-11, 2024

St. Cloud Sportsmen’s Show, St. Cloud, Minnesota, February 9-11, 2024

Charleston RV Show, Charleston, South Carolina, February 9-11, 2024

Seven Feathers Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show, Roseburg, Oregon, February 9-11, 2024

Seattle RV Show, Seattle, Washington, February 15-18, 2024

The Utah Sportsmen’s Vacation & RV Show, Sandy, Utah, February 15-18, 2024

Duluth Sport Show, Duluth, Minnesota, February 15-18, 2024

The Annual Chicago RV & Camping Show, Rosemont, Illinois, February 15-18, 2024

West Palm Beach RV Show, West Palm Beach, Florida, February 15-18, 2024

Central Gulf Coast Boat, Sport & RV Show, Lake Charles, Louisiana, February 16-18, 2024

Maryland RV Show, Timonium, Maryland, February 16-19 and 23-25, 2024

Arkansas RV Show, Little Rock, Arkansas, February 16-18, 2024

Erie Sports & RV Show, Erie, Pennsylvania, February 16-18, 2024

Western New York RV Show, Suffern, New York, February 16-19, 2024

Springfield RV Camping & Outdoor Show, West Springfield, Massachusetts, February 16-19, 2024

Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Indianapolis, Indiana, February 16-18 and 21-25, 2024

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Columbia RV Expo, Columbia, South Carolina, February 19-21, 2024

Austin RV Expo, Austin, Texas, February 22-25, 2024

Dallas RV Super Sale, Dallas, Texas, February 22-25, 2024

Earlybird RV Show & Sale, Abbotsford, British Columbia, February 22-25, 2024

RV & Boat Show Main Event, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, February 23-25, 2024

Newswatch 12 Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show, Central Point, Oregon, February 23-25, 2024

Cedar Rapids Sportshow, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, February 23-25, 2024

QCCA/RV & Camping Show, Rock Island, Illinois, February 23-25, 2024

Birmingham RV Super Show, Birmingham, Alabama, February 23-25, 2024

Hot Springs Boat, Tackle & RV Show, Hot Springs, Arkansas, February 23-25, 2024

Pennsylvania Adventure Show, Altoona, Pennsylvania, February 23-25, 2024

Milwaukee RV Show, West Allis, Wisconsin, February 29-March 3, 2024

Greater Philadelphia RV Show, Oaks, Pennsylvania, February 29-March 3, 2024

Annual CNY RV & Camping Show, Syracuse, New York, February 29-March 3, 2024

Annual Red River Valley Sportsmen’s Show, Fargo, North Dakota, February 29-March 3, 2024

Ocala RV Show, Ocala, Florida, February 29-March 3, 2024

Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show, Toronto, Ontario, February 29–March 3, 2024

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

March 2024

Springfield Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Springfield, Missouri, March 1-3, 2024

Crown Motors Norcal Boat, Sport & RV Show, Anderson, California. March 1-3, 2024

Springfield RV Mega Show, Springfield, Missouri, March 1-3, 2024

Louisiana Sportsman Show, Gonzales, Louisiana, March 1-3, 2024

Oregon State Eugene Spring RV Show, Eugene, Oregon, March 1-3, 2024

Fredericksburg RV Show, Fredericksburg, Virginia, March 5-7, 2024

Moncton RV Show, Moncton, New Brunswick, March 7-10, 2024

Central Wisconsin RV & Camping Show, Wausau, Wiscousin, March 8-10, 2024

Virginia RV Expo – Hampton, Hampton, Virginia, March 8-10, 2024

York Campers World RV Show, York, Pennsylvania, March 8-10, 2024

Eastern Iowa Sportshow, Cedar Falls, Iowa, March 8-10, 2024

Sioux Empire Sportsmen’s Boat, Camping & Vacation Show, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, March 14-17, 2024

Northwest Sportshow, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 14-17, 2024

DFW RV Party, Arlington, Texas, March TBA 2024

Sportsmen’s Boat, and RV Show, Bakersfield, California, March 15-17, 2024

Mid-Atlantic RV Expo, Doswell, Virginia, March 15-17, 2024

New Hampshire RV & Camping Show, Bedford, New Hampshire, March 15-17, 2024

New Hampshire Camping & RV Show, Milford, New Hampshire, March 15-17, 2024

Kitchener RV Show & Sale, Kitchner, Ontario, March 15-17, 2024

FMCA Convention and RV Expo, Perry, Georgia, March 20-23, 2024

Acadiana RV & Camping Show, Opelousas, Louisiana, March 22-24, 2024

Reno RV Show, Reno, Nevada, March 21- 24, 2024

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

April 2024

Washington State Evergreen Spring RV Show, Monroe, Washington, April 5-7, 2024

The Great Alaska Sportsman Show, Anchorage, Alaska, April 5-7, 2024

The Vacationland RV & Camping Show, Auburn, Maine, April 6-7, 2024

Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, Elkhart, Indiana, April 28–May 1, 2024

May 2024

Puyallup Home & RV Show, Puyallup, Washington, May 2-5, 2024

Wyoming Outdoor Weekend & Expo, Lander, Wyoming, May 17-18, 2024

June 2024

Tampa Summer RV Show, Tampa, Florida, June 6-9, 2024

July-August 2024

The RV show season takes a break every summer. Do you know of an RV show near you in July and August?

September 2024

Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, Hershey, Pennsylvania, Septptember 11-15, 2024

North Carolina RV Dealers Association (NCRVDA) Show & Sale, Charlotte, North Carolina, TBA

Portland Fall RV & Van Show, Portland, Oregon, September 12-15, 2024

Southwest RV Supershow, Dallas, Texas, TBA

Maryland RV Dealer’s Association Show, Timonium, Maryland TBA

Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, Indianapolis, Indiana, September 20-22, 2024

Washington State Evergreen Fall RV Show, Monroe, Washington, September 27-29, 2024

Tacoma Fall RV Show, Tacoma, Washington TBA

October 2024

Myrtle Beach RV Show, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, October 18-20, 2024

November 2024

Detroit Fall RV & Camping Show, Novi, Michigan TBA

Portland Metro Dealers RV Show, Portland, Oregon TBA

Tampa Bay Fall RV Show, Tampa, Florida TBA

December 2024

How about December? Are you itching to see some new models? Make your plans attending an RV Show in 2025!

Looking for a specific type of RV?

Worth Pondering…

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

—Napolean Hill

The Ultimate Guide to RV Shows

Whether you’re a newbie looking to buy your first travel trailer or a seasoned traveler with an upgrade on your mind, RV shows can be very enjoyable and beneficial

What do you think of when you hear RV Show

You might think of an endless maze of RVs lined up in a warehouse with sales personnel jumping out at every corner. But the days of those kinds of RV shows are moving behind us. In 2023, RV shows include live auctions, RV giveaways, play areas for kids, community areas for meeting RVers, product demonstrations, seminars, and workshops. 

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Attending an RV show is an exciting outing for the entire family whether you’re shopping for a new RV, upgrading your current model, selling your RV, or looking to learn about the latest RV innovations and camp gear. 

But, visiting an RV show can be a big disappointment if you go unprepared. They cover acres of space and the amount of information available can be overwhelming. 

These RV show tips will help you make the most of your RV show visit even if you’re just attending to have fun, win prizes, and meet fellow RVers.

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What happens at an RV show?

Some RV shows are little more than a collection of RVs sitting on a lot. But most RV shows are fun, educational, exciting to explore and offer opportunities to connect with other campers.

Quality RV shows will offer most, if not all, of the following: 

  • VIP areas: Register early to receive a complimentary gift bag, retail product discounts, VIP Lounge access, refreshments, and a chance to win an RV
  • RV valuation: Find out what your current RV is worth if you’re ready to sell and upgrade to a new model
  • RV giveaways: Enter for a chance to win a brand-new RV
  • New and used RV inventory: Walk through RVs of all shapes and sizes to feel what it would be like to live and vacation in them
  • Kid zones: Inspire the next generation of campers to discover the joys of RVing
  • RV retail spaces: Get the latest on innovative new products in the RV and camping industries
  • Design specialists: Consult an expert about upgrades you want to make to your RV
Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Who are RV shows for?

The short answer is—RV shows are for everyone. If you already own an RV you can explore the possibility of a trade-in or upgrade. You’ll also find new camping gear to make your trips more comfortable. 

If you’ve never owned or traveled in an RV, these shows are ideal for imagining yourself inside a travel trailer, fifth-wheeler, or motorhome. There are more options to peruse than on a typical RV dealership lot. While you explore, you’ll find information on RV financing, service and maintenance, insurance, and other RV-related services.

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re a DIY RVer, RV shows are inspirational. You can discover the latest RV floorplans or speak with design specialists about remodeling ideas to make your RV more functional and cozy. 

People enjoy RV travel for many reasons—escaping to warmer weather at unsung snowbird destinations, unplugging at off-grid basecamps for outdoor recreation, or traveling with the family to enjoy nature and road trips. You can use an RV to travel your way—there is no one right way.

RV shows are a great way to discover how other RVers enjoy the lifestyle by connecting with other campers. You never know when a new connection will lead to new community RV trips in the future. 

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why go to an RV show?

If you’re wondering why an RV show should be on your to-do list this year, here are seven reasons to attend:

  • For RV education: RV shows provide value even if you’re not in the market for a new RV. Most shows offer seminars, lectures, tutorials, workshops, and walkthroughs of RVs and RV-related products.
  • Seminars and workshops: Many shows have veteran RV travelers who share knowledge on topics like Basic RV Maintenance, Trip Planning, and RV Packing Tips. Listen, take notes, and ask questions.
  • Product demonstrations: Many vendors conduct live demonstrations so you can see products in action and discover new options for upgrading your RV before the next camping season.
  • Meet manufacturer reps: Unlike dealerships, RV shows have representatives from various RV manufacturers to answer your questions about how RVs are made and speak to their quality versus the competition.
  • To discover the latest camping gear: Vendors at RV shows offer every type of gear imaginable—surge protectors, sewer products, water hoses, and pressure regulators, water filters, portable grills, tire covers, kayaks, and e-bikes. Looking for a new bed that fits just right in your RV? They’ve got you covered. Need an internet or satellite TV solution? Vendors will have plenty of options for you. Everything you can imagine for camping adventures can be found at an RV show.
  • To find new places to visit: RV shows are great places to discover new destinations and RV parks to explore. Representatives from regional tourism bureaus and RV resorts often have booths at RV shows to showcase everything their destinations offer. 
  • Check the exhibitor list online before the show to make a short list of the booths you’d like to visit.
  • To meet other RVers: Building a community as an RVer can be a challenge. Attending RV shows can help you grow your network and expand your community of fellow campers. Whether you utilize that community to get answers to RV maintenance questions, travel and campground recommendations, or tips for the best RV camping gear, the friendships you forge at an RV show may last a lifetime.
Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tips for making the most of your RV show visit

Whether you’re buying, trading in, or exploring RV retail products, use these tips to maximize RV shows:

  • Attend the first day to allow yourself time to return if you find something you like. 
  • Break it up—look at RVs or products one day and attend seminars another.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Some shows are very large, and you’ll do a lot of walking.
  • Bring nutritious snacks and water. Many shows have food vendors but lines can be long and choices may be limited.
  • Check the schedule and map in advance to identify models or seminars you don’t want to miss.
  • Do some pre-show preparation. Consider your budget and what type of travel you do. Educate yourself on the different RV types to determine whether a motorhome or towable might work best for you. Then make a list of must-haves.
  • Spend time in the models you like. Sit in the seats. Try the bed. Open and close the cabinets and drawers. See how you fit in the shower. It may feel silly, but it’ll give you a better feel of the RV.
  • Take copious notes and photos of your preferred units. Include the brand, exact model and configuration, length, price, and other items you liked or didn’t like.
  • Collect contact information. Business cards are useful for following up with sales representatives or vendors you connect with. 
  • Make a shortlist of favorites at the end. Sit down after you’ve had a chance to think about the RVs you saw and revisit your favorites.

Worth Pondering…

The RV lifestyle is like nothing else.

It’s leaving home, exploring America, and yet bringing your home along with you!

Stopping at a wayside picnic area, preparing lunch in your kitchen.

It’s sleeping in your own bed every night, yet waking up to a new vista each morning!

The sounds of a crackling campfire; of a mountain stream, of frogs, and crickets.

It’s families drawn closer; it’s retirees being rewarded for many years of labor.

—Loren Eyrich, Two-Lane Roads

RV Industry Surges amid Supply Chain Problems and Price Increases

With this latest report, 2021 officially becomes the year the RV industry built more RVs than ever before—and that is with two months left in the year

The recreational vehicle industry has done what many U.S. businesses did in the face of this year’s epic shortages and surging inflation: Churned out more products and made more money than ever before.

Winnebago Industries Inc reported record fiscal 2020 revenues in October—up over 50 percent from the previous year. On Friday it is expected to post its second straight quarter of sales over $1 billion and a 33 percent increase in earnings per share, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thor Industries Inc, the largest producer, last week reported record results for its fiscal first-quarter while noting its backlog as of the end of October was over $18 billion—a 100 percent increase over a year ago.

Michael Happe, chief executive of the Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago, said in an interview that his company’s retailers have “been able to optimize retail pricing in a way they have not been able to do in a long, long time.”

Newmar Factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV industry is a prime example of how many U.S. producers have been able to thrive despite COVID-related shortages—and the related price increases in raw materials from steel and plastic to electronics and foam. The surge in RV sales began early in the pandemic as worried Americans looked for ways to travel without the risks of staying in hotels or riding in airplanes.

Related Article: Why are RVs So Popular?

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all ri

All types of outdoor-oriented industries have boomed during the pandemic. Sales of swimming pools, boats, and all-terrain vehicles all surged after initial lockdowns.

Labor shortages also are bedeviling the industry which has struggled to fill jobs in production hubs like northern Indiana where Thor is based.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Despite all these barriers, the industry is producing and shipping more than ever. Results for the RV Industry Association’s (RVIA) October 2021 survey of manufacturers determined that total RV shipments ended the month with 57,971 units, an increase of 22.5 percent compared to the 47,326 units shipped during October 2020; this October was also the best on comparable record with shipments surpassing the October 2017 total of 48,926 units by over 18 percent. This month’s total was also the highest production total on comparable record for any month, surpassing last month’s record of 55,014 units by more than 5 percent.

Newmar Factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wholesale shipments of RVs in North America are expected to hit a record 602,200 units this year—a 40 percent increase over 2020 and 19 percent higher than the last record high set in 2017, according to an analysis prepared for RVIA. The analysis, by ITR Economics, is projecting a smaller increase of 2 percent in 2022, to 613,700 units.

Related Article: RVs Move America

Newmar Factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jon Ferrando, CEO of RV Retailer LLC—a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based retailer with 90 stores in 26 states as of the end of this year—said pricier raw materials, together with higher labor and transportation costs to move motorhomes and trailers across the country from factories to his stores—has meant multiple price increases passed along to consumers rather than the normal once-a-year adjustments.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Certainly, this year, there are more frequent price adjustments,” he said. But he added that the increases have not curbed the appetite of buyers.

“To the extent we have pressure to raise prices, consumers have great ability to trade down and get the price point they want,” he said.

To be sure, the price tags on RVs range widely. RV Retailer sells everything from $10,000 teardrop-shaped tow-along campers to $1 million diesel motor coaches.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jason Lippert, chief executive of LCI Industries, the largest parts supplier to the RV industry, said he expects supply chain problems to continue. But he does not see rising prices softening consumer demand any time soon.

Related Article: RV Sales Continue to Soar and Here Are the Reasons Why

“If you’re a first-time buyer, you’re not looking at what you could have bought in 2018 or 2017,” he said. “People buying their second or third RV will likely think about the price a little more.”

Newmar Factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One aspect of rising prices could ultimately add headwinds for the industry: gas prices which have soared this year.

But James Boyle, a spokesman for the RVIA, said the industry does not expect current prices at the pump to curb business anytime soon, noting that many RVs are used for short trips and tailgating, rather than long road trips.

Newmar Factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The new shipment report comes on the tail of a recently released survey showing more Americans plan on RVing in the next year than ever before. The survey showed 72 million Americans planning an RV trip in the next year in an RV they own, rent, or borrow—an 18 percent increase over the 61 million reported in the same survey a year ago.

Related Article: How COVID-19 Changed RVing

Worth Pondering…

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.

—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1968)

Why are RVs So Popular?

RV sales have been steadily rising for the last decade but the numbers were supercharged by the pandemic

Recreational vehicles are hot these days, but for how long?

The truth is the RV business has been hot for almost 10 years. In fact, RV manufacturers are up over 24 percent from last year.

Class A motorhome at the dealer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As of March 2021, 11.2 million U.S. households owned RVs, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). That’s up 26 percent since 2011.

What’s even more striking is that 9.6 million additional households say they are considering buying an RV in the next five years, says Monika Geraci, communications director at RVIA.

Travel trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The reasons? Wanting to spend more time outside, to take advantage of teleworking policies, and to travel safely despite pandemic risks, she said.

“People have just rediscovered the great outdoors, and that really spills over into the RV industry.”

Fifth-wheel trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A record 57,971 RVs were produced in October (2021) or 5 percent more than the previous record hit just the previous month in September. The October production figure is a 22 percent jump from RVs that rolled off the line the same month a year ago.

Class A motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s more, the industry estimates that this year will see a 40 percent spike in the number of RVs produced—or 602,200—compared to 2020 and 19 percent more than the last record in 2017, when the industry produced 504,600 RVs.

Related: RV Sales Continue to Soar and Here Are the Reasons Why

So, what is driving this prolonged hot trend in RV popularity? It turns out that the reasons people are turning to RVing are as many and as varied as the people themselves. Let’s explore some of the most popular reasons folks of all ages and backgrounds are jumping on the RV trend.

Class A motorhome at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The changing financial climate

There is no question that recent economic concerns have played a huge role in the increased interest in RVs. Americans at every stage of life from retired empty nesters to millennials are looking for ways to downsize their lifestyle and reduce their living expenses. With more and more RVs now coming equipped with full-size appliances and furnishings crafted by the same big-name brands that populate home living rooms around the country, it has become easier and easier to see an RV as a true home on wheels.

Travel trailer at campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some have turned to RVs as a more economical way to travel the country and explore new places without the high cost of airfare, rental cars, and hotel stays.

Others have gone all-in by trading in their permanent address for a full-time nomadic existence. This option has become increasingly popular with millennials looking for a low-cost alternative to a pricey mortgage and sky-high utility bills. Some RVs offer interior features like fireplaces, theater-style seating, LED televisions, and ceiling fans, just like a traditional home.

Airstream travel trailer at campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An increase in remote work opportunities

Another key factor behind the rising popularity of RV life is the growing shift away from a static office-based work environment and into a more flexible, remote work system. This new style of work means Americans are no longer tethered to a particular location by their employer; they are now able to earn a steady income from anywhere they wish to be. As a result, more and more Americans are ditching the time clock and the crowded cities in favor of a more relaxed and peaceful RV lifestyle.

Truck camper at campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Technological advancements

The last decade of technological advancements has expanded access to reliable, inexpensive network connections in nearly every area of the country. While the work is by no means complete, the groundwork has been established and there is at least some degree of connectivity available in all but the most remote of locations. Let’s have a look at some of the best options.

Related: Meet the RVs: Find the Right RV Class for Your Travel Style

Travel trailer at campground © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A mobile hotspot device can come in the form of an independent device provided by your cellular provider or it can be incorporated right into your mobile device, depending on your phone model and service provider. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer inexpensive, reliable devices that are capable of providing a high-speed internet connection for multiple devices almost anywhere.

Class A motorhome at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A public Wi-Fi signal is provided by most RV parks and campgrounds. This is a solid option if you are going to be staying in a community or campground and it will help save your cellular data for more remote locations.

Teardrop trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A satellite internet service is by far the priciest of the internet connectivity options but it provides the most reliable and widely available service. Satellite internet service works by mounting an independent satellite receiver unit to the rooftop of your RV which is then programmed to receive satellite signals from the satellite internet provider of your choice. The provider choices have been fairly slim but as the popularity of RV living grows, the pool of providers is expanding, leading to a much higher quality of service overall.

Newmar Service Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some RVs now come equipped with the new WiFiRanger Sky4 Wi-Fi router and signal booster as part of the standard equipment package enabling RV owners to enjoy a reliable, fast, and best of all secure internet connection using an available Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, or LTE signal.

Related: Meet the RVs: The Towables

Building motorhomes at an RV factory © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pandemic related health concerns

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2020, followed by the subsequent quarantines and travel restrictions, has made many Americans more reluctant to hop on a crowded airplane for a cross-country flight. This health-related hesitancy is likely to remain for some time to come. RV travel allows vacationers to control every aspect of their environment at every step of the journey.

Fifth-wheel trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There is no need to wonder who was staying in the hotel room before you or how well the surfaces were cleaned and sanitized before your arrival. There is no need to wonder if the rental car steering wheel or door handles were cleaned after the last use or who was riding in the back of the taxicab or shuttle before you. With RV travel, you have the assurance and peace of mind knowing that you and your family are the only ones to use your space.

Motorhome at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Social distancing is a cinch with RV travel. With thousands of RV parks, campground sites to choose from, you can easily select the level of social interaction you are comfortable with on any given day.

Class A motorhomes at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Service Center © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A growing “YOLO” mindset

If the challenges and the triumphs of the last year have taught us nothing else, they have opened our eyes to the uncertainty of life. This epiphany has fueled the growth of the “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) mindset. RVing offers the financial freedom and the freedom of movement that allows Americans to truly get out there and experience everything that life has to offer right now instead of putting it off until some better time that may never arrive.

Related: RVs Move America

Motorhome at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion

The biggest driver of the recent surge in the popularity of RV ownership is a combination of many of the factors discussed above, all coming together to create a newfound urge to live life to the fullest while we have the chance.

Worth Pondering…

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

―Marie Curie (1867-1934), physicist and chemist

RV Sales Continue to Soar and Here Are the Reasons Why

Do you ever drive past an RV dealer and wonder who is buying them? Turns out, lots of people!

While COVID-19 rattled much of the travel industry, it has been a boon for the recreational vehicle market. Over the past year, the RV industry has experienced high demand and sales that have not been witnessed in a long time. Pent-up wanderlust amid the pandemic has breathed new life into the industry. After being cooped up at home for long periods of time amid the virus scare, people can experience the much-needed freedom and fun with RV vacations.

Motorhomes at an RV dealer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel has inspired an increasing number of Americans and Canadians opting to explore their own backyard when picking a vacation spot. This rising number of people hitting the road for their vacations is bolstering sales of recreation vehicles which hit a record high in September, the latest month reporting.

Teardrop trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to the trade group, RV Industry Association (RVIA), the rising demand for the #VanLife and increased interest in a life on the road have boosted RV sales in recent months.

Related: Meet the RVs: Find the Right RV Class for Your Travel Style

Travel trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As a result of this growing interest in homes on wheels, the trade group reported that shipments of RVs reached a record high of 55,014 in September, an increase of 32.2 percent compared to the 41,600 units shipped during September 2020. This September was also the best on comparable record with shipments surpassing the September 2017 total of 43,598 units by 26 percent.

Fifth-wheel trailer at an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With the new report, the RV industry sets a new all-time high for the number of RVs shipped in any previous month and any previous quarter. The more than 55,000 RVs shipped this past month is a 1 percent increase over the previous single-month record set in March of this year. The record-breaking 152,370 RVs shipped in the third quarter (July-September 2021) inches past the previous quarterly record of 151,760 set last quarter (April-June 2021) and is also a 23 percent increase over the third quarter of 2020. It should be noted that the top three months for RV sales were all in 2021.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“With research showing more and more people are camping than ever before, RV manufacturers and suppliers continue to meet the sustained demand for RVs from consumers looking to get outdoors and experience the many physical and mental benefits of living an active outdoor lifestyle,” said RV Industry Association President & CEO Craig Kirby.

Related: Meet the RVs: The Towables

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, I Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The latest sales figures showed that demand was split between towable and motorized RVs. Towable RVs, led by conventional travel trailers, ended the month up 33.4 percent against last September with 50,696 wholesale shipments. Motorhomes finished the month up 19.6 percent compared to the same month last year with 4,318 units.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Service Center in Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As travelers look for new ways to transport everything including the kitchen sink, the RVIA noted that demand for van campers is rising the quickest. Sales across the segment were up 108 percent on the previous year and reached 1,245 during September 2021.

The only RV category to decline in the period was mini motorhomes which fell just 7 percent to 1,816.

This data partially explains the demographic shift away from large, densely populated cities to smaller and mid-sized communities. Many of the cities on the receiving end are happy to see newcomers after decades of decline in their industrial base hollowed out over decades of deindustrialization largely resulting from globalism. And their transition is a loss for states like California and New York that are hiking taxes and driving more taxpayers away.

Related: You Might Be an RVer If…

The trend is also fueled by rising home prices and a shift toward a remote-work lifestyle.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the latest sign of this shift away from the more than decade-long shift of young people moving to big cities. Elkhart, Indiana, the “RV Capital of the World”, was the leading county in Realtor.com’s latest analysis of real estate markets. Elkhart County also topped the Wall Street Journal’s “Emerging Housing Markets Index” in Q3. The index claims to identify “the top metro areas for homebuyers seeking an appreciating housing market and appealing lifestyle amenities”.

Freightliner Custom Service Center in Gaffney, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It should be noted that about 80 percent of the RVs manufactured in the U.S. are made in northwestern Indiana, centered in Elkhart and LaGrange counties.

According to a recent Go RVing RV Owner Demographic Profile study, 27 percent of all current RV owners are young families—those who are under 45 years old and have children living at home. This trend is driven by changes in technology that allow parents to work remotely and their children to learn online—as well as a desire to spend time relaxing together.

Newmar Service Center in Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adventure is another motivator for young RV families and the study found that these families enjoy physical activities more than other demographics like mountain/rock climbing, motorsports (ATV, dirt bikes, motorcycles), water activities, hiking, and mountain biking. They often bring bikes, ATVs, boats, and kayaks along on their trips.

Related: Road Trip Inspiration

RVs parked at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other distinctions among young family RV owners include:

  • 57 percent of current owners in this demographic grew up with RVs
  • The median number of days they spend traveling in their RVs is 19 per year
  • They are drawn to festivals more often than other demographics
  • They are more likely to travel with laptops, iPads and tablets, video game consoles, home hubs and smartphones, and streaming devices
RV manufacturing factory tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most significant indicator of the longevity of this trend of RV ownership among young families is that 87 percent of current young family owners indicate that they plan to purchase another RV within the next five years.

Worth Pondering…

The minute I step foot in the motorhome, I feel at ease. I don’t have anything else to think about except taking care of my family.

—Actress Jennie Garth

How COVID-19 Changed RVing

Six significant ways that COVID-19 has impacted the RV lifestyle

It seems like we’ve been dealing with the various effects and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic forever, but it’s really just been in the United States and Canada since February. There were reports of coronavirus infections prior to that time but community spread was first proven about eight months ago. It just feels like eight years.

What follows is an analysis of the impact COVID-19 has brought to the RV community. I’ll also offer several tips to help you navigate these impacts.

Seabreeze RV Park, Portland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Impact: Campgrounds and RV parks close temporarily

On Tuesday, March 17th, a Florida state campground ranger knocked on a camper’s door, stood back, and informed them they had to leave the campground and park by that Friday. Everyone camping in the Florida State Parks was being evicted—no exceptions.

Buccaneer State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Numerous accounts of campers being forced out of their campgrounds and RV parks surfaced coast-to-coast. As RV parks closed, many snowbirds, full-time, and other far-from-home RVers were stranded. Our future RV park reservation was cancelled and we were left scrambling.

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Closing campgrounds and RV parks was the first major impact of COVID-19 facing RVers. For us, it was the red flag warning that this virus was not something that we could ignore. By mid-March, national, state, county, and private campgrounds were closing coast-to-coast due to an increasing number of COVID-19 shut-downs and shelter-in-place orders. 

The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

By late April, Campendium reported 46-percent of their listed campgrounds were closed due to the pandemic. Essentially half of the possible campground sites across the continent were shut down. Over the course of the following four months, federal, state, and local authorities lifted and adjusted coronavirus-related orders allowing RV parks to reopen. By mid-July, Campendium reported just 9-percent of their listed campgrounds remain closed. Although they have not updated that information, it’s likely to have further improved.

Whispering Oaks RV Park, Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We’re all hopeful that the worst of this wretched experience is behind us and RV park closures do not return. Don’t let what happened to us happen to you. Have a Plan B campsite plan ready, COVID or not. The best made plans can occasionally fall through on the road. Things do happen.

Columbia Sun RV Park, Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Second Impact: High RV demand

Seemingly every journalist who could locate their laptop has published an excited article on how RVing is the “best socially-distanced travel alternative to flying and cruising”. It’s as if every network, newspaper, and knucklehead blogger simultaneously discovered RVs and decided to join the Go RVing marketing team.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having read a few of these articles I have no doubt that most of these reporters have never stepped foot in an RV and are probably bored out of their minds working at home. You can almost hear them mutter, “Maybe I could get an RV and get out of here”.

The Lakes RV and Golf Resort, Chowchilla, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This coverage has triggered unprecedented demand for RVs from the general public while ill-preparing newbies for life on the road. Obviously this has been an unexpected godsend for the RV industry but it’s not all roses and sunshine for those of us who already love the RV lifestyle.

Creek Fire RV Resort, Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Third Impact: Tight RV supply

RVs are flying off dealer lots and showrooms across the United States and Canada. Inventory is currently the lowest they’ve ever seen. And RV manufacturers hampered by COVID-19 shutdowns and related supply shortages are struggling to keep up with the extraordinary demand the pandemic triggered. You can still find RVs on dealer lots but selection is limited. 

Terre Haute KOA, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you want a new RV that’s not in stock at your local dealer place an order as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may be a long wait before they have what you’re looking for on their lot. With the high demand and the short supply of new RVs, interest in pre-owned RVs is also high.

Alamo State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fourth Impact: Stretched RV service

For years the RV industry has struggled to find qualified service techs. When the pandemic created a tremendous surge in new customers, it exacerbated already tight service availability. Service has been further hampered as customers, managers, and service techs are required to maintain social distancing and a variety of safety protocols.

When you require RV service, call for an appointment as early as possible. When you call, be prepared for an appointment date further out than you would prefer as dealers work through an increasing service demand.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fifth Impact: Strained RV park availability

The surge in RV popularity has also dramatically increased demand for campgrounds and RV parks. This demand may subside once people feel safe flying, cruising, and staying in hotels again. COVID-19 has allowed a host of newbies to discover the magic and fun of the RV lifestyle but not all will stay with it.

Make RV park reservations as far in advance as possible to increase the likelihood of obtaining the site you desire. Once again, have a Plan B campsite or overnight location in place.

Eagle Landing RV Park, Auburn, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sixth Impact: Travel restrictions

As of this writing, the United States and Canada have agreed to extend the border closings to non-essential travel through November 21. Furthermore, some U.S. states have their own specific travel restrictions and may require self-quarantine for 14-days. 

Needless to say, these restrictions are not exactly what, “Go Anywhere” RVing is all about! As the COVID-19 situation improves these travel restrictions will change. Be sure to research any possible travel restrictions along your route before setting out and keep an eye on them as you travel.

Palm Canyon Campground, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Bottom Line: COVID stinks, but we can adapt

The impacts of COVID-19 are negative and positive, sometimes at the same time. We are pleased to see the RV industry doing so well. At the same time that strength and interest in RVing has brought its own challenges. These six impacts should be temporary but they cannot be ignored.

In summary, anything and everything related to RVs—including the availability of units, service, campgrounds and RV parks, dump stations, national and state parks, BLM lands, and even rentals are all experiencing higher demand than ever before. As RVers, it’s important to understand these new realities and ways to deal with them.

Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nothing lasts forever and this too will pass. RV manufacturers will eventually meet the increased demand, and that demand will subside to normal. RV dealers will eventually work through the increased service need and that too will return to normal. RV parks will expand and new parks will emerge as the reservations return to what was prior to COVID. And yes, RV travel between Canada and the United States will resume.

Worth Pondering…

We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems!

—Lee Iacocca

Tips for Finding the Perfect RV Model and Floor Plan

Here is how to find the perfect RV model for YOU

If you are a first time RV shopper, you might be surprised—and a little overwhelmed—at how many options there are out there! Once you have settled on the type of RV you are looking for (travel trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome), you’ll still have to decide the size and floor plan that will best suit your needs.

There is something for everyone out there. Here are our top 10 tips for finding the perfect RV model FOR YOU.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome at Ambassador RV Park, Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know Your Numbers

Research your tow capacity and payload capacity if you are purchasing a towable. Use your VIN to get the specs directly from the vehicle manufacturer. If you are buying a motorhome, check the weight of any vehicle you plan to tow behind the RV. Purchasing an RV that doesn’t work with your current vehicle situation can be expensive and unsafe.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome bedroom with king bed © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Many Dedicated Beds Do You Need?

Check for RV floor plans that offer a dedicated bed for everyone who will be sleeping in the rig most of the time. Having to make up the dinette or pull out the sleeper sofa every night soon becomes a drag and a frustrating chore. Families with children will be happy to find bunk models in select models. Other models offer a Murphy bed floor plan option.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome kitchen area © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Full Bath, Wet Bath, or No Bath?

Some RVers love having their own private bathroom no matter where they travel. Others are fine with the idea of using campground comfort stations. Since this is an important part of the RV experience, you will want to think this one through carefully.

Many smaller RV offer wet baths, bathrooms without a separate stall for the shower. Think hard about whether this will be a deal breaker for you.

Boondocking at Anza-Borrego State Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Will You Boondock?

If you plan to boondock (dispersed camping in places without hookups), search for RVs with larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks. Other attractive features for folks looking to get off the grid are on-board generators and solar panels.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome kitchen with electric refrigerator and microwave © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider How You Plan To Live Inside the RV

There’s no right way to camp. Some people are shopping for an RV with a clean bathroom and comfortable beds that will keep them warm and cozy at night. Other campers are seeking a smaller version of their sticks and bricks house, with all the creature comforts of home. Think about how you want to live in the RV, and make sure the floor plan will support that dream.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome living room and dining area (doubles as work station) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Cooking Arrangements Best Suit Your Camping Lifestyle?

Some people use their RV kitchens on a daily basis, and other people always eat out. If the RV kitchen is a major draw for you, check for storage, counter space, refrigerator size, and oven availability. If you love to cook in the open air, check out outdoor kitchen options.

Fifth wheel trailer at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Will You Work Out of the RV?

The ability to work remotely leads numerous people to check out the RV lifestyle. If you’re planning to work on the road, make sure you choose a floor plan with a built-in desk or space for a mobile office.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome connected to city utilities © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where Will All the “Stuff” Go?

Storage capacity varies between models and floor plans. Consider the items you want to pack. From the big stuff like bikes, kayaks, and golf clubs, to the smaller things like clothes, linens and towels, food, and kitchen supplies. Imagine where all your stuff will go.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome at Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kitchen and Bathroom Access in Travel Mode

One of the benefits of RV travel is being able to use the bathroom and prepare lunch in the RV kitchen while at rest stops. Make sure you can access everything you will need without extending the slides. Can you access the bathroom, open the refrigerator, and get into the bedroom? Ask the salesperson to bring in the slides for you to check.

Take your time and have fun with this part of the RV shopping experience. There are so many great RVs out there right now, so make sure to find the perfect one for you.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star Class A motorhome at Midtown RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the interests of full disclosure, we currently own a 2019 Dutch Star diesel pusher. This is our fifth Newmar motorhome and Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia, is our trusted dealer. Yes, great customer service matters.

Worth Pondering…

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.

—John Ruskin

Buying an RV

Take your time, do your homework, talk to owners of similar models, and locate a good reputable dealer who stands behind his products and provides quality service

We’ve been cooped up for months. Now, we are contending with summer sans festivals, fairs, sporting events, and concerts. Pent-up and ready to pop, we’re in desperate need of a vacation.

Alas, planning a vacation during a pandemic is like marching through a sandy beach in 6-inch stilettos. Aside from health concerns, there are travel restrictions, crowds, closures, mandatory quarantines, mask requirements, and confined capsules otherwise known as airplanes to contend with which may be why many are opting for the open road aboard a rolling abode.

7 Feathers Casino RV Park, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With so many models, brands, sizes, and amenities to choose from, it can be difficult to know which RV is right for you and your family. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or upgrading your unit, this article will help guide you through the process of purchasing an RV.

Columbia River RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to Consider When Buying an RV

There are 5 major factors to nail down before you can really start looking to buy an RV.

Seabreeze RV Park, Portland, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Budget

How much do you have to spend on your RV?

Will you be financing your RV?

How much are you willing to spend on fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs?

Do you want to buy a new or pre-owned RV?

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Use

How often and for how long do you plan to use your RV?

What type of camping will you be doing? Weekend warrior or long-term? State and national park campgrounds or RV resorts?

Canyon Vista RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Size

How many people do you need to sleep?

How much storage do you require?

Will campsites you plan to use accept your vehicle length?

Durango RV Resort, Red Bluff, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Towing

What size of rig are you comfortable driving or towing?

What is the tow rating of your tow vehicle? You’ll want to stay well within this limit or consider upgrading your tow vehicle.

Will you tow a car behind your motorhome (4-wheels down or dolly)?

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Features

What features are necessities?

What features are nice-to-haves?

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where to Buy an RV

Regardless of where you live in the US or Canada, there are many options for purchasing a new or pre-owned RV.

Gulf Coast RV Resort, Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. RV Shows

Each year, recreational vehicle associations and RV dealers put on RV shows throughout the United States and Canada. The largest consumer RV Shows take place in Tampa, Florida in January, Hershey, Pennsylvania in September, and Pomona, California in October. At these shows you will find hundreds of RVs for sale and booths packed with RV accessories.

With many RV dealers in one place, you can check out the hundreds of RV models of all different types and sizes. There is something for every budget.

The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. RV dealers

If you missed the RV shows, weren’t ready to buy, or plan to special order a unit, dealers are a great option. They’ll have a selection of new and pre-owned RVs. Different dealerships carry different brands and models of RVs and they may offer different incentives. It’s a good idea to check a few different dealerships out, especially if you’re not certain on which RV you want.

Rain Spirit RV Park, Cottonwood, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Private Sales

If you’re looking for a pre-owned RV, check out what is available in private sales. Be aware, though, that you may be buying someone else’s problem. A vehicle inspection is recommended.

Distant Drums RV Resort, Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Advice on Buying an RV

Always do your research on the brand, model, and seller. Not all manufacturers and RV dealers are created equal.

Don’t be afraid to walk away if a seller makes you feel uncomfortable or is showing you units above your price range or not what you really want.

Best of luck with your buying journey and your next adventures!

Moving from the old to the new at Midtown RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the interests of full disclosure, we currently own a 2019 Dutch Star diesel pusher. This is our fifth Newmar motorhome and Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia, is our trusted dealer.

Worth Pondering…

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

—Gloria Steinem

Taking Delivery of Our New Motorhome

2019 Dutch Star arrived

The pre-delivery inspection (PDI) and systems check completed by our dealer, we took delivery of our 2019 Dutch Star 3717 on Tuesday, November 27.

Everything looked pretty good. The new coach is well appointed with polished porcelain tile floors that extend into each slideout, full hardwood (wicker glazed maple) window treatments, carved feature ceiling, Bose Solo 5 Soundbar sound system, retractable 49-inch Sony TV, two recliners with reading lights, computer desk dinette combo with free standing hidden-leaf table, KIB backlit switch plates for interior lighting, Whirlpool two-piece stacking washer and drier, king bed, driver side power window, under-step shoe storage, and keyless entry.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Distinctive kitchen features include Whirlpool 19.7 residential-style refrigerator, Whirlpool stainless steel convection microwave with three-burner recessed gas cooktop, gas oven, pull-out pantry shelves, and galley extension with large double stainless steel sink, additional work space, and storage.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; moving from the old to the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our keyless entry system allows for entry into the coach without the use of a key. It requires the use of a remote control or correct code to unlock the door. Our coach also has power-locking baggage doors.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; moving from the old to the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Last spring we put in a custom order for a new motor coach with our trusty dealer, Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia. This is our fifth Newmar motorhome and the third purchased from Midtown.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The same length and a somewhat similar floor plan to our current 2012 model. This is the longest we’ve owned an RV since we started our snowbird lifestyle 22 years ago. We figured that if we were going to get a new diesel pusher now was the time due to our age and the fact that our extended warranty had elapsed and we required an outlay of $10,000-$15,000 for new tires and batteries and several upgrades I wanted including WiFi Ranger. Expected delivery was early October. Several factory delays and we finally took possession of our new coach.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An option we included in our custom order, the WiFi Ranger is a wireless router that creates our own private Wi-Fi network in the coach while simultaneously connecting to and boosting Wi-Fi hotspots.

There are also multiple outlets for keeping electronics powered up and even wireless charging pads next to both the driver and passenger seats.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Dometic cooler is located on a pull-out tray in a basement bin. Electronically controlled, it can be used for both heating and cooling. It can be a freezer, or it can be a beer fridge. It can be whatever you want it to be.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A second door leads to open space for storage, while a third contains an even bigger storage space; this one includes a sliding drawer, offering easy access to items that would otherwise have to be pushed far out of arm’s reach. A fourth door opens to shelves and a pegboard; an actual replacement for a typical tool shed.

Taking delivery of our 2019 Newmar Dutch Star; the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Built on a Freightliner XCR chassis and 450 HP Cummins diesel engine with 1,250 ft. lb. of torque, a test drive determined that the coach is a pleasure to drive. Features like Newmar’s Comfort Drive Steering allows for easy maneuverability with just a light grip on the wheel. You simply steer the coach like you would any other vehicle, and adjust the dial on the dash to suit your preference for steering effort. I prefer a higher setting which takes much of the movement out of the wheel especially on windy days.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition, our Dutch Star is supported by Newmar’s ultra-durable STAR Foundation for a quieter ride.

A half-day-plus customer walk-through helped familiarize us with the coach and component parts.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our coach is equipped with the Oasis hydronic heating system. This system uses a “boiler” and a pump to heat and recirculate hot fluid through a series of convectors placed throughout the unit. The Oasis system uses two different sources for heat, the diesel burner and the electric heating element. The diesel burner is the primary and most efficient heat source with an output of 50,000 BTUs. The Oasis system provides the coach with hot water on demand and furnace heat.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Los Vegas RV Resort in Los Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our coach is also equipped with radiant floor heat that uses a heat mat placed between the tile and the floor structure. A controller regulates the temperature and the timed heat cycles depending on the control setting—low, medium, and high. We find the low setting more than adequate for our comfort level. The floor heat operates on 120 volt AC power.

And the coach is all clean again © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our coach is also equipped with a fresh water tank auto fill which is enabled at the monitor panel touchscreen inside the coach. The touchscreen further indicates the fresh, gray, and black water and LP gas level in 5 percent increments along with the chassis and house batteries charge.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our coach is as beautiful on the outside as it is comfortable inside. We really like the colors of the Cobblestone exterior with the varied shades of silver gray and charcoal. Between 12 and 16 gallons of paint are used on each model. Several types of primer are applied, followed by a base coat, color for graphics, and a final clear coat. Finally, a Diamond Shield Paint Protector is utilized in areas of the coach most susceptible to bugs and rock chips. Stainless steel trim on baggage doors and kick panel at entrance door complete the look.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Los Quintas RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other features include transfer switch with energy management system, surge protection, 50-foot 50-amp power cord with rewind wheel, and power water hose reel.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Gila Bend KOA in Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Living in an RV—whether it’s part-time or full-time—isn’t about the places you can go. It’s about the journey, not the destination. Nothing beats the experience of driving down the road in a motor coach! You’re elevated, and you get to take it all in—a panoramic view.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Casa Grande RV Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Dutch Star itself is available in 12 different floor plans, with four cabinetry finish options, three exterior paint choices, and three interior color schemes, which encompass the furniture, fabric, flooring, and countertop choices. There is also a handicap model available, which is accessible with a lift and ramp.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A manufacturer of Class A motorhomes, Newmar has chosen to lead rather than follow and deliver a high level of craftsmanship, innovation, and customer support. Newmar was founded in 1968 for one simple reason: to build a better RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at iRwins RV Park in Valemont, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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