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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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