Why You Should Attend an RV Rally

Attending an RV rally can be a great learning experience

RV rallies are wonderful ways to connect with other RVers, to become a part of the RV community and to sharpen your RV skills, develop more practical, on-the-road and camping knowledge, and to truly enhance your RV lifestyle.

There are different types and sizes of rallies. Large national rallies are hosted by Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).

Freightliner rally © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are brand club rallies for owners of a specific brand of RV. In addition to a major annual RV rally, some of these RV clubs and manufacturers host regional events. And there are numerous local chapters of various types that may hold RV rallies throughout the year.

As a general rule, the larger the RV rally, the more activities and scheduled events. Chapter rallies typically center on the gathering of a smaller group yet often include side trips, activities, door prizes and so on. The cost to attendees will vary too, depending on the size and location of the rally, the cost of camping, and what is included. Sometimes meals are part of the RV rally price, sometimes not.

There are rallies for families with kids who travel fulltime, rallies for people with common interests, and even rallies specifically for, say, Newmar owners. No matter who you are, there is an RV rally for you, and here are some of the reasons you should make a point to attend.

Rally entertainment © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Experience community

The most valuable thing a rally can offer is community. When traveling, it’s not unheard of to go weeks or even months without a good friend, let alone a group of them.

Rallies bring together groups of like-minded people who enjoy the same sorts of activities and give them time to socialize. Obviously, this builds community quite quickly and often the rally attendees will end up staying together after the event to continue the nightly campfires, weekend potlucks, and group outings.

Considering the fact that it can be difficult to find a good solid community even in a stationary home, finding such a group in the RV world is an incredible thing that nobody should pass up.

FMCA regional rally in Indio, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Shared ideas

Good rallies can be a bed of great ideas. These can help us find work-arounds on issues we may be having with our RV. They can also provide cost-saving concepts when we find out how someone else is handling an issue we have been stumped by for weeks or months. We may even discover a way of doing something that saves us time or makes our lives just a little easier.

3. Learn new skills

Rallies usually include seminars, classes, and workshops. They might bring in speakers on any number of topics and attendees are welcome to join any event that interests them.

What this means is that everyone leaves the rally with a new skill set that can be applied to their RV lifestyle. From cooking lessons to lectures on solar power, you never know what kinds of learning opportunities you’ll find at a rally.

On top of those organized opportunities, many rally attendees also find themselves learning new things from fellow RVers. After all, if your new friend is an expert on RV roof repair and you know a lot about finding internet on the road, why wouldn’t you exchange knowledge?

Pets are always welcome at RV rallies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Find new travel buddies

As mentioned before, rally attendees often hang around the same place and enjoy the company of one another in the days following the event. However, some of the more social RVers out there aren’t content to end the fun after a mere few weeks.

These individuals will use rallies to find friends to travel alongside for extended periods of time. Sometimes these travelers even go so far as to build a group of friends who then travel together as a caravan, sharing the benefits of community while still traveling.

5. See different rigs

I don’t know about you, but I’m always interested in seeing how other RVers live. Rallies are the perfect opportunity to do just that. Some rallies include a parade of homes in which attendees can show off their respective setups. Others feature a lot of brand-new rigs for rally participants to walk through.

That said, even if a rally has no such event, you can always ask to have a look around the homes of your new friends. Not only is this interesting and fun but it’s also a good way to get new ideas for how to organize and use your own space.

RV supplies are often demonstrated at RV rallies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Discover new hobbies

Some rallies are for folks with niche interests. However, not all rallies are so specific and those that cater to more eclectic mixes of people tend to provide awesome chances to discover new hobbies.

Chat with other RVers and find out what they do. Make a point of attending crafting or sporting events put on by the rally. Use the event to venture outside your comfort zone. After all, you probably don’t have much to lose in doing so and you might just gain a cool new passion you would never have thought to try on your own.

It’s a dog’s life at an RV show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Gather new recipes

Many rallies involve one or more potluck meals. What’s great about potlucks with other RVers is that you know any food you find and love can be made in a tiny RV kitchen. Many RVers are happy to share their recipes with others at the rally.

These are just some of the many, many reasons to attend an RV rally. If you’ve never been to one, seek one out and give it a try. I bet you’ll have a blast!

Worth Pondering…

Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.

—Frank Herbert

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