If you’re like me, you love to check out the newest RVs on the market and shop for the latest RV gadgets. There isn’t anything like attending an RV supershow with thousands of other people. With the increase in RV popularity and the season of RV supershows upon us, it’s the perfect time to talk about tips for attending an RV show.
Purchase your tickets in advance
Everyone loves a discount! Save yourself money and time spent standing in long lines by purchasing your tickets in advance. Most RV shows offer early-bird pricing and when you combine early-bird prices with a military or a senior discount, you’ll most likely save enough to pay for ice cream or a root beer float the day of the show.
Before heading to the show, scope out the parking lots, RV parking areas, and shuttle stops. Most shows have accessible parking, but since those spaces fill up fast it’s a good idea to have an alternative plan if you can’t find a spot up close. Also, don’t forget to bring cash with you. Parking fees often cost upwards of $20 per day and at some RV shows parking attendants only accept cash.
Know what you want
Do your research and know what you want before you go. Have a good idea of the features you need in a new RV. It’s also important to know what you don’t need or want before you go. It’s very easy to get blinded by things you don’t really intend to buy and make an impulse purchase that you may later come to regret. Check out my guide to motorhomes and towables and look over the style of RV you want and get some solid ideas before you go.
Arrange your own financing first
It may sound a little silly, but you should always check with your local bank or lending institute before you make a purchase. If you’re already established there, chances are good that they will have a great rate and you might then have a little extra to spend on the RV itself. Putting yourself into a pre-approved loan status will also give you greater bargaining power.
>> Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to RV Shows
Set a firm budget
This one is the hardest to do, trust me. If you’re pre-approved at your local bank you already know what you can spend. If you go in and are going to use the dealer financing have a set budget in mind so you don’t overspend. It is just like buying a new car and those options and extras may look appealing at the time but down the road when you’re struggling to make the payments, was it really worth it?
Ever go to buy a car and buy the first one you see? No, you check out some other ones and test drive a few. The same goes for buying a new RV. When you get to the show, check everything out. You may find that your needs and wants change as you shop. Plus it gives you an excuse to keep looking and thinking about that purchase. It never hurts to ask the salespeople if they have any used models back at the lot, too. You may want to buy that new one that day, but there might be a used one for way less just down the road.
RV shows are the perfect place to attend seminars because the bigger shows attract industry experts from every corner of the RV world. If you’re lucky, you might get to see your favorite YouTuber speak or learn how to turn your factory rig into something fabulous. Most RV shows publish a schedule of seminars on their event website and event guide.
Tip: RV show seminars fill up quickly. Get to the seminar room early to secure a spot.
Wheelchair and scooter rentals
Most big RV shows have a wheelchair and scooter rentals on-site. You can avoid long lines or the possibility of sold-out rentals by reserving your rental online before you get to the show.
Have a game plan
Large RV shows are exciting but they can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get distracted and forget what you came to see or buy. Whether you go to an RV show to walk through the biggest Class A motorhomes, sit inside a tiny teardrop, or stock up on your favorite tank cleaner, it’s a good idea to come up with a game plan before you head into the sea of RVs.
>> Read Next: RV Shows: One-Stop RV Shopping
Most RV shows make their event guides available electronically. Read through the guide online before you go to the show and make a note of where you want to go and what you want to see. Whether you use a small notebook or take notes on your phone, write down the areas you don’t want to miss. Then, when you get distracted, all you’ll have to do is refer to your notes.
Watch the weather and prepare for fun
The best way to enjoy yourself at an RV show is to make sure you’re comfortable and dressed for the weather. Take along a raincoat if the forecast calls for rain, or bring a tube of sunscreen and a hat if the weather is warm. No matter the season, wear good shoes made for walking and don’t forget a refillable water bottle.
I have an RV and have no intentions of buying a new one any time soon. That doesn’t stop me from going to a local RV show to just look around and see the new stuff. It’s fun and anything that reminds me of camping during a time when I can’t go camping is a winner in my book.
>> Read Next: 2023 RV Shows
2023 RV Shows
Here is my list of upcoming RV shows, organized by date. Please note that not all shows are included in the following list.
Boston RV and Camping Expo, Boston, Massachusetts, January 13-16, 2023
Florida RV SuperShow, Tampa, Florida, January 18-22, 2023
Tacoma RV Show, Tacoma, Washington, January 19-22, 2023
Kansas City RV, Show Kansas City, Missouri, January 19-22, 2023
Cincinnati Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 20-22 and 25-29, 2023
Chicago RV Show, Chicago, Illinois, January 20-22, 2023
The Nashville RV Show, Nashville, Tennessee, January 20-22, 2023
Annual Manufacturers RV Show & Sale, Pleasanton, California, January 21-29, 2023
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 21-29, 2023
Dayton RV & Camping Show, Dayton, Ohio, January 27-29, 2023
Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, Louisville, Kentucky, January 25-29, 2023
Ft. Myers RV Show, Ft. Myers, Florida, January 26-29, 2023
Atlanta Camping & RV Show, Atlanta, Georgia, January 26-29, 2023
Detroit RV Show, Novi, Michigan, February 1-5, 2023
Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation & Camping Show, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 2-5, 2023
Houston RV Show, Houston, Texas, February 8-11, 2023
Austin RV Expo, Austin, Texas, February 16-19, 2023
Dallas RV Super Sale, Dallas, Texas, February 23-26, 2023
Pennsylvania RV Super Show, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, February 23-26, 2023
FMCA Convention and RV Expo, Perry, Georgia, March 15-18, 2023
44th Annual Flint RV & Camper Show, Flint, Michigan, March 17-19, 2023
Hershey America’s Largest RV Show, Hershey, Pennsylvania, September 13-17, 2023
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