If you missed Part 1, be sure to read this very useful article as it will help you examine the different types of RVs and which one might be best for you. As we continue with Part 2, we will present some tips on how to select your first, or next, RV and outline some considerations regarding your buying decisions.
The most important question to ask yourself when buying an RV is how much can you afford? Be sure to factor in any trade-in and consider whether you will be financing. If you are purchasing an RV from a private seller, a trade-in is likely not an option, and financing may not be either. Sit down with your partner and determine honestly how much you are able to spend on an RV. Consider buying a used RV, but if you do so, be sure to have it properly inspected by a person knowledgeable in RV inspection. Used RVs can be a real value, but not if there are serious deficiencies that are very expensive to repair, the most notable one being water damage.
The next question is what type of RV suits you best. Part 1 of this article introduced the basic RV types and some advantages of each such as:
- For many people, a motorhome offers better convenience and freedom while traveling. The ability to pull to the side of the road or into a rest stop and easily prepare a meal or use the facilities is much easier in a motorhome than a trailer.
- Motorized units also provide more comfort while driving (as opposed to sitting in a truck cab), may offer more seating capacity over a tow vehicle, and tend to be easier to pack and unpack.
- Trailers tend to be less expensive than motorhomes. Although you do have to factor in the potential cost of the towing vehicle.
- One major benefit to a trailer, or towable, is the fact that you have a regular commuter vehicle once you unhook, whereas if you purchase a motorhome, getting around once you arrive at your destination requires that you either break camp, tow a vehicle behind the RV, or seek out alternative transportation such as bus, taxi, or ride-sharing.
- Some purchasers may have a requirement for a larger sleeping capacity. Trailers tend to provide potential for higher sleeping capacity, although some Class C motorhomes also have this advantage.
You may have other reasons to consider one type over another, so just take the time to consider what features are important to you in regards to towable vs. motorized.
Once you have decided on what type of RV to purchase, the next major consideration is floor plan, which includes sleeping capacity. Trailers tend to have a more “open” plan than motorhomes, which have to account for the cab area as a non-living area. Explore as many units as you can to determine which floor plan works best for you. Don’t forget to do online searches. One often overlooked feature is storage, drawer, and cupboard space. Many RVs don’t include enough of this, and owners sometimes don’t realize it until after purchase.
Also, make sure each family member approves of the space and that each of them has adequate area to do “their thing”.
If you are considering a trailer and you already have a tow vehicle, make sure it has sufficient capacity for the trailer.
An RV is a huge investment, but if your family is ready to enjoy the RV lifestyle, it is truly worth it. This article just scratches the surface of the RV selection process, but hopefully, it will get you started with some useful tips. The worst thing you can do after purchasing an RV is to let it sit idle for too long, so once you make the purchase, do you and your family a favor by using your RV whenever you can. It’s a great lifestyle!
About the Author:
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
Ray M. ~ “We’ve had a service plan with Coach-Net with 2 different RVs and we’re so glad we do. Twice in less than a month we’ve called with tire issues. Both times your representative helped us to get back on the road in a short amount of time. Thank you from two happy campers.”