YOUR GUIDE TO VISITING RV SHOWS. NO GPS REQUIRED.
So you are thinking about buying a new RV, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you are like me and just enjoy looking at all the different types of RVs? It’s always fun to dream.
Whether you are ready to take the plunge or are still in the dreaming phase, visiting an RV show is a great way to see what sort of RVs are out there…all under one roof. From Folding Camping Trailers to Sport Utility RVs and everything in between, you’ll find a little bit of everything. Kind of like going to an RV buffet!
If going to an RV dealership sounds intimidating, try starting with a visit to an RV show. RV shows are designed to be a place where you can leisurely browse through the inventory of many dealers without any pressure. The RVs are open and ready to be explored. If you are serious about purchasing, you’ll be happy to know many dealers offer special sales at the shows.
This past January, we visited our first RV show in Indianapolis. It was a perfect way to escape the winter cold for an afternoon of family fun and dream about the upcoming warmer weather.
At the time, our family was in the midst of finding a new RV and walking through many different models gave us an opportunity to see a variety and discuss features that were important to all of us. The boys saw different layouts of bunk rooms and got to talk about the pros and cons of each. Brent and I found it particularly helpful to be able to walk through all the kitchen layouts. It’s one thing to look at beautiful pictures online, but actually walking through the different spaces one after another really gives you a good idea of what will work for you.
It was at this RV show that we finally decided on our current RV. We spent at least half an hour sitting on the couches and discussing how it would meet our needs. A few weeks prior, we had seen the model briefly, but the RV show gave us the relaxed atmosphere we needed to make a decision.
Later that month, we went to another RV show in Ft. Myers, Florida. Now that the pressure was off to find a new RV, this show was just for fun. What a great afternoon! We looked at all sorts of RVs from small Airstreams to gigantic luxury diesel pushers.
Tips for Visiting an RV Show
Don’t be shy. The dealers are there because they want you to look at the RVs. Feel free to walk around and explore. Sit on the couches, open and close some cabinets, peek in the refrigerator, look in the closet, and discuss where you would put your stuff. Feel free to make yourself comfortable and hang out for awhile.
If you have a question…ask! There are dealer representatives located in each area. Find one and ask about the gas mileage, the warranty, or any other questions you may have. That’s what they are there for and they are happy to help.
Short on time? Prioritize. If you are looking for something specific, for example a front living room Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailer, there are often tables with representatives as you walk into their sections. Ask them if they have the type of model you are interested in seeing at the show. This is especially helpful if it is a big show and you don’t have time to browse.
Keep an open mind. There will literally be hundreds of RVs to look at and you never know what sort of new floor plan or feature you may come across. When we started out on the road we were “set” on getting a motorhome, but ended up with a Fifth-Wheel after walking into one at an RV dealership.
Take time to check out the RV-related vendors. You’ll see everything from lawn ornaments to air conditioners to Tupperware. It’s a good place to find out what kind of “accessories” you might want to consider for your RV.
Avoid “traffic jams.” RV shows are typically more crowded than RV dealership lots. If you want to cut down on crowds, then try going on a weekday. While not common because there are so many RVs, occasionally you might stumble into a little “traffic jam”. Be patient and wait a few minutes for the crowd to move on. This happened once or twice while we were at the shows, but after a few minutes the crowds dispersed and we could check out the RV without bumping into others. While we waited, we usually looked at a less crowded RV nearby.
Bring home brochures and business cards. It can sometimes be hard to remember all the different models you see at the shows. Many of the dealers will have tables or stands with brochures for the different manufacturers. Bring some home so you can look through and discuss what you saw or discover a model that wasn’t at the show. If you don’t see the brochures, you can ask someone if they have any. Perhaps you met a salesperson who you found especially helpful? Ask for his or her card so you can contact them later.
Don’t forget your camera. A camera can be a helpful way to remember manufacturer names, model numbers, or features you really liked about a particular RV especially if, for whatever reason, a brochure isn’t available. Or maybe there is a dealer that has a bunch of models you are interested in, take a quick snapshot of their logo for future reference. Of course, don’t forget to take pictures of your outing!
Remember an RV show is your chance to “sample” all the different RVs out there without pressure to buy. No matter your travel style, there really is something for everyone and every budget. You are there to have fun, explore, and dream! Find an RV Show near you.
Have you ever been to an RV show? What did you enjoy the most?