Do you dream of hitting the open road and spending your days in one vacation spot after another? If so you are probably thinking of joining the growing number of RV owners. But buying an RV is a significant commitment, it’s like purchasing a house and luxury car at the same time. The last thing you want to do is get 1000 miles from home with the family and realize you made a big mistake. So what do you need to know before heading to the local dealer and driving away with your new home away from home?
Honestly, there are a thousand questions you could ask yourself, but we are here to help you narrow down the list. Below are three essential questions you need to answer before ever writing a check.
1. What do you expect to do with your new RV? Before you can figure out which RV might be right for you, it is important to figure out exactly how you plan on using the RV. Will you be taking weekend trips to nearby destinations or taking the family cross country? When you do travel will you be staying at RV parks with all the amenities or roughing it anywhere you can get off the road?
2. Where do you plan on taking your RV? You may think that RVing is all about hitting the road and going wherever your mood takes you. To a certain degree this would be correct, the freedom of having a home on wheels does allow for a lot of spontaneity but there are limits. You need to have some idea of where you might like to visit to ensure you select the right RV for the trip.
For example, if you plan on staying at National Parks many have size restriction. Likewise, if you plan on driving to the top of Mt. Washington or the back roads of America’s wilderness, you need a vehicle you can handle on winding narrow roads.
3. What can you honestly afford? Everyone goes to the dealer with a price range in mind, but just like when you buy a car that price often changes and it usually goes up. Remember it is the dealer’s jobs to sell you as much as he can and to be honest most people want to buy the best they can afford.
But you need to do two things BEFORE walking the lot (1) figure out your realistic budget and (2) deduct at least 20% to cover other expenses. Remember you will need to pay for site rental when traveling; storage when at home and there is always the possibility of repairs even on a new vehicle.
The quickest way to kill your travel plans is to try and find the perfect RV. You could spend weeks, months, even years looking at one model after another visiting every dealer and travel show you can find. However, it is challenging to know what the perfect RV is until you have spent some time on the road. Get what you can afford now, make sure it meets your basic needs and get out there to enjoy yourself. It’s a lot more fun learning from your adventures, even if you make mistakes, than from studying brochures.
For more information check out this YouTube video from some experienced RVers.