The Tribe’s Top Tips for visiting an RV show!

Visiting an rv show can be an educational and fun activity.  Here are some tips to make the most of your visit!

Our Top Tips for visiting an RV show!

Whether you are a fulltime RVer, a weekend warrior, or just want to find out what all the hype is about ‘rving’, visiting an rv show can be a great way to spend a day (or three!).

You can check out some of the fabulous new floorplans out there, find out what new amenities are available, discover fun new travel friendly products, and even attend seminars on everything from LED lighting to how to flush your black tank properly.  You will likely come across booths representing local campgrounds (and get a feel for how friendly their staff is!), find deals on campground membership plans, and even pick up some fun swag from the big names in RVing/camping!  (*While you are browsing, pick up some of those free reusable bags that Camping World hands out – they are the perfect size for laundry!)

If you are looking to purchase, whether it is your first RV or upgrading, an RV show is generally a low-pressure atmosphere where you can visit many floorplans and manufacturers in a short span of time!  But visiting an rv show can also be a big undertaking; many of the larger shows cover acres of space, and the information available can be overwhelming!  Here are The Tribe’s Tips to getting the most out of your rv show visit:
In Preparation (thing to do before you head out to the show):
1. Do some RV browsing either at a local rv dealership, or online (I prefer online since there is no pressure to purchase!).  Because so many shows are so large, it is difficult to see everything; it is helpful to have a general idea of what class/makes/models you want to make sure not to miss!

RV shows are a great opportunity to see many different rv makes and models in a close proximity!

Having the time to tour each rv, generally without the pressure of a specific salesman hovering over you, gives you the opportunity to find out what really appeals to you, and what you don’t want in a coach!

2. Prioritize what you are looking for in an rv, and use that list at the show to help keep you focused.  It is very easy to forget important features in the immersion of so many shiny new designs!3. Make a list of any RV accessories that you are looking for, as well as their online prices.  Sometimes you can find good deals on accessories at shows (plus you save shipping fees), other times, they are overpriced; knowing your prices is advantageous either way.
4. Print your coupons!  Most RV shows have a facebook page or website for the show, and many offer a $ off coupon available to print either on their website or through a link on their facebook page.
5. Plan your food for the day!  Most rv shows will have food vendors available; they are often expensive, and vary greatly in the variety they may offer.  Some shows have fun food vendors that add to the experience, some offer only overpriced concessionary choices.  We usually take our own lunch, but sometimes when you have choices like cajun fries with crawfish, you HAVE to eat on sight!
6. Consider leaving the kids at home.  Now, before you flame me, remember, we have 12 kids, so I am definitely not saying this from an anti-child stance.  If you are attending the show and wanting to glean information about the different types of rvs, floorplans, and manufacturers, trying to figure out what will work best for your family, seriously consider leaving the kids with gramma.  If you already have pretty good handle on how things work, have narrowed the prospective-rv field down and are just trying to decide on an actual floorplan, then by all means, take the kids and get their input – after all, it’s going to be their rv too!  No matter what, please don’t be so engrossed in talking with the salesman and trying to figure it all out that the kids are running sprints the length of the trailer, jumping on the bed, standing on the couches, and slamming faucet handles off and on.  No kidding – we’ve seen all of these.  The one that about did me in was the boy who was ignored, so he took it upon himself to use the restroom in the coach they were walking through.  #itreallyhappened

Visiting an rv show can be very helpful when trying to decide which floorplan is best for your family.

During an rv show, you will find designs that do not appeal to you personally, and some that don’t appeal to anyone…like open drawers in the bathroom!

When visiting the rv show:
6. Don’t dress to impress – dress to avoid blisters!  Comfy shoes and clothing are a must as you will be likely walking miles and climbing in and out of coaches.  Also, few large RV shows are housed completely indoors, so dress for the outside weather as well so you can browse those units parked outside; take jackets if chilly, and umbrellas if rainy or hot and sunny.

7. If at all possible, be there when the doors open.  The show will not be as crowded, and the salesmen will be more attentive and cheerful first thing in the morning!
If you are driving to an rv show in your rv, try to pull in before the show opens.  The parking can get dicey for rvs once the flow of traffic increases and the parking lot fills up!  Some shows offer separate parking areas for rvs, but not all.
8. Take the time to check over the schedule and map that many shows provide at the door.  This will help ensure that you don’t miss any classes that may be helpful to you, or pass by any displays that you are interested in.
9. Don’t rush.   If you are seriously considering purchasing an rv soon, try to be available to attend the rv show for more than one day.  Some of the larger shows need 3 or 4 days to canvas.   If you know the brands or floorplans that you are most interested in, try to see those first, but do not rush your way through them to try to see everything!
10. Take notes on and photos of the things you like best about different rvs.  After the show, the different models you looked at will all run together, and it will be hard to remember the different things you liked and didn’t like about each model.  A good idea is to take a photo of the spec sheet for each rv that you are interested in first (usually found laying on the countertop, or hanging in the window), followed by pics of what you want to remember about that rv.  When you move on to a new rv, make sure to take that spec picture again, and you will know which amenities belonged to which models.  When considering an rv purchase, we always take a digital camera, clipboard with notepad, and a pen along to keep track of our thoughts and opinions about each model that we are considering.
11. Try out the RVs! You want to thrive in your RV, not survive!  While you cannot actually wash dishes or take a shower in a show display, you should pretend to do normal daily activities in each possible purchase to see which designs are going to work for you: do you have enough elbow room to shampoo your hair, is that queen bed really going to be big enough when you are used to a king, is the pantry space accessible and adequate?
If you are buying a Class A, B, or C, do not purchase it without driving it!!! (but this will most likely have to wait until after the show. lol.)

Use an rv show experience to see what it is like to spend some time in an rv!

Pretend to do typical daily chores in each rv to get a feel for possible issues!

 12. Looking for accessories?  Make a full round of the vendors before deciding who to purchase from.  Just because someone says their price is a show special does not mean it is a good deal!
13. Know your budget, and stick with it.  The RV at the show is not the only one of that model out there.  At the same time, if you are sure of the model you want, and they have it at a great deal, it may be a good time to purchase (and you can often swing a better deal on the last day of the show than the first).  Never let a salesman pressure you into any purchase on the spot; if that is their sales tactic, you need a different salesman!14. Be aware that the advertised ‘sale’ price is often not their lowest ‘take’ price!  30% off MSRP (msrp and sale price will typically not be the same) is usually a good price, but sometimes you can get even more off!

RV shows are a great place to check out what is new in the rv world, as well as finding helpful travel products!

Be sure to take notes on what you like and don’t care for on each model that you might consider purchasing!

 15. Remember that even at the biggest of shows, not every RV out there will be available for show!   Do not feel pressured to purchase at the show, and take note of the dealerships that were attentive and helpful, but not pushy.  Gather business cards of those salesmen you may want to work with in the future (and make notes of the ones you definitely don’t want to!).
Visiting an rv show can be a really fun and educational activity!   And even if you aren’t in the market for a new rv, spending the day surrounded by homes on wheels is sure to make you want to get your wheels on the road!  Time for a roadtrip!

Lilla Rose

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