Thinking about taking the plunge and enjoying RV life? An RV is a significant investment, but with a little research and good timing you can find the most RV for your money. Here’s how:
When to Buy an RV
When the mercury dips and snow flies, most people aren’t thinking about RV travel. RV sales centers are quiet and sales staff are willing to make you a great deal on a new or used RV. With new models rolling out, many dealers are looking to clear out space, making winter months a good time to buy. Sales usually start happening around Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and Presidents Day in February. And since many people sell their pre-owned RVs after the summer/fall travel season is complete, Craigslist should have good inventory as well. Whether you’re shopping for new or used, there are deals to be had, even on a budget.
It’s important to figure out exactly what features are non-negotiable and which you can live without. Start shopping around in the fall so you can get the lay of the land, see who has what, and pinpoint the models you’re most interested in purchasing.
Where to Buy an RV
If you’re looking to buy a new RV and are interested in lots of bells and whistles, an RV dealer is generally your best bet. You can pick and choose exactly the features you want and customize your RV to your taste, particularly if budget is not an issue. Deals can be found at RV shows, particularly on the last day of the show when sales people are super motivated to sell so they don’t have to transport featured vehicles back to their showrooms. Make an offer. You might be surprised.
If you decide to buy from a private third party via Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, just be sure you know exactly what you are getting. Spend a few hours in and around the RV making sure everything works and noting what isn’t working properly or needs repair. If you can, ask to take the RV for a test drive and spend an overnight. Then start your negotiations.
Wait to Upgrade
Don’t worry about adding all of the fancy features and add-ons before you drive away. Take the time to figure out exactly what upgrades you need. Most upgrades can be added after purchase, and some you can save money on by installing yourself.
If you plan to travel to some warm, humid destinations and intend to run air conditioning, RVAC Solutions makes a small, light, Advanced Soft Starter (RVMS-100S-9A and RVMS-100S-16A) that’s easy to install without professional help and can be installed in less than an hour.
A soft starter is a small electrical device that reduces the required start-up current. It can be used to start your AC unit or other appliances. While an AC unit has a running current of 10-15 amps depending on its number of BTUs, it can take 70+ amps to get a unit started, putting a considerable strain on the compressor. A soft starter allows the AC unit to get started and then feeds additional current to the compressor gradually until it reaches full speed.
Plan Your Next Adventure
Then get out there and explore! Traveling in an RV gives you optimal access to some of the best hiking, national parks, and beautiful sites in the U.S.