RV shows are the best places to do research on the type of RV you’ve been dreaming of having. At the show, there are entry-level, mid-line and high-end units. It’s also a place to check out new RV gadgets and accessories. Instead of driving from RV lot to RV lot, everything is there under one roof.

Here are two checklists that I’ve developed to help you get organized for an RV show and to help you make the most of your time while there.

Click here for a printable version of both checklists.

Things to Do to Prepare for an RV Show Completed
Find the show(s) in your area. (RVIA.org and RVtravel.com have lists of shows in the U.S. and Canada)
Check out which dealers, brands and vendors will be at the show by visiting the organizer’s website. (There is most likely a map of the RV show’s exhibit floor plan.)
Know your tow vehicle’s capacity, hitch system, tongue and towing weight for trailer.
If you know you may buy at the show, get preapproved financing.
Check around for entry fee discount coupon.
Arrange pet sitting services (as pets are not welcomed at most shows).
Decide which brands you want to visit first at the show.
Make an easy-to-carry survival bag to take with you and include (add anything you need):

  • Pouch for the brochures you gather
  • Small camera for taking pictures of the rigs you are considering
  • Notebook and pen
  • Small flashlight
  • Light-weight tape measure
  • Snacks and water
Consider going to the show more than one day (usually the entry fee is good for the show duration.)

 

You can find RV products at RV shows.

You can find RV products at RV shows.

Things to Do at The RV Show Completed
Record RV details that you might forget with camera and notebook.
Check the floor plan and exterior styling. Can you see yourself camping in the RV and maintaining it?
What is the exterior made of?  How much maintenance will it require?
What is the amount of exterior storage and how easy is it to access?
What is the quality of the exterior mirrors and awnings?
How much interior storage is there?
Is the refrigerator spacious enough for your needs?
Is the bed mattress big and comfortable enough?
Is there room to get dressed in the bedroom?
Is there enough room to take a shower in the bathroom?
What is the medicine cabinet size?
Is there adequate seating in the living room?
Is the TV at a comfortable level with the eyes?
Speak with informed RV manufacturer reps to learn more about the rig(s) you are most interested in owning.
Make a connection with local dealer representatives in case you want to call with a question afterwards.
Check to see if discounted prices are for show dates only (but don’t let the sales people pressure you).

 

Dining area.

Dining area.

At the show, you will check out the local RV dealer and the RV. After the show, review the information you gathered, your notes and picture and do more research on the manufacturers’ websites. You should be able to sort out which brand best fits your budget and your family’s needs.

The final step is to visit the dealership. Remember that you can ask for the show sale price even when the unit is back on the dealer’s lot (unless the discounted price was for show dates only). Happy shopping and remember – camping IS great fun!