Buying your RV is just as important as buying a car and a house! So trying to make that decision can be daunting. Over the last few years, Leslie and I have heard horror stories and have seen first hand what a lack of knowledge of the industry can do to your dream road trip. When we first went looking for an RV we got flustered. We thought, “Heck, we need a monster RV motorhome with every flashy gadget.” Next, we went into A-frame trailer phase because it was affordable, but it lacked a shower. At one point we thought about a tiny house for all the amenities…until eventually, we settled on the good ole Turtle. The turtle is built by FOREST RIVER RPOD. It might not be big enough for you, it might not have all the things you want, but that’s why reading the following questions will help you see what works best for you. Let’s get started
What type of camping are you wanting to do?
Off the grid camping
Those things are important. It will lead you towards what type of RV is best for you and your style while on the road.
- If glamping is your style, you probably are leaning towards the cool hip Airstream.
- If camping at the RV Park resort on the beach in Key West is sipping margaritas then I could see you enjoying the luxury of a motorhome that has every bell and whistle.
- Do you want to enjoy the forest but still be somewhat around society and enjoy paved paths to waterfalls or mountain hikes than I can see you in a travel trailer for convenience and size?
- The off-grid person can have all of these options or possibly a tiny teardrop (we love those too! Saw a family of 2 plus 2 dogs plus 2 bikes)
Pretty cool what people can make happen. Knowing what you intend to do with the RV is the first thing you need to decide.
One story that sticks in my mind was when we had a car issue once and we had to get towed from the I-40 an hour back into town to be repaired. If we had a Class B instead of our travel trailer, we would have needed a rental car AND hotel for a week while instead we just had the SUV got repaired. Forking out money for the repair was bad enough, we couldn’t imagine paying for a hotel and car on top of that, or trying to find a hotel that accepted a dog in the middle of nowhere. Just something to think about.
These are the RV options you have:
Travel trailer, 5th wheel, toy hauler, truck camper, class A, class B, and class C — do your homework…talk to a professional
Who, what, when?
- Who is driving this bad boy?
- What are you towing it with?
- When and how much do you plan on traveling?
These questions are extremely important. Leslie and I thought, “Hey, how hard can it be!” Just pick an RV and grab an SUV and let’s start making some s’mores!
Boy…….talk about bad decisions. We assumed we could pull our RV with a v6 and for the record, we could, except it was extremely slow…..so slow! The GPS would say, “you will reach your destination in 1 hour”, literally 2 hours later we would get there…. So frustrating. We read blogs about people pulling trailers with v6 but we found out real quick we needed a v8 to feel as though we weren’t struggling to tow.
So along with what you tow your trailer with -who is driving or pulling the RV is just as important if not more. Can that person park in tight spots without a trailer? Can that person parallel park on a crowded street? Does that person feel comfortable pulling into low hanging gas station spots, or crowded gas station pumps? Because parking an RV can be rough if you aren’t familiar with it. We actually couldn’t park our RV in one park because of a tree!!! Yes, that stuff happens. We had pulled into the park all ready to pull in to our site and next thing you know as we drive past the spot we see a ginormous tree on the right side of the paved spot with a branch that went over the spot to the left side of the spot. So trying to maneuver a trailer backward with a tree above us we were not expecting.
So expect the unexpected and be ready for whatever comes your way. Luckily for us, they had another spot left that night, if not it was parking in fancy Walmart for the night. ALSO BEST ADVICE YOU WILL EVER GET — if backing up a trailer isn’t your thing, no worries until you get better rent the PULL THROUGH SPOT. What is that? It’s like a drive-thru, you pull in and park. Viola! But seriously you gotta practice, practice makes perfect! Trust us, having confidence lowers the possibility of uncomfortable.
When do you plan on using the RV? Year round, half the year, or once a month. That should help with deciding what budget you have on how much you plan to use it.
We picked the Turtle (rPod) because we are able to maneuver into tight spots- for instance, some state parks don’t allow trailers larger than 24′ and we are junkies for National Park so anything larger than that would put us into boondocking territory and RV resorts. Finding the right size, finding what you and your family needs, and finding what you plan on doing with the RV and how long you want to travel are major factors.
Plus you gotta think about the Dog right? Does he have enough room, can you sleep somewhere else when he takes over the bed after a long hike? Again another reason we leaned toward the Turtle, it has a living area that turns into another bed if needed. Another cool thing that sold us was the outside shower, we use it to wash that dirty boy off after a long day of playing nature.
Financing or Cash Buy?
This is important because the reality is what are you willing to sacrifice? I learned really fast that having something brand new made me feel safe. That simple. After viewing trailers form people on Craigslist or shopping at an RV store for used RV’s, I found were these disturbing facts
- Cleanliness sometimes cannot be cleaned
- Rv’s need repair- lots and they are expensive
- Rv’s need maintenance every year
- Sellers aren’t honest sometimes
- Where was it parked matters, it shows how they valued it. Does it have a cover, are the tires covered, was it a storage facility or in 5 feet tall weeds?
I thought used isn’t that bad, but it really was and my options became less limited. Except I found for a quarter of what we were willing to pay for a trailer we would have gotten a quarter of our needs met. So buying new was the best option.
AND I DO NOT REGRET IT AT ALL! It was in our budget and gave me a peace of mind when it rained, gave me safety knowing I had a warranty on my items, and it felt amazing when everyone wanted to take a peek inside and see our cool RV! Plus Dodger gets to be the first to break it in. And WATER LEAKS EXIST and so does MOLD.
We also picked a new travel trailer because we weren’t handy enough to fix broken things while out of our comfort zone. Weirdly over time we have become pretty savvy with a toolbox and maybe you are better at that sort of stuff that we are, great, you are ahead of the game. When buying used from a private seller, if something seems fishy it tends to be.
Three great things about buying a new travel trailer or RV:
- You get an RV course before you drive away. That was cool! We got to learn every nook and cranny of our Turtle.
- You may get discounts at their store if they have one. We got tons of free stuff and highly recommend items for a low price.
- You can look around, most RV parks do local advertising with the RV sales departments and work together to get customers, so we got a few free nights around town and up north. Pretty cool right! Camping for free in your new RV…we thought so. We love freebies
Seriously folks, do what feels right – if you doubt it, you probably will. So think about the need, the want, and the budget. Get everything you want and if you have to compromise for no shower to have access to hideaway spots for tiny trailers do it. If you plan on traveling full time, maybe larger is better but check the gas on that baby! DO you!