We've lost count of how many RV shows we've attended. So, here are our expert tips for attending an RV show, whether this is your first RV show or your hundredth…
Jennifer and I love attending RV shows. We visit and report from many of the biggest and best RV shows every year, and smaller shows, too. It's a great way for us to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in the RV community to share with our RV Lifestyle community.
We also attend RV shows because we really enjoy them! We always run into fellow RVers we've met on the road, and it's a great place to make new friends, too.
The RV Show season starts in January and runs through late May. After summer break, it picks up again in September and runs until almost Thanksgiving. To see a complete month-by-month RV Show Schedule, see our calendar at https://rvlifestyle.com/rv-show-list/
On Episode 429 of the RV Podcast, we talk to Dave Kelly, the executive director of the Florida RV Trade Association, sponsors of the massive Florida RV Supershow that takes place every January in Tampa.
To see a video version of the episode, click the player below.
For an audio version, you can listen to the RV Podcast on your favorite podcast app or click the audio player below.
RV shows need not be intimidating!
I know the thought of milling through a crowded convention center and parking lot can seem overwhelming to some. After all, it's not uncommon to have to wait in lines to enter new models or have to squeeze through to see new RV products.
But the crowds aren't always that bad. Plus, there's a great deal you can do to prepare for an RV show before you arrive and before every day you attend.
I will share those tips with you so you can make the most of attending an RV show.
13 Pro Tips for Attending an RV Show This Year
The following RV show tips will help whether you're attending large RV shows known nationwide or local shows nearby. It doesn't matter the size of the show or your purpose for visiting; they will help you have the best visit possible.
Be sure to check out our updated RV Show List. And if you know of an RV show we missed, let us know so we can add it!
1. Bring a Pen or Marker
I know the days of writing things down are dying, but a pen or marker will really come in handy. Most RV dealers and vendor booths hand out flyers or brochures. So, it's helpful to be able to write notes on them as you speak with the representative.
The writing utensil will also come in handy with Tip #3 below.
2. Arrive Early
Arrive as soon as you can check-in. Many attendees tend to mosey in a couple to a few hours after the doors open. And that moseying quickly turns into long lines and people blocking your path as they try to figure out where to go.
Arriving early gives you a big head start that helps you stay ahead of the crowds of people all day.
PRO TIP: You should also arrive at least 10 minutes early to seminars and presentations! You'd be surprised at how quickly these fill up.
3. Know the Layout
Take some time to look at the map you received at registration to familiarize yourself with the giant center and outdoor spaces. Ideally, you can do this the night before or before the doors open. If that's not possible, at least do this before you walk off in a random direction.
It's a good idea to mark the map with your trusty pen or marker from Tip #1. Highlight any of the must-see booths, newest models, and new products you really want to see.
As you do, the most efficient path to see everything you want will reveal itself. Don't forget to factor in stopping for snacks and bathroom breaks! Mapping this out can save LOTS of time, which is why I recommend the next tip, too…
4. Plan Each Day the Night Before
If you are attending one of the big RV shows that you can't see in a day, I highly recommend you plan each day the night before. Take your map and pull up the show's website to review the special events each day, like educational seminars.
As you plan, you can consider whether or not you need to do the next tip.
5. Divide and Conquer
If you're worried you won't get to everything you want to do, divide and conquer! If attending an RV show with your spouse or friends, you can cover different sections and attend different seminars.
Then, you can share highlights with each other at the end of the day. This is another time when it helps to take notes with your trusty pen from Tip #1!
Bonus Tip: Maybe you can wear one of these to connect with other RV Lifestyle fans!
6. Schedule Breaks
As you plan your day, don't forget to schedule in breaks! Look for nice places along your route that would be the best place to rest, and mark it.
There are usually more chairs available near food vendors and seminar areas (where you can sit between seminars). You can also schedule a mid-day break when you return to your RV for lunch. This brings me to my next tip.
7. Plan Your Meals
There will be lots of food around the show, but it's usually more expensive and sometimes less convenient than eating in your RV. So, when making your daily plan, consider where you want to eat and when.
8. Don't Overschedule
As you plan out all these things, don't overschedule yourself! Seriously, take your time! There is so much to see and enjoy that you don't want to rush through it.
Trying to do too much in too little time is the surest way to turn a fun RV show into a frustrating experience.
9. Enter Drawings for Giveaways
Most vendors give out small freebies like candies and pens. But, many vendors have drawings for RV accessories, free stays in RV resorts, and other big prizes.
Someone has to win. Why not you?!
Entering a giveaway usually means you'll start receiving emails and maybe even snail mail from the company, but it's really not that bad. You can usually easily unsubscribe.
Many of these companies are small businesses, so it's not like they're going to sell your contact information. They just want to send you future promotions, which can get you a better deal on something you might want.
10. Don't Buy the First Thing
Don't buy the first thing you see or think you need. Chances are, another vendor has the same item. You might be able to find it at a better price or choose from more styles and colors.
Mark possible purchases on your trusty map, and circle back around to it if you decide to buy it.
11. Take Pictures
Start with a fully-charged phone and keep it handy to take pictures throughout the day. It'll help you keep track of things you want (either now or in the future). It'll help you compare products and circle back around to your final decision.
12. Don't Be Pressured to Buy
This is an IMPORTANT TIP! Do not be pressured to buy that day. Quite a few sales reps will try to put time pressure on you to make the sale. Don't give in to it.
In fact, if a salesman says, “This deal is only good for today” then you should probably walk away. In my opinion, that's a red flag that the salesman is relying more on his salesmanship than giving you an honest good deal.
The best deal shouldn't require you to buy a travel trailer, 5th wheel, toy hauler, motorhome, or any RV by the end of the business day.
13. Wear Comfortable Shoes!
I'm going to end this list with a very practical and vital tip. Wear comfortable shoes! You'll be doing a lot of walking and standing all day long.
The Hershey show, which is America's largest RV show, is the size of 33 football fields! So, I highly recommend wearing some comfortable sneakers or even lightweight hiking shoes!
Hershey RV Show Highlights
Here are some highlights of our most recent trip to America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We've been going to this show for years and it's still getting bigger and better.
Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!
Next to your home, an RV is most likely the 2nd most expensive thing you'll ever purchase.
We get questions every day of other RVers wondering. “How do you buy a new or used RV?”
So we created a 75+-page downloadable digital guide to help you understand the nuances that come with purchasing an RV, where you can save thousands of dollars in the buying process, what the right questions are to ask dealers, what things to look out for, how to select the right unit, amenities, warranties, and so much more!
We created this guide to help you understand the nuances that come with purchasing an RV including:
- Where to save thousands of dollars in the buying process
- What questions to ask dealers
- How to select the right unit
- How to narrow down RV amenities
- Understanding your warranty and what it covers
This ebook is designed to help make your purchase process as smooth as possible. And to teach you step-by-step exactly what to do so you can start your RV Lifestyle today!