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5 RV Buying Tips That Will Save You from Regret!

| Updated Feb 24, 2024

Here are our top 5 RV buying tips to set you on the right path to RV ownership. Even if you only read the first 2 tips, you'll be far less likely to regret your decision…

Buying an RV is a significant investment. In fact, it’s usually the second most expensive purchase people make in their life aside from their home.

But, like buying a house, it’s hard to get it right the first time. There’s even a saying in the RV community that goes, “Buy your 3rd RV first” because that’s normally how many attempts it takes to get it right.

Well, we’re going to help you buy your 3rd RV first with the following tips. They will save you time, money, and regret!

RV Buying Tips from Experienced RVers

5 RV Buying Tips That Will Save You from Regret! 1

We’ve been RVing mostly three-quarters a year for over a dozen years. We have owned a few small RVs and now also have a 5th wheel trailer. So, yeah… we have plenty of experience buying RVs.

But! More so, we have listened and learned from countless RVers over the years and heeded their advice whenever possible.

So, these tips don’t just stem from our experience but from our network of fellow RVers.

Tip #1: Try Before You Buy

This is by far the most important tip we can offer. Try before you buy! Don’t just tour different RVs… rent them and try them out for a weekend at a time.

Yes, we know renting RVs can be a bit pricey, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run! Plus, renting is more affordable than ever with apps like Outdoorsy, which is like Airbnb for RVs.

Rent different RV classes, different sizes, and different floor plans. You’ll be surprised how often what you thought you wanted and needed is different than real-world experience!

As you ‘Try Before You Buy,’ keep the following tip in mind…

Tip #2: Start with the RV Lifestyle You Want (Not the RV)

How Safe Is Boondocking? 10 Expert Tips and Techniques

Many RVers make the mistake of shopping for an RV before they really know what RV lifestyle they want. Andany are surprised by the number of RV lifestyles there are!

Here are the most common RV Lifestyles (these aren’t official names… just summaries):

  • Weekend Warrior: short camping trips near your home
  • Public Land Camper: mostly stays at public campgrounds, like state & national parks, that have minimal hookups and amenities (if any)
  • Private Campground Camper: mostly stays at privately-owned campgrounds that tend to have partial or full hookups and more amenities, like pools and playgrounds
  • RV Resort Camper: a camper who’s willing to pay extra for more luxurious amenities, like club houses, golf courses, tennis courts, etc.
  • Boondocker: a mostly “off grid” camper that prefers secluded areas over campgrounds.
  • Touring RVer: prefers to tour new destinations and doesn’t stay too long at any one campground
  • Long-term Camper: prefers to stay in one location for an extended period of time
  • Seasonal Camper: typically only camps during a certain season or seasons (like snowbirds camping in Florida for winter)
  • All-Season Camper: camps year-round, rain or shine, cold or warm
  • Full-time RVer: live and/or travel full-time in their RV

As you can see, there are lots of different types of RV lifestyles with plenty of overlap. Most RVers discover a combination that works best for them, and that’s what you’ll need to figure out, too.

Tip #3: Match the RV to the RV Lifestyle

Montana RV

Once you figure out what RV lifestyle you want, THEN match the RV to that lifestyle.

Most people do this backwards – but now you know to figure out the lifestyle first. Mike explains this even more in this video. And while you watch, please Subscribe!

Tip #4: Don’t Forget to Factor Your Pets into the Decision

Did you know one of the most common reasons people choose RV travel is so they can bring their pets along? It’s true! We have always traveled with a dog and wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, don’t forget to factor in a “pet space” when looking for an RV. However, don’t go overboard! Your pet really doesn’t need a lot of space as they will have the great outdoors to enjoy as much as possible.

Take it from us! We have traveled in a small RV with our 70lb Norwegian Elkhound, and we were pretty comfy. If anything, it encourages us to go for more walks and enjoy the outdoors more.

And don’t think dogs are the only option! Lots of RVers take their cats, birds, and even reptiles along. There’s even a growing trend of RVers taking chickens camping!

Tip #5: Invest in Some Upgrades

Mike and Bo on an RV Mattress

While many upgrades are superfluous, some are well worth the cost! You can opt for some of these upgrades if buying new, but many you’ll need to do after.

Here are the most common upgrades RVers say are worth it:

More RV Buying Tips

In truth, we could list dozens more tips for buying an RV, but we wanted to cover the top tips to get you started. Also, make SURE you listen to the interview on this podcast episode – where I talk to a lemon lawyer who will set you straight on how to handle the paperwork when purchasing an RV.

We also have several more resources for you to refer to:

If you really want to take a deep dive into buying an RV, we recommend our ebook on RV Buying Secrets…

Our RV Buying Secrets

5 RV Buying Tips That Will Save You from Regret! 2

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!

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!


We're OVER 11,500 members in our NEW Community!

5 RV Buying Tips That Will Save You from Regret! 3

We have a Space for all sorts of things you want to know as an RVer, including Travel Planning, Electrical, Plumbing, Traveling with Pets, Gear, and more.

You can join each Space individually and only see what's being discussed in just that Space. Or you can see everything in the main Feed.

You can watch livestreams that are focused on one Space or another – like we recently did for Internet on the Road!

It's a calm, well-organized, friendly space to meet other RVers who might be traveling near you!

Join us https://community.rvlifestyle.com

Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-02-23

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

2 Responses to “5 RV Buying Tips That Will Save You from Regret!”

March 09, 2024at1:44 pm, Elaine Cogbill said:

What is the long handle called to put on your 5th wheel rv to hold onto to go up the stairs?

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March 12, 2024at12:28 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

This is the handle Mike and Jen added – Jen really loves it – team RV Lifestyle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BW2SQ3L6?ref=vse_pfo_vwis

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