Choosing Your Traveling Home
The decision to buy your first or upgrade your current RV is an important decision that requires careful planning and preparation. There are many RVs on the market and they all offer different amenities. You will need to decide what you are going to use the RV for and what amenities you require while you are on the road.
For first time RVers, it is difficult to determine which RV is right for you and your family. You first must decide how much you are willing to spend on the RV. You will want to determine your budget and get pre-approved for a loan on your RV. RVs are considered luxury items, so you will need good credit to get the best loan amount and interest rate. After you are pre-approved through your bank or lender, you will then be able to start visiting dealerships and RV shows to see what is available in your budget. You will want to be careful with your budget because not only do you need to be able to buy the RV, you need to be able to afford to vacations in it.
The next step to find your RV is to take your time shopping. You will not want to rush this decision because as soon as you buy one you will find a better RV at a better price. Talk with dealers, RV show salespeople, current RV owners and research them on the Internet. You will want to be sure that the RV you choose is really worth what it is being sold for.
Ask yourself and your family what they want in the RV. Determine what level of comfort you desire as well as what you can't live on the road without. There are numerous amenities to choose from and the more you choose, the more expensive the RV will be. Here are a few options for your RV:
- Beds (Twins, bunk beds, full, queen or king)
- Number of rooms
- Full bath with shower or a whirlpool bath
- Refrigerator plus freezer and ice maker
- Microwave/Convection Oven
- Trash Compactor
- Washer and Dryer
- Air Conditioning and Furnace
- Upgraded insulation for different weather conditions
- Upgraded BTU with heated tanks
- Full entertainment centers with indoor and outdoor speakers
- Satellite dish
- Internet stations
- GPS (Global Positioning Systems)
- Security System
- Patio Awnings
- Slide outs for extra living space
- Driver's seat with heater and massage
- Basement storage
- Carrying racks
- Rooftop Sky Deck
Many of these options are appealing but the may not be necessary for the first time RVer. Many full-time RVers live without many of these amenities while other want all of the amenities of home. While you are determining what amenities you desire, remember that more amenities are available on brand new RVs while used RVs may have limited options.
You should also consider what type of camping your family enjoys while deciding on an RV. If you like to rough it in the woods, it may be difficult to park a Class A RV or get it into the woods for that matter. State and federal parks have different sizes of campsites for RVs and may or may not include hook-ups. If you want full service hook-ups with sewer, Internet, electricity and water, you will most likely have to live in close proximity with other RVers. These are all personal decisions that you will have to make before purchasing your RV. Read books, magazines and website for more information on camping available to RVs. Your decision all depends on how much you like to rough it when you camp and how many amenities you need while on the road.
For first time RVers, you may consider purchasing a gently used RV. You will generally want to steer clear of old RVs as they may have mechanical problems that you don't know about unless you know their whole history. Remember that although you want to save on your RV budget, you want to be able to get to where you are going and back home! You may be able to save a lot of money on a gently used RV if you buy it from the owner. If you are new to RVing, a gently used RV is generally your best bet.
You will also have to research insurance and operating costs. There are insurance charges, finance charges, maintenance and camping fees that must be taken into consideration before purchasing your RV. If your purchase a fifth-wheel or caravan RV, be sure to check with your auto insurance to see if it will be covered with your vehicle. You may also want to see if you can insure the RV on your homeowner's policy.