Last Updated on April 26, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine
An RV buying guide is helpful when you’re looking for the “perfect” RV for your family. I remember when we were buying an RV. I was so confused and looked for different guides, but there really wasn’t much that I could find that was helpful.
My goal in this article is to help you think of things you might not otherwise think of so you can choose the best RV that works for your family.
Top Things to Think About
- Number of necessary sleeping spots
- Ease of getting your RV into your camping site
- Space for eating
- Necessary division
- Window coverings
- Storage space
Some buying guides make it far too complicated to think about and might be overwhelming, but I’ll keep it simple for you today.
How Many People Does an RV Sleep?
You can get very creative with where people sleep in an RV but generally, you’ll see “this RV sleeps x amount of people” in a listing about the RV. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t always trust it. Sometimes the listing says an RV sleeps so many, and the people you plan on sleeping in those places won’t even be able to fit.
For instance, if you have all adults, it’s unlikely that you’d sleep one of them in a loft that is meant for children.
A virtual tour might do the trick if you want to check it over, but if you can see it in person, it’s always best. Keep in mind that we bought both of our RVs without seeing them, and it worked out okay.
How Easy Will It Be to Get the Camper Into Your Camping Site?
Depending on how you like to camp, you might want a different type of camper. If you plan on going in small areas and need to navigate under low tree limbs, then you definitely don’t want a Class A motorhome or a large fifth-wheel RV. A campervan might be more suited to the type of camping you want to do.
On the other hand, if you’d like to go to RV resorts and don’t plan on going off-roading or getting out into the wild too much, then a large motorhome or fifth-wheel might be exactly what you want.
Just because an RV is small doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier to back up into a camping spot. In fact, the smaller RVs are a little more difficult because when you turn and start to go backward, it REALLY turns might can mess up the whole job, and then you have to start over again. You can learn your RV, though, so don’t let that deter you from getting a small RV if you want to keep your budget low and make it easy to pull around.
Do You Have Enough Space to Sit and Eat?
Sitting down to eat with the family is a lot of fun, but it’s not as much fun if you’re all crammed together uncomfortably. True, you could go outside and sit, but if it’s raining, that might not be an option.
Seating space is important if you want to have a good time on your camping trip, but seating where you can set your plate or bowl down makes it even nicer. Not everyone enjoys holding a plate and eating with one hand.
Is There Privacy for People That Want It?
If you go on a long camping trip or if you plan on RVing full time, you might want to have your own area so you can get a little privacy. Close quarters can be a bit stressful sometimes, and having a bit of space that is private to you in your RV can make a big difference.
Does Your New RV Have Window Coverage You Need?
If you buy a new RV and don’t pay attention to the window coverage, you might be in for a big surprise. One of the RVs that we had was outfitted with those thin pull-down accordion shades. It helped with the light a bit but not much.
In fact, one time when we were in Las Vegas, we were parked very close to one of our neighbors, and they had a motion light. It would go off every once in a while during the night, and our cat would go wild over it.
Needless to say that we didn’t get much sleep. And the neighbors were not very happy about me asking them if they could turn it off or at least just leave the light on during the night.
Finding an RV that has day/night shades will make this problem go away, so keep a lookout for that.
Is There Enough Storage Space In the RV You’re Considering Buying?
If you want to bring quite a bit of stuff with you, make sure there is plenty of storage space in your RV. You might have storage space in the basement, but you also want to have storage.
You can check out my article on the best RV Storage if you want to see some ideas and ways to store more in your RV.
Everyone has different stuff they want to store, so what worked for me might not work for you. However, I loved the hanging shoe racks. I would put them in our closet and put my clothes in there. Storage tubs are also very helpful if you want to store a bunch of stuff in your RV basement without stuff getting inside them.
Knowing what you want to bring will help you decide on whether or not the RV has enough storage or not.
Upkeep Cost for the RV
Not all upkeep cost is the same. If you have a class A motorhome, it’s obviously going to cost more than upkeep for a small travel trailer. Make sure the RV you consider is within your budget, not only in price but also by keeping upkeep costs in mind as well.
RV Buying Guide Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Buy an RV?
Yes. If you want to have a space that is all your own that you can count on when you go to different places, you should. However, some people find they don’t camp enough, and they’d rather just rent an RV instead.
Are there any hidden fees when buying an RV?
Yes. Many times the RV salesperson wants to sell you extended warranties, maintenance packages, and other similar things. Just keep this in mind, and you can deny anything you don’t want to buy.
How do I avoid buying an RV money pit?
Make sure to check that the floors aren’t soft. Look for any sign of water damage, such as discoloration or odd smells.
This is a great RV buying guide that I wish I’d had whenever I bought my two RVs. If you’ve bought an RV and know of other things that would help people, please feel free to comment below.
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