6 Ways to Simplify the RV Buying Process - Part 1
Step 1: Why Are You Considering an RV?This might seem like an odd place to start, but you first need to think about why you’re buying an RV. What are your travel goals? How would owning an RV help you reach those goals? This will help you narrow down what you need from your RV, so you don’t purchase one that doesn’t meet those needs.
To determine what your RV should be able to do for you, here are a few questions:
- Where will you stay on your trips? RV parks? Will you look for campsites out in the wilderness? Some RVs are more equipped for what’s called “boondocking,” or setting up in the wilderness, than others.
- How many people will regularly be traveling in your RV? If you have a larger family, you’re going to need more room.
- Who will do most of the driving? If you’re sharing driving duties with someone else, you should both be very comfortable driving the RV you buy.
- What type of trips will you be taking? Will you be on the road for a month or more at a time, or will you be taking trips that are only a few weeks long? Short trips are more bearable in smaller RVs, but if you’ll essentially be living in the RV for a good portion of the year, you’re going to want something very comfortable.
- What type of storage needs will you have? Are you traveling with pets, sports equipment, etc.?
- Will you be pulling a trailer? If you’re planning on kayaking, living out of your RV for a good amount of time, or hauling anything large, you may need one. Different RVs have different towing capacities, so keep that in mind.
- Will you be staying in warmer areas or parking the RV for the winter? Some RVs are more equipped to handle the cold than others.
Step 2: Think About Your WantsAfter you have thought about your needs, it’s time to think about your wants. Just like buying a house, you should have a list of “must haves,” and a list of “would likes” for your RV. Everything on your must-have list should be checked off. Once you’ve found some models that have everything you need, look to see which ones have the features that you would really like.
Here are some of the luxury features you might want for your RV:
- Solar panels to help power the battery. If you’re planning on being at an RV park where you can hook up to electricity more often than not, though, this might not be so useful.
- A tankless water heater so that you never have to worry about running out of hot water. Again, if you’re in an RV park often, you might not need this option.
- Your sleeping arrangement. Will a small RV with a sofa that transforms into your bed be enough for you, or do you want a permanent bed in the back? The number of people you’re traveling with will certainly affect this decision.
- Will you be traveling a lot in the winter? If so, definitely look at an RV that’s winter-ready.
- Do you need a full kitchen or just a microwave and small fridge? Larger RVs generally have larger sized kitchens, while smaller ones may lack a stove or oven.
Step 3: Order Your Wants ListNow that you have a list of your wants, you need to prioritize them. Sadly, there’s probably not going to be an RV out there that has everything you need and want, while still coming in at a price that is within your budget. If there is, well, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Since that’s not likely, however, you need to go through your list and decide what you really want and what you’re willing to give up to make the necessary adjustments. Maybe it’s just you and your spouse traveling, so having a foldout bed might be acceptable. Maybe you only plan to be in the RV for a few weeks at a time, so it doesn’t have to be incredibly comfortable. You might be planning on eating out or cooking out more often than using the kitchen in the RV. As with just about everything else in life, be ready to make some compromises.
These are the first three steps to simplifying the RV buying process. For the next three, be sure to read part two of this article.