There are so many different options when it comes to RVs, that it can be very daunting to make a final decision. Choosing the right RV is a very personal and will greatly depend on your travel style. We’re in the process of purchasing our second RV after five years, and hope that sharing our experience will help you.
Before you even start looking at RVs, take a good honest look at your budget. A realistic budget will help you narrow down your search. After all, there’s no point in wasting your time looking at rigs you can’t afford. However, don’t forget the saying, “you get what you pay for.” We don’t want you to pay too much for your RV, but you do want to get the best quality even if it means sacrificing space or another wish list item.
How many does it need to sleep on a regular basis?
I add “regular basis” because when we first bought our toyhauler I felt we needed the garage bedroom suite for our sons (ages 18, 22, and 24) when they came to visit us all the time. In reality, we go visit them more than they visit us, so our new RV will only need to sleep 2 and when the boys do come to visit us, we’ll rent a cabin like these cool ones at the Tucson LazyDays KOA.
Do you need a separate sitting and work space?
Our toy hauler had one long sofa and no dinette. I really didn’t think that one out. As a full-time remote employee, I didn’t find it very comfortable to sit on the sofa while working. We ended up taking out the sofa and replacing it with theater seats and a dinette.
How do you feel about your kitchen being in your living room?
Many layouts, particularly in smaller RVs, have the kitchen on one wall and the living room on the other.
Is a “walk around” bed really important?
It is to us, but may not be for you. Sean requires a CPAP machine, so we even look for a nightstand and 12 volt power plug on at least one side of bed.
What can you access with the slides in?
For folks who like to stop at rest areas, access to the kitchen, bathroom, and even your bed is important even when the slides are in.
Water Holding Tanks
If you are planning to spend your RV travel in campgrounds, tank capacity may not be an issue. However, for boondocking or dry camping, you’ll want to be aware of how much fresh water you can carry in and how much waste water (black & gray) you can carry out.
Again, this is more important to those who want to camp off grid. Many RVs are coming solar ready or with lithium batteries. If yours doesn’t, but you’re interested in making the switch, check out our DIY Power Upgrade and Solar Power series.
If you’re not sure how important something is to you, we recommend you rent before you buy. While it may seem like rentals are expensive, they are reasonable compared to how expensive a mistake purchasing the wrong RV can be.
We also recommend renting from a company called Outdoorsy. It is a peer to peer rental company that has all types (and floor plans) of RVs allowing you to find the closest thing to the RV you think you want.
You can even find Fifth Wheels and Truck Campers WITH TRUCKS to rent to help make the decision before you have to go out and buy a truck. Another option that some owners offer is delivery of travel trailers to nearby campgrounds.
Does Size Matter?
A lot of RV buyers are only think about how they will use the interior of the RV when considering size, but here are a few other considerations:
- Maneuverability – Larger RVs can be difficult to maneuver in big cities and even limited on some roads. When we were towing our 44′ Fifth Wheel, we always used Google Maps to look at the entrance roads to campgrounds to make sure they were not too narrow.
- National & State Parks – One of the primary concerns for RV size comes into play when you want to stay at National & State Parks. While we never had a problem finding private RV resorts that could accommodate our large size, this limitation was one of our main reasons for wanting to downsize.
You probably won’t find the perfect RV unless you are going to have it custom made especially for you. We recommend making a list of your must-haves, then prioritize your wish list. This will help you make the best possible purchasing decision.
Watch the video below where we talk about our list and the top 3 choices of RV’s for our upcoming downsize.
Don’t forget, you can make cosmetic and even furniture changes fairly easily. Click here to see all the changes we made to our Fifth Wheel.
Purchasing a used RV will save money up front if you want to make a lot of modifications. Click here to read our article, Should I Buy New or Used?