Want to go to an RV show? 10 tips for attending RV shows

When we can’t go camping, RVers do the next best thing – attend RV shows! This is where we go when we want to learn more about camping products, check out new RVs, and connect with other travelers.

We are all familiar with the anticipation that builds as a show approaches, the excitement of pulling into the venue parking lot on show day and the thrill of walking in the entrance to the site packed full of shiny new motorhomes, brand new fifth wheels and travel trailers, plus vendor booths offering everything from accessories to food samples.

Several men and women walk the aisles of a large convention center where booths filled with RV accessories are on display. The booth in the foreground shows RV chairs and other accessories. There are RVs visible on the far left and in the background.
Attendees walk down aisles of RVs on display and check out parts and accessories in booths at an RV show.

Why should you go to an RV show?

Camper and RV shows serve many purposes. Sure, they get us dreaming of evenings spent around the campfire, but they also help us prepare for our upcoming journeys.

If you are new to camping, you can:

  • Get your questions answered
  • Talk to experienced campers
  • Attend educational presentations

If you want to prepare for upcoming trips, you’ll be able to:

  • Purchase new accessories
  • Find companies that offer RV rentals
  • Gather campground information

If you’re ready to buy an RV, you can:

  • Discuss financing options with experts
  • Compare model features
  • Get show discounts, RV specials and manufacturer rebates
A man and woman are watching a video that's playing on a TV mounted to the exterior of a large RV. The RV is set up inside a convention center for an RV show.
Follow our tips to make the most of you time at any RV show. You’ll be able to check out dozens or even hundreds of RVs on display and visit vendors offering RV accessories and camping gear.

10 Tips for going to an RV show

Shows are a wonderful part of the camping adventure, but sometimes they can be an overwhelming experience. With so many experts to speak with, large RVs and small campers to tour, and things to see and do, it can be challenging to figure out where to go or what to do first. So, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the most of your time when you attend an RV show.

Before you go

First, check the show details online. At least a week before the event, visit the show’s website. It will likely provide all the logistics you need to know, including admission fees, parking costs, hours of operation and more. By being prepared, there won’t be any surprises and you can relax and have a great time.

Then map out a plan. Shows vary in size but some – particularly outdoor RV shows – can be massive. You’ll spend most of the day on your feet, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Maps are often available upon entry to the show or on the show’s website. Highlight or make note of the businesses and exhibits you want to visit. Prioritize which are most important to you to make sure you don’t miss any and have regrets later.

Two men stand inside an RV on display at an RV show. They are looking at two retractable bunks that can be lowered from the ceiling and double as beds. The RV they are looking at also has a fold-down rear door that doubles as a deck patio, complete with railing.
Make a list of RVs that you’re interested in before going to an RV show. You’ll be able to check them out up close and see demos of the features that you’re interested in while you’re there.

Do your research beforehand. In addition to an impressive selection of campers and RVs, many shows feature numerous vendors offering, among other items, camping accessories. If you are in the market for a specific item, research it online first. This way you will be able to check out in person or get a demo of the features you really want.

Browse or buy? This might be the most important tip to know before attending an RV show. Before you go, define your intent. Many enthusiastic campers are just browsing and dreaming – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Others are ready to make a major purchase that very day. Know which camp you belong to so you don’t aimlessly wander around or impulsively make a deal that you’re not 100 percent confident about.

At the show

Be prepared with some numbers. If you plan to buy an RV at an RV show, know how much you want to spend and stick to your budget. Likewise, if you’re considering RV financing options, know where your credit stands before you walk through the door. This can help you get a great rate on a new camper or RV.

Also, bring supplies. Don’t rely on your memory. All those models and features will start to blur together once you’ve walked through a dozen or more RVs. Bring along a notebook, iPad or other device to help you keep track of prices, items and salespeople’s names. Have a pen or two on hand to fill out contest entries. In addition, you’ll want to bring along a large tote for all the promotional items, flyers and samples you’ll collect at the event.

Many RVs are setup with doors open and on display inside a convention center during an RV show. Attendees are walking in the aisle and looking at the different RVs.
Shows can vary in size but some can span acres. If you’re going to an RV show, bring a pen and paper, a camera, or your tablet so you can take notes and photos of the RVs that you’re interested in. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!

Don’t be shy. Manufacturers, vendors and sales staff attend camper and RV shows to talk with you. If you have questions, just ask! This environment is wonderfully friendly and inviting, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by to get the answers you need to make an informed decision and learn more about camping.

While you’re there, boost your knowledge. Shows are an ideal time to learn from other campers. Many shows include a seminar stage that feature engaging speakers sharing their best tips and tricks and on-the-road experiences. Others have demonstration areas where you watch as camping recipes are prepared or new products rolled out.

A family with a mother, father, older daughter, and two younger children attend an RV show. The youngest boy and girl and sitting in a stroller and being pushed by their father. The mother and older daughter are looking at display RVs on either side of the aisle. They are walking past another couple speaking with a manufacturer representative.
RV shows are fun for the whole family! Little ones enjoy checking out RVs just as much as adults.

Bring the family. In addition to the vendor booths, most RV and camper shows include several entertainment options. Let the kids get in on the fun. After all, they are excited about going camping, too! Family zones are designed to be fun for kids of all ages with arts and crafts projects, games, face painting and even interactive activities like a rock wall.

After the show

Finally, stay informed. If there are products from a specific manufacturer, store or vendor that you like, reach out to stay connected. That action can be taken in a variety of ways from signing up for the company’s e-marketing messages and liking their Facebook page, to registering for mailing lists or subscribing to blogs. All of these are fantastic ways for the company to reach you in the future to let you know about new product launches, special sales, upcoming shows and other events.

While these RV show tips are a great way to stay focused and make the most of any show, there’s no doubt that you can have an absolutely fantastic time regardless of how prepared you are. With a good pair of shoes, you can spend the whole day visiting booths, gathering ideas and dreaming about future trips. Is there a better way to spend a day when you’re not at a campground?

Now that you’ve read our tips, find an RV show near you and start planning!

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