When we aren’t 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!