How To Do An RV Search?

That's the question everyone faces at the start. An RV search involves knowing the main types: Class A, Class C, Class B and B+ are all in the motorhome category. Then there are the Fifth Wheel and Piggyback campers that require a pickup truck. Finally, there are the travel trailers towed by any vehicle that matches in towing capacity. These all come under the heading of recreational vehicle in the broadest sense.

 An RV Search Tool

In this modern age the internet is a very helpful RV search tool. I found many motorhomes online complete with pictures, specs and prices. With a lot of research you can get a good picture of the features and benefits of various makes, models and floor plans.

Doing a national RV search will give you a feel for prices and availability on both new and used motorhomes and trailers. Forums, too, are especially good for discussions on the truck part of any rig, it's reliability and drivability, through the experience of others. But nothing beats you doing the ground work.

Another tool that will keep you focused on your key concerns is a Buying Guide Checklist. There are many online but here's one I think may help you find an RV.

Sometimes all this information can seem overwhelming and confusing. But the more you look the more you can assess your needs and wants in a house on wheels. It's critical to give yourself time to do this.

And don't worry, yours is out there! You'll know it when you see it.

Find An RV You Need and Want

You'll probably find you have certain core needs that will become evident as you search for your RV.

They can range from your desire for all the comforts of home that only a Class A towing an additional vehicle will fulfill to the need to get in and out of anywhere that a 4-wheel drive van conversion can provide. Knowing where you want to travel, what kind of camping you want to do can also simplify your RV shopping.

As you conduct your RV search you'll decide how many it needs to sleep and the best arrangement. I settled on wanting two twins in the rear. As a solo traveler I like the idea of keeping one bed made up for sleeping and one as the sofa. Drop in a table and in seconds you convert the space for eating or working.

Do you need an oven, a dishwasher, a TV, or maybe a built in coffee maker? I love my coffee so that's a very highly-valued option.

How about a generator and/or an inverter to boost battery power to run a hairdryer, microwave or a blender when you are not plugged into shore power? If either are not built into the motorhome they can be bought as portables. Just make sure there is space to store or mount them or room to add a carrier on the rear of the RV.

On the subject of power, one to two deep cycle marine batteries are highly recommended. With an inverter and a generator you can go for days unplugged. Also, a solar panels on the roof will keep you in hot water, saving on the propane.

Will a slide out for extended space make life roomier? An awning make life cooler or drier?

An RV Search With A Price Range In Mind Narrows The Field

Of course how much you have to spend can narrow the field or broaden your motorhome search. Buying from a dealer, new or used, can sometimes make it easier to finance your RV. Payments that fit your monthly cash flow can be the ticket to making full timing a reality.

One caveat . . . don't feed the profit coffers because you can afford the payment. Look at the value via NADA or the Kelly Blue Book when determining your offering price. Recognize that market factors will play a role in determining value too. Do your homework.

It's best to outline your monthly living expenses to know what amount you have to spend before starting your RV search. Have a budget and set a realistic limit unless money is no object. You will need insurance, to pay all taxes and registration and then outfit the motorhome as well.

A private sale may offer a better price, though the possibility of higher risk. This type of seller may not have all the resources of a dealer and so the conditions of the sale will vary. Negotiate the price down in light of the cost of the necessary improvements. It is on you to make sure you're expectations are met!

Being unemployed, with my limited resources and as a solo RVer, I decided to search for a small motorhome, a Class B camper van. If I'm going to travel the USA I need to keep driving costs low and a gasoline burning van seemed the best approach. And I was intrigued by the fact that it's small footprint would allow for parking it almost anywhere. Where might I go?

And so my personal RV search began in earnest.

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