What do you think of when you hear – “RV Show”?
You might think of an endless maze of RVs lined up in a warehouse with sales personnel jumping out at every corner. But the days of those kinds of RV shows are moving behind us. In 2023, RV shows include live auctions, RV giveaways, play areas for kids, community areas for meeting RVers, product demonstrations, and more.
Attending an RV show is an exciting outing for the whole family, whether you’re shopping for a new RV, upgrading an old model, selling your RV, or looking to learn about the latest RV innovations and camp gear.
But, visiting an RV show can be a big undertaking if you go in unprepared. They cover acres of space, and the amount of information available can be overwhelming.
These RV show tips will help you make the most of your RV show visit, even if you’re just attending to have fun, win prizes, and meet fellow RVers.
Guide to Buying an RV at a Show
So the day went much better than expected, and you found the perfect RV! But how do you go about buying an RV at a show?
Ian breaks it down in detail above, but here’s a quick checklist of what you’ll need:
- A pen and paper to record your favorite RVs’ make, model, floor plans, stand-out features, and location in the convention center or state fairgrounds.
- A valid driver’s license.
- The information from your existing RV if you’re interested in trading in for a new model. This includes the year, make, model, condition, and trade-in value using a tool like the Good Sam RV Valuator.
- Pictures of your trade-in RV (if applicable). Bring at least 3-4 photos of the outside and another 4-5 of the inside.
- Tow vehicle information (year, make, model, and/or vehicle identification number – VIN). Use Camping World’s Towing Guide to check towing capacities before visiting an RV show.
- A credit card to put down a deposit on your new RV.
Check out the video above to learn more about the buying process at an RV camping show, but don’t forget that the process may vary slightly from dealer to dealer.
Who Are RV Shows For?
The short answer is – RV shows are for everyone. And the best part is, most are free to attend!
If you own an RV already, you can explore the possibility of a trade-in or upgrade. You’ll also find new camping gear to make your trips more comfortable.
If you’ve never owned or traveled in an RV, these shows are ideal for imagining yourself inside a travel trailer or motorhome. There are more options to peruse than on a typical RV dealership lot. While you explore, you’ll find education on RV financing, service & maintenance, insurance, and other RV-related services.
If you’re a DIY RVer, RV shows are inspirational. You can discover the latest RV floorplans or speak with design specialists about remodeling ideas to make your RV more functional and cozy.
People enjoy RV travel for many reasons – escaping to warmer weather at unsung snowbird destinations, unplugging at off-grid basecamps for outdoor recreation, or traveling with the family to enjoy nature and road trips. You can use an RV to travel your own way – there is no one way!
RV shows are a great way to discover how everyone enjoys the lifestyle by connecting with other RVers. You never know when a new connection will lead to new community RV trips in the future.
Why Go to an RV Show?
If you’re wondering why an RV show should be on your travel list this year, here are a few reasons to attend.
For RV Education
RV shows provide value even if you’re not in the market for a new RV. Most shows offer seminars, lectures, tutorials, and walkthroughs of RVs and RV-related products.
- Seminars: Many shows have veteran RV travelers who share knowledge on topics like Basic RV Maintenance, Trip Planning, and RV Packing Tips. Listen and ask questions.
- Product Demonstrations: Many vendors conduct live demonstrations so you can see products in action and discover new options for upgrading your RV before the next camping season.
- Manufacturers: Unlike dealerships, RV shows often have representatives from various RV manufacturers to answer your questions about how RVs are made and speak to their quality versus the competition.
To Discover The Latest Camping Gear
Looking for a new bed that fits just right in your RV? They’ve got you covered. Need an internet or satellite TV solution? Vendors will have plenty of options for your RV lifestyle. Everything you can imagine for camping adventures can be found at an RV show, and you might even find some great deals you can’t ignore.
To Find New Places to Visit
RV shows are great places to discover new destinations and campgrounds to explore. Representatives from regional tourism bureaus often have booths at RV shows to showcase everything their destinations offer.
Check the exhibitor list online before the show to make a short list of the booths you’d like to visit.
To Meet Other RVers
Building a community as an RVer can be a challenge. Attending RV shows can help you grow your network and expand your community of fellow campers. Whether you utilize that community to get answers to RV maintenance questions, travel recommendations, or tips for the best RV camping gear, the friendships you forge at an RV expo may last a lifetime.
Tips for Attending an RV Show
Whether you’re buying, trading in, or exploring RV retail products, use these tips to maximize RV shows:
- Attend the first day to allow yourself time to return if you find something you like.
- Break it up — look at RVs or products one day, and attend seminars another.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Some shows are very large, and you’ll do a lot of walking.
- Bring snacks and water. Many shows have food vendors, but lines can be long, and choices may be limited.
- Check the schedule and map in advance to identify seminars or vendor booths you don’t want to miss.
- Do some pre-show preparation. Consider your budget and what type of travel you do. Read this primer to help you determine what RV might work best for you. Then make a list of “must-haves.”
- Spend time in the models you like. Sit in the seats, try the bed, open and close the cabinets, and see how you fit in the shower. It may feel silly, but it’ll give you a better feel of the RV.
- Take notes & photos of your preferred RVs. Include the exact model and configuration, length, price, and other items you liked or didn’t like.
- Collect contact information. Business cards are still useful for following up with sales representatives or vendors you connect with.
- Make a shortlist of favorites at the end. Sit down after you’ve had a chance to think about the RVs you saw and revisit your favorites.
What Happens at an RV Show?
Some RV shows are little more than a collection of RVs sitting in a parking lot.
We think RV shows should be fun, educational, exciting to explore, and excellent opportunities to connect with other campers. With that in mind, Camping World and Good Sam will present the Ultimate RV Show in multiple locations this year.
Here are some things you might find at The Ultimate RV Show:
- VIP Areas. Register early to receive a complimentary gift bag, retail product discounts, VIP Lounge access, refreshments, and a chance to win an RV!
- RV Valuation. Find out what your current RV is worth if you’re ready to sell and upgrade to a new model.
- RV Giveaways. Enter for a chance to win a brand-new RV.
- New and Used RV Inventory. Walk through RVs of all shapes and sizes to get a good idea of what it would be like to live and vacation in them.
- Kid Zones. Inspire the next generation of campers to discover the joys of RVing.
- RV Retail Spaces. Get the latest on innovative new RV accessories and camping gear.
- Design Specialists. Consult an expert about upgrades you want to make to your RV.
Where Can You Find Camping World at RV Shows in 2023
No matter where you live, odds are we’ll be in your neighborhood sometime this year. Come see us at one of the following events:
The Ultimate RV Show
Presented by Camping World and Good Sam, the Ultimate RV Show is your one-stop shop for all things RVing. We’ll have new and used RVs, including the head-turning Happier Camper, RV giveaways, kid zones, access to the RV Valuator Tool, and so much more.
Multi-Dealer RV Shows
You’ll find us among other RV dealers at shows across the country in 2023. From Ohio to Oregon, you’ll find Camping World representatives eager to help you browse new and used RV inventory at an RV show near you this year, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Ohio RV Supershow
- Central Indiana RV Show
- Utah’s Sportsman Vacation & RV Show
- Northwest Sportshow
- Portland RV Show
If you want to stay updated on the newest RV models and prototypes that haven’t even hit the market, manufacturer shows are where you ought to be. You can find us presenting new Keystone RV models at shows across the country this year, but here are at least two to put on your calendar:
- Florida RV Supershow
- Hershey RV Show
Which RV show are you most interested in attending this year? Tell us in the comments below!