As an experienced RV owner, I often get asked for tips from people who are buying their first camper. One of the first things I suggest is that they go to Camping World.
Camping World has well over two hundred dealerships conveniently located all across the country, so there’s typically a dealership within a short drive from everyone. They also have a large inventory so you can walk through as many units as you desire, giving you the best idea of which one is right for you. And lastly, you can’t beat their prices – you’re sure to find a good deal.
Perhaps you’re ready to purchase an RV and aren’t sure where to start. Here’s a general breakdown of what to expect when you buy an RV at Camping World.
Pick a Date
A lot of people think the first step is to just stop by their local Camping World and check out some RVs. However, this can not only be a waste of your time but can also overwhelm you if you don’t go to the dealership with some direction. As I mentioned, they have a huge inventory, so walking around the lot aimlessly isn’t a great use of your time.
I’d first recommend that you spend a little time considering how you plan to use a camper — Will you be working remotely? Will you be going off-road? Do you need bunks for the kids and their friends? — and why you’re interested in purchasing one? You want to be very clear on your needs, as well as your budget, before even allowing yourself to shop. Your budget will also dictate whether you’re in the used or new market.
Once you’ve compiled a list of your must-haves for an RV, I’d then suggest you spend some time browsing RVs online on Camping World’s website first. This is an easy way to familiarize yourself with the different manufacturers and models that are available and fit your preferences. This will also give you a good starting point when you physically go to the dealership.
If you’re looking at towable travel trailers, be sure to first find out how much your tow vehicle can safely pull down the road.
Use Camping World’s Tow Calculator to find out your tow limits instantly.
Once you’re ready, be sure to schedule an appointment at Camping World to check out the units that stood out to you online. Of course, you can walk in without an appointment, but it’s helpful to plan ahead to ensure you’re given ample time to see all the different units you want.
When you have an appointment, you are paired with a salesperson who will be ready to help you when you get there. They’ll take the time to understand your needs and wants, your budget, and your personal preferences. Then, they’ll guide you as you walk through as many units as you desire. They’ll educate you on the units, point out any unique features they may have, and be available to you for all your questions.
Your salesperson can also provide you with any additional resources, such as brochures and informational packets on any of the units you’re considering purchasing. That way you don’t have to keep all those details about your favorite RVs in your head and, when your appointment is done, you can go home and review the units you saw and liked.
Making the Selection
You may know which RV is the right fit for you the moment you step inside of it. Other people will need some time to weigh the pros and cons of a couple campers. If you’re like my husband and me, you may need to set another appointment to look at your top favorites again because the decision might be tough.
Any RVer will tell you – ‘”There’s no perfect RV.” There will always be things you like and don’t like. The important thing is that it’s a good fit for your specific needs and budget. Sometimes you’ll find that those needs may change, though, so don’t put too much pressure on the decision because you can always trade-in for a different unit later on. My husband and I have had four different RVs in the six years we’ve been RVing. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you need until you’re out there on the open road, and that’s okay. Do your best!
A few tips I have for making an RV selection:
Take your time thoroughly inspecting and exploring the units you like.
Try out every space, as if you were camping in it. Lay on the beds, sit in the chairs, and open all the cabinets. Try to envision where you’d put your belongings to ensure you have enough storage. It’s helpful to have your whole family present so that each person can determine where their space will be and whether or not they’ll be comfortable in it. You can even bring along your dog! Camping World is dog-friendly!
Go for a test drive if you’re considering buying a drivable RV.
See how it feels to be behind the wheel and how comfortable it is to be in the RV while in tow.
Don’t rush to make a decision.
Sleep on it if you need to, consult with a friend, or do whatever helps you. It’s a big investment and you don’t want to make an impulse decision. Your salesperson can be helpful as well. Here is What to Ask a Salesperson.
Research the manufacturers and models of the units you are considering and look for unbiased reviews.
One of my favorite places to look is actually Facebook. There are owners groups for nearly every type of RV and it’s a great place to browse and see what real owners like and dislike; you can also ask questions and interact to find the information you’re looking for. Try browsing RVs and asking community questions on Camping World’s Facebook.
Consider renting the type of RV you’re interested in buying first.
You can find nearby RV owners who rent out their RVs when they aren’t using them on Good Sam’s RV rental platform. Find a unit that is similar to the one you are considering purchasing and try it before you buy it.
Seal the RV Deal
Once you’ve made your decision, let your salesperson know. You’ll likely continue to be in communication with them after your first appointment because, in my experience, they are excellent at following up and ensuring they are being as helpful as possible to you during your quest to find the right camper. Be sure to utilize them as a great resource to have.
You’ll then work closely with the finance department and they will help you get going with the actual purchasing process. Unsure about financing? Consult the RV Buying Guide to Financing an RV.
You may be in a situation where you have an RV to trade-in or Camping World can even help you consign and sell your current unit if need be. You may also be purchasing a used unit that is already on the dealership lot or, if you’re purchasing a brand new unit, you may need to do a special order. Regardless of your unique circumstances and whether you plan to finance the RV or pay cash, the Camping World finance team will take good care of you.
At this point, you can also add custom embellishments to your RV with Camping World’s Design Centers. Modifications and custom interior items can be included in the cost of your RV.
RV Pick-Up Day
This is the best part of the process! It is such a fun feeling to be picking up your new home-away-from-home on wheels and Camping World knows how to make it a special day. Your pick-up day will be a scheduled appointment and can take about an hour or more depending on your specific RV and purchasing process.
Both times that my husband and I have picked up our RVs from Camping World, they have been so friendly from the moment we walked in the door. We were greeted with lanyards and a little congratulations sign on the counter with our names on them. It’s a simple gesture that made us feel welcome and even more excited.
Once you’ve completed any necessary final paperwork, you’ll meet an RV technician who will take the time to walk through the inside and outside of your camper with you. You’ll notice that the RV is cleaned up nicely for you and ready for your first adventure. Your technician will take as much time with you to ensure that you both have inspected every little inch of the RV and more importantly, that you understand how its systems work and feel confident to take it on your first trip.
Tip: You may want to take notes, record video, and be sure to ask any and all questions you may have. The technicians are very knowledgeable and are happy to share their expertise!
During the latest pick-up of our travel trailer, I was so grateful that our local Camping World has a lounge with refreshments and snacks and comfortable seats. It was much needed while waiting with my toddler while my husband finished up our walk-through and got the trailer hitched up.
Another helpful benefit to purchasing at Camping World is that their dealerships have a large retail store on-site as well. You can stock up on your camping essentials right away instead of having to make a special trip. That way, once you have your new RV home, you’re geared up and ready to go!
Enjoy the Ride & Be Prepared
Woohoo! You’re ready for adventure and to experience all the benefits of RVing. It’s personally my favorite way to travel and get outdoors with my family.
Be sure to get your Good Sam membership and check out their network of campgrounds and RV parks where you can save 10% off of nightly stays.There are so many great Good Sam Campgrounds, even ones with golf courses or on the waterfront. Here are few of our favorites.
- 8 Unbelievable Golf Course Campgrounds
- 5 Waterfront RV Campsites to Visit this Summer
- 20 Incredibly Pet-Friendly Campgrounds
A Good Sam Membership also has other perks, like discounts on gas.
Of course, remember to be safe on the road. Keep up with your RV’s regular maintenance. Cover yourself with a good RV insurance plan through Good Sam. For peace of mind, you’ll enjoy having roadside assistance, so you can count on help to arrive if you ever get stuck. If something does break, don’t worry – Camping World has a technical helpline, 1-888-626-7576 , you can call to be connected to a service technician who will help you troubleshoot.
Camping World doesn’t want to just get you in an RV, they want to help you stay on the road safely and ensure you always remain a happy camper.
What do you look for when shopping for an RV? Tell us in the comments below!