September 28, 2023

It is difficult to match the excitement of pulling out of your driveway in a brand-new RV. With over 11 million US households owning an RV, you’re likely thinking about getting one too.  

But as any camper will tell you, there are a few things that can go wrong when buying your first RV. And if you’re not careful, those issues can end up costing you heavily down the line. 

Here are five things you should keep in mind before buying your first RV:

Do Your Research

As with any other type of investment or purchase, doing your research is essential. You should research the type of RV you want to buy. 

You should also know what kind of camping experience you want to have before purchasing an RV so that you can make sure that it meets your needs. If you’re looking for comfort, that might mean purchasing an RV with a lot of space inside. If you’re looking for adventure, maybe it’s time to upgrade from tent camping and go full festival mode.

If you’re looking for something a little more permanent, that’s okay too. Around 1 million Americans live in RV full time. This number keeps rising as some people living in coastal communities are now shifting to mobile homes to escape the repeated devastation caused by natural disasters. 

Tim Apel of Florida explained in an episode of ‘Rocking The RV Life’ podcast how he and his wife are living in an RV in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Maybe living in an RV full-time is not your cup of tea, but it is always smart to listen to the experience of other RV owners before deciding what you want.

Insure Your RV

When buying a new RV, you might not think about insuring it. After all, you have car insurance, and that should cover everything, right? Not so fast. 

If you are not sure whether your current policy covers recreational vehicles (RVs), check with your agent to see if it does. If it doesn’t, it is time to get an additional policy that does cover RVs. Make sure they’re protected as part of your home insurance package as well.

RV insurance can seem like a burden. But consider that an average 4-person family saves 21-64% of travel coast by traveling in an RV over a traditional vacation. What you pay for the insurance is nothing compared to what you can end up saving. 

Pay Attention To Your Towing Capacity

The number of people in your family and the type of things you need to haul around will determine how big an RV you can buy. But there’s another factor that goes into buying a motorhome or fifth wheel, towing capacity.

The towing capacity of your vehicle is an important point to keep in mind when buying your RV. Based on the powertrain, some 1-ton trucks can carry up to 36,000 pounds. Find out how much your vehicle can tow, but try to keep a 10%-15% margin between that and the weight of the trailer for safety purposes.  

Upgrade Your Tires

The tires are the only part of your RV that touches the road. When it comes to safety, fuel economy, and comfort, they’re also the most important parts. A good set of tires can improve all three areas. The tires that come with the RV are seldom good enough. So it would be a good idea to get an upgraded set before you hit the road. 

When it comes to RVs, the size of your tire is very important. If you’re not confident about your driving abilities, it’s better to get bigger and wider tires. They provide added traction and ensure you don’t fly down the side of the highway. 

If you know yourself to be a good RV driver, then you can go for smaller, narrower tires. They require more skill to drive but can improve your fuel economy. 

What kind of tires you require would also depend on the road you’re taking, the weather you encounter, and the specifications of your vehicles. So make sure you look into all those different aspects before you choose one. 

Never Arrive After Dark 

Now, this goes for any camping. Know your campsites well and try to reach them long before dark. This is even more true if you are an inexperienced RV driver. Veterans might make setting up camp look easy, but for people with little experience with RVs, it can be tricky. You want to give yourself enough time to set up camp in daylight to avoid any costly mistakes in the dark. 

It is important to realize that no matter how much you prepare, there will be hiccups along the way. Some mistakes will be made, and trouble will arise. But try to think of them as part of the experience of being a new RV owner. 

So slow down and enjoy the ride. Take in the beauty around you and try to have a sense of humor about the problems that come your way. Whether you’re traveling cross country or going on a camping trip, owning an RV can be a magical experience. 

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