Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Issue 5

March 15, 2019

Welcome, new RVers, and thanks for joining us for another great issue of our Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletter. We look forward to getting you out on the road!

This newsletter is brought to you monthly by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

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By Chuck Woodbury

If you’re planning to buy an RV, here’s the best advice you’ll find in a few hundred words.

First, be cautious buying from Camping World. It sells one out of five RVs in America, most of which are known in the industry as “stick and tin” models, in other words, cheap ones. The average selling price of an RV at Camping World is around $33,000, well below what you’d pay for a quality unit.

Cheap RVs might look fine, but they are built as cheaply as possible — cheap construction and cheap components. They look good, though, an art that RV manufacturers have mastered because they know that most new RVers buy the “bling” — what they see, without closely examining how the RV is constructed. Buying a cheap RV on impulse, which is often the case, is like marrying someone you met the night before at a Las Vegas casino. Trouble ahead. . .

Camping World is known for urging RV buyers to stretch their payments 15 or 20 years, and other RV dealers play the same game. If you need to finance an RV for that long, don’t buy the RV. Find a good used unit and buy it for half the price. An unwise buyer may figure he or she can afford $250 a month for payments, so what the heck, they’ll just deal with those 20 years of payments one month at a time. What they don’t consider is that an inexpensive RV will only last 5 or 10 years before it starts falling apart. Repairs do not come cheap. And there’s the cost of licensing, insurance, gas, campgrounds and, often, storage. So, in reality, they’d better plan to triple that $250 a month.

The RV Industry marketing people love to brag that RVing is the cheapest way to travel. It can be, yes, but most often that’s a lie. In college, I learned how to make such a claim in a class titled “Lying with Statistics.”

Camping World (if you should buy from there) pushes overpriced extended warranties. Don’t bite. Get a price from someone else and save a bundle.

Years ago, RV manufacturers would pay RV dealers to do a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) on an RV before the customer took possession. No more. And keep in mind most manufacturers do not even perform a final inspection on an RV when it leaves the factory.

Some dealers don’t even bother with a PDI. They figure the RVer can just bring it back, and then they can get paid by the manufacturer’s warranty. The RVer may spend weeks, even months, getting things right. Read the Facebook Group RV Horror Stories to see some examples.

To be safe, you should always have a new or used RV inspected by a professional before you sign your contract. And it must be someone not affiliated with the seller.

RVing can be wonderful — it certainly has been for me through the years. I just know from hundreds of letters I’ve received that many new RVers make buying mistakes that cause them headaches and heartaches down the road, not the pleasure they envisioned.

If you’re new to RVing, you’re going to want to know where all the dump stations along your route are (trust us on this). The new 2019 RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations is available and we highly recommend you keep it handy. Read more about it here or order here.


Why trailer weight distribution is so critical

In case you missed this in our RV Travel Newsletter recently, reader George Bliss flagged this YouTube video as a “must see” for RVtravel.com readers. It’s a truly graphic demonstration of what happens when you don’t keep enough weight over the trailer tongue. Click the image to play. Thanks, George, for a good steer!

Don’t trip the breaker!

With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
One of our readers sent this in and I think it’s a great tip. Here’s what George has to say: “Take small colored sticker dots and put one on each outlet that corresponds in color to a dot placed on a breaker in your electrical panel. When you plug in an appliance to one color dotted outlet such as a toaster, don’t plug your kettle into an outlet with the same color. This way you can avoid having two heavy-drawing appliances drawing current through the same breaker, thus avoiding a tripped breaker. In the event a breaker does trip, this should make it easier to find the thrown breaker knowing which outlet you were using.” Thanks to George Bliss! These 1/4″ diameter neon colored dots should do the trick and be visible in low light.

No, no. Power tip

When plugged into 15- or 20-amp power (a plug just like in your home) do not even plug in one air conditioner. You’ll destroy it if you do.

Want more quick tips? Be sure to sign up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter, which you’ll get in your inbox every Monday–Thursday. Tons of great tips and information you won’t want to miss! Sign up here.


  1. The most recent RV Travel Newsletter
  2. The most recent RV Daily Tips Newsletter
  3. My go-to app to find a place to park my RV
  4. Forest River plant explodes in Elkhart, totally destroyed
  5. RV electricity expert Mike Sokol interviewed on radio program
  6. Battle brewing between campers, RV parks on electricity usage
  7. Southwest camping for 85 cents a day!
  8. Some thoughts about Camping World
  9. RV and RV-related recalls for February 2019
  10. Do I need a 30- or 50-amp surge protector?

Oh, and please tell us where you’re reading this newsletter.

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.

WiFi endoscope lets you peep where your eyes won’t go
Ever wondered what the inside of your black water tank looked like? Is that “tank blaster” really doing the job? You can’t just eyeball the inside of the tank – or can you? With a flexible endoscope, you can run a tiny camera down for a “look around,” and get an eyeful of information on your tablet or phone. It’s pretty handy to have in the RV so check it out here.


An easy way to get your prescriptions filled while on the road

If you had to change a tire, would you be able to? Are you sure? Read the RV Doctor’s article here to see if you’re truly prepared.

IF YOU APPRECIATE THIS NEWSLETTER and others from RVtravel.com, will you please consider pledging your support? Even $5, $10 or $20 is appreciated. Many readers set up an ongoing contribution, typically $5 to $10 a month. Your contributions make it possible for us to produce 26 highly informative newsletters every month. Learn more or contribute.

Do you have a blog? RVtravel.com is interested in hosting your blog. Contact chuck (at) rvtravel.com to learn more.

New & interesting finds on Amazon
See what really cool stuff Amazon is featuring today. It’s a whole lot of fun just browsing through all these great items. The selection changes every day, so check back often. You never know what you will find, which is part of the fun of visiting here. Check it out.



It’s always wise to attend a few RV shows before you buy — a chance to compare many RVs in one place, talk to salespeople and even factory representatives, and maybe even pick up a bargain (but not always, which is another story…). Here’s a comprehensive list of upcoming shows.

Join our new Facebook group, RV Advice, where prospective RV buyers can ask veteran RVers what they think of an RV they’re considering buying. Click here.


You’ll want this shirt if you’re on a family vacation, this one if you own (or are buying) a Class C, this shirt if you haven’t mastered backing up yet, and this one you’ll want just because. It made us laugh out loud.

Did you miss last month’s issue of this newsletter? Read it here.

Beginner’s Guide to RVing Staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Emily at advertising@rvtravel.com .

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodburyhttps://www.rvtravel.com
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at RVtravel.com. She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for RVtravel.com she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


  1. Very well done! I am a veteran of the web site and have gained a wealth of knowledge already.

    I was a little apprehensive about signing up for something for new to RVing people but I am glad I did! I learned about marking the power outlets in the very first issue.

    Looking forward to learning more about about RVing in this and all of your publications.

    I am glad I made a donation and supporting your efforts.

    • Thank you for your kind words and for supporting our efforts, Marty! We certainly appreciate you, and others like you, who not only support us monetarily but who take the time to let us know you appreciate what we’re doing. We’re constantly striving to improve our newsletters and certainly enjoy what we’re doing — so it’s great to hear positive feedback from our “satisfied customers.” 😀 Thanks! —Diane at RVtravel.com

  2. Thank you so much for that awesome video of getting your meds on the road! Wow! So simple. I wish I had known this two years ago when I spent half a day trying to contact my doctor to get a refill in Las Vegas. Thanks again.

  3. The ONLY reason we continue to be members of Good Sam is the Pilot and Flying J fuel card. The discount is nice, but even nicer is starting the pump without going to the fuel desk. With a 40′ diesel MH towing a car, easy in and easy out is very important to us.

    Chuck needs to get a fuel card deal with Flying J and Pilot. It’s worth a $50 annual donation fee to me Chuck.

  4. You should add General RV to the list…to big for there own good…they are the same as Camping world. Once they get your signature in the dotted line, they forget you just spent $100,000. Sad, Sad, Sad.

  5. I tried to watch ( and hear) the video on procuring meds while on the road. The video looked great, but there was no sound.

    • Sorry you’re having trouble with the audio, Nick. I checked it last night and again just now and I can hear it fine, and I don’t think we’ve had any other complaints about it. Are you sure you have the sound turned on, and up? Other than that I don’t know what to suggest. Sorry. But I hope you have a great day, otherwise! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  6. For anything you buy from a sales person (I understand that it is fun to “beat up on Camping World & Marcus Lemonis”) should be well thought out and explored before you go to the sellers workplace. If you don’t have the backbone to stand up to a sales person and stick to what you want, go home and wait until you do. Sales people make money from selling you the most they can. They have families to support (mortgages, insurance, groceries, automobile payments, etc.). Just like you and me, they want to get ahead in the world.

    My wife and I bought from Camping World. Our experience has been good. We know what we wanted (size and floor plan). We knew how much cash we had to spend. We stuck with this and got what we wanted. The motorhome has worked great. We live in it a couple of times per year for 8 weeks to 4 months at a time. It performs flawlessly.

    Both of us have read many blogs and watched many vlogs. We have found things to add to or modify to make our travels easier. We have learned to do many maintenance things ourselves versus paying to have them done.

    It gets old reading from many of “you” blaming someone else for “your” mistakes. Man-up. Take control of your life. Spend more time thinking about and talking about the joys of the RV life style. It is a big world out there. There is much to see and experience. I am sure you all have something good to say about your time on the road. This good should dominate these news letters.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

    • Telling someone who has been ripped off by crooks to “man up” is asinine,pal.Not everyone is hunky dory with CW,or most other unscrupulous RV dealers,as you claim to be.There are many liars,stiffs,crooks and thieves out there on every street corner in almost every town just foaming at the mouth to get a working persons dough.It’s too bad many people in this once great nation have stooped this low,but that’s progress.The staff of this newsletter do an outstanding job at presenting facts about crooks like CW and trying to inform people about what to expect in the over priced RV business.

    • Easy to say when you are one of the lucky few and your rig is “flawless.” Have some compassion for people not as lucky and have horrible issues that no one wants to fix. How do you “take control of your life” when you have a lemon? Leave it in front of the dealership with a big sign on it saying don’t buy here? Good luck getting another rig when your credit goes down the toilet. Every time you read these sad stories, think to yourself {bleeped} I’m lucky.

  7. As an experienced RVer, I, along with many, many other RVing Folks will make it clear, NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM CAMPING WORLD! Camping World is NOT consumer friendly and are only out to make a quick buck. Their service after the sale is highly questionable as well!

    As Chuck mentioned in his opening statement, Camping World sells the low end of RVs. You will pay a small fortune for a rolling piece of junk. Plus, Camping World will try to get you to pay for all kinds of addons and possibly an extended warranty too.

    There are plenty of Horror Stories on the Net describing the tactics of Camping World and their lack of support to customers.

    The answer is simple in this case: NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM Camping World!

    • About 12 years ago I bought a used Keystone Everest 5th wheel from Camping World. I was assured it was in good shape and travelled a long, long way to pick it up. On the step there was a small support bar that had a broken weld. A plastic handle on the fridge was broken and there were a few other minor issues. I bought the RV but was disappointed these items had not been attended to. In total, parts and labor might have come to $100. I know why these hadn’t been fixed — they didn’t care. I also found their prices on accessories and gadgets to be quite high. My shadow will never cross their doorway again.

    • I purchased from Campingworld, and have had no problems with them. They offered extras at the time of the sale, but didn’t pressure us. Any dealings with any questions or issues have been taken care of promptly. I guess each location is different. I deal with the Chichester, NH location, and wouldn’t hesitate to purchase from there again.

    • Amen! If anyone needs proof of how horrible Camping World is, they can hear the crazy story from The RV Odd Couple on YouTube. They really got ripped off.


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