Friday, February 3, 2023


Buying an RV? Visit an RV show first. Here’s why.

By Mark Polk, RV Education 101
RV shows, like boat shows, are intended to introduce new model year RVs and help disseminate RV-related information to the consumer. These shows are typically scheduled during the slower time of the year, the winter months (though they do occur year-round), to help jump-start the RV dealer’s selling season. RV dealers from miles away bring their wares to these shows.

For the buyer, RV shows put everything you need to see and learn about under one roof, making it the ideal environment to conduct research and make informed RV buying decisions. I mentioned that RV dealers come from miles around – this includes local RV dealers from the area where you live. If possible, try to buy from an RV dealer within a reasonable distance from where you live. This makes it much easier to get service and warranty work done on the unit.

The most important concern is to only deal with a reputable RV dealership.

RV dealerships

When you attend RV shows, do not be afraid to ask questions about the RV dealership and the products they offer. For starters, you need to find a reputable RV dealer with a reputable, professional staff. A reputable RV dealer wants your business, and they want you to return to them for future business.

There are RV dealerships I would not hesitate to do business with, and there are others I could not leave soon enough – choose wisely. Remember, you are at the RV show to check the RV dealer out as well as the product. And you should plan to visit the RV dealer’s physical location before you buy. If possible, talk to other people who dealt with the dealership in the past. Ask for a tour of the dealership. Look at the service department. Do they have certified technicians? Do they have the capability and facilities to do routine maintenance and warranty work on the RVs they sell? Look at the parts and accessory department. Do they offer a good selection of parts and accessories? Do they have a good selection of RVs to choose from? How long have they been selling certain manufacturer brands? How long have they been in business?

There are some great deals offered at RV shows and with all the excitement and a good salesperson, it is easy to make a hasty purchase. If a dealer can offer a great deal at the show, chances are they can offer a great deal after the show. Tell the dealer you might be interested in a particular RV or deal, but that you want to visit the dealership before you buy.

RV information at RV shows

Ron Whittington via

RV shows are not just for RV dealers to showcase their products. They are a great source for information from knowledgeable representatives on every aspect of the RV industry.

You can find information on campgrounds and RV resorts, aftermarket RV products, RV accessories and free RV seminars. Some of the RV seminars might be helpful in making your RV buying decisions. Check with the show office for seminar topics and time schedules.

There is a lot of ground to cover at an RV show and a wealth of information available. You will find a good selection of RV dealers to check out, and there is every make and model of RV imaginable, too.

RV shows are a great place to do some comparison shopping. Keep in mind RVs are available in entry-level, mid-line, and high-end models. When you compare prices make sure it is apples to apples. One RV may look like another RV, but you need to compare the two models. Look at the options, construction, equipment and features they both have to offer.

See who offers the best deal. But remember, if the dealership goes out of business next month, your best deal could turn out to be a bad deal.

RV shows are a good place to talk to RV manufacturer representatives and other RV industry experts. Lots of RV manufacturers send knowledgeable representatives to assist RV dealers with their products.

Do not be afraid to talk with other RV owners at the show too. Many of these people have years of RV experience and knowledge of different RV products and RV manufacturers.

RV buying resources

Buying an RV is a major purchase decision. To make the best buying decision possible you need to do your research and be well-informed.

So what are you waiting for? Find out when the next RV show is in your area and make it a point to attend. Oh, and do not forget to wear some comfortable walking shoes.

Find upcoming RV shows here

Check out our online course, How to Buy an RV & Save Thousands to learn how to buy the right RV and save thousands of dollars doing it.



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1 year ago

Find a dealer that will let you test all of the movable parts and systems, with some systems like AC and water testing overnight. Any dealer that will let you do that believes in his product. Mine did, but at the time the manufacturing company was still owned by a family, not a conglomerate.

1 year ago

Buyer Beware of the smaller local ‘show’ that advertise many brands and models yet the ‘show’ is ALL from one dealership.

1 year ago

I don’t know. You can get the illusion you have seen all the choices, when you haven’t, you’ve just seen whatever the dealers want to promote.

Go, if you just need to be exposed to a lot of models and ask a lot of questions. I would suggest leaving your checkbook and cards at home so you won’t get swept up in the excitement and enter into a deal which might not be right for you.

After the show, roam around any dealership that will let you window-shop, sit in units alone and ponder the options. Do research on your favorite units on RV Trader online, or RV Universe. THEN make a choice.

1 year ago

Suggestion. Go to FMCA spring and fall shows. Everyone is there, staffed by builders, not local sale people. Hershey is also a great example.
You can also “wander” the grounds, find coaches actually owned by people and talk to real owners, as opposed to sales guys.

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

The problem with the Dallas RV show is that several dealers sell the same model of RV, and you will have rows of the most popular same RV. If the manufacturers were at the shows, they could bring one of each model they sell, and local salespeople could sell them. The dealerships might even compete on prices and lack of services. It would be nice if the truck manufacturers could bring one truck each, each different from the other one.

1 year ago

Yes, be very careful about who you buy from. I bought mine from Camping World. Great deal, but they were 3 hours from home for service. When I needed service and called for an appointment, after telling them what I needed repaired, they looked at it and told me to schedule another appointment because they would have to order the parts. Never again have I been back and I filed a complaint with the company. Buy from a local dealer.

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