RV Show Tips For First-Timers: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

rv-trailer-with-pop-tent-by-marada.jpg Living in Denton Texas for 6 years, the one event we never missed was the Dallas RV Show held at Market Hall.  Whether we were actually in the market for a new RV, or just looking to see what new advances were being offered that year, the Dallas RV Supershow was always a fun experience for us. 

RV shows are a great place to get acquainted with what’s available in the world of RVs. 

The newcomer can wander in and out, inspecting and exploring without having a salesman hanging right over your shoulder.  The salesmen at RV shows know that the crowd is more interested in looking than buying, and they will typically hang back until you go looking for them.

Here are some things you should know before you attend your first RV show…


When To Go

Large RV shows can be a bit intimidating.  The crowds become huge and noisy fairly quickly. 

If you really want the opportunity to take a serious look at the RVs, the best time to go is early in the day. 

Forget the stage entertainment, get there ahead of the crowds.  That way, you can easily walk through the wide assortment of RVs and see for yourself the best features among all brands and types.

What About The Kids?

I would strongly encourage you to leave the kids at home.  Get a sitter if necessary.  They’ll just get lost in the crowd. 

Yes, it really is that crazy at an RV show!

If You’re In The Market For A New RV…

Since RV shows are held all over the country, you won’t have to travel far to shop where there’s a huge selection of RVs to pick from.

RV dealers tend to offer some pretty good deals at RV shows. However, if you’re in a position to buy, you can probably do just as well at their sales lot. 

If you’re going to an RV show prepared to buy an RV, then just make sure that you’ve done your homework ahead of time. Compare prices between dealers, and be aware the price on the window isn’t anywhere near what you can actually get it for!

Today’s market is definitely in your favor, RV dealers really want to sell their inventory.  Don’t let pressure force you into making a poor decision. 


Before You Buy An RV At The Show

rv-trailer-with-loft-by-marada.jpgA surprising amount of damage occurs during the course of these large RV shows.  People unfamiliar with locking drawer latches or other security features will inevitably damage something on practically every RV that’s on display.  Everything from kids jumping on the beds, to sofa beds being opened and closed many times, this will all add wear and tear to those poor display RVs.

Of course, the dealer will take care of any damage if you choose to buy one of the models at the RV show.  Just remember, an RV that just arrived from the factory will be fresh and new.  The display models typically have high miles on them already, and they haven’t even gone anywhere!

If you do decide, on the spot, to buy an RV that you see on display, be aware it may be a week before you can actually take delivery of that RV.  Once an RV is in place for display, it can’t be moved until the RV show closes and the whole process is reversed to get it out of the convention hall.


Visit RV Dealers Located Near The RV Show

Many RV dealers don’t follow the norm when it comes to participating in large convention center based sales shows.  They’re usually limited to a handful of units, due to space limitations. 

Plus, since RV shows don’t help their sales that much, they typically prefer to hold large sales at their own lots during or near the same time that an RV show at the convention center takes place.

rv-show-at-bullyans-minnesota.jpg Here in Duluth Minnesota, Bullyan’s RV operates on that theory.  Since they are the largest RV dealer for hundreds of miles, they have a huge inventory of RVs. 

They’ve determined that their sales team is better served by providing a much larger variety of RVs on their own lot and available for inspection, rather than participating in the nearby RV show.

While we lived in Tucson AZ we enjoyed attending Beaudry RV’s annual Chicken Show.  Twice each spring they made a carnival atmosphere by erecting big tents and opening a huge barbecue meal to the public.  Everything, including apple pie for dessert, was "on the house" as a way to draw huge crowds onto their RV sales lot.  Guess what?  It worked!  The place was always crowded during those shows. 

Final RV Show Tips For Newbies

One thing’s for sure, RV salesmen can be an aggressive lot.  They’ll go most anywhere, and go to any lengths to close a deal on an RV.  So keep your wits about you and be prepared.  The whole process is just like buying a car.  The more you know, the better deal you can work.

Yes, RV shows can be useful in helping you to become familiar with the newest options that are available in RVs.  Plus, where else can you act like you just hit the lottery and you want to inspect that new 2 million dollar Country Coach that is sure to be on display?

Curtis Carper

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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