The best way to start your RV search is to determine what you want the RV to do for you. Begin by asking yourself some basic questions. Why do you want an RV? What is your motivation for getting into RVing or for upgrading if you already own one? Visualize. Take some time. Create a picture of you and your family in an RV. Get a clear vision of how it looks to you. You need to determine what you want before you start searching.
“Visualize the places you would like to go.”
How will you use your RV? When do you plan to use it? Do you think you will do destination RVing (extended stays in one place) or RV touring (short stays covering long distances)? Where do you plan to go? How many people will travel with you? Will you be cooking in or eating out? How can owning an RV enhance your enjoyment of some of your current activities? Do you see yourself driving a motorhome, towing a trailer, carrying a truck camper or commuting to a parked RV at a seasonal location? If you do carry or pull, do you have a suitable vehicle, or will you need to upgrade?
It is very important to get the right RV for your particular circumstance initially and, thereby, avoid making a mistake that is usually costly to correct. Begin by developing a vision of how, when, & where you will use your RV.
Think about what you want owning an RV to do for you. Think about your dream RV vacation; think about the weekends you have available to use an RV. Visualize the places you would like to go on those weekends. Contact people who will travel with you in your RV and discuss optimal sleeping accommodations. Think about the percentage of time you will spend on the road versus time in a RV resort or campground.
Now that you have your own picture of what owning an RV looks like, put it in writing. Take a piece of paper and write down exactly what you want your RV to do for you-your RV Mission.
“Create a picture of you and your family enjoying your RV.”
Congratulations, you have just created a mission statement for purchasing your RV. And that’s important because with a defined mission to refer to, you have a solid basis for making wise decisions.
Assess Your Needs
Next, with your mission in mind, develop a written agenda of all the attributes your preferred RV should have. Your list should be broken down into two priority lists:
Must Have List
List one should include all the items that you must have in order for the RV to do what you expect it to do for you (based on your picture). These items are all “needs” and cannot be compromised without altering your mission. For example, if you need to sleep six people, a four-sleeper will not work. You need a six sleeper. You cannot compromise on sleeping capacity without altering your original mission from traveling with six people to traveling with only four people. Take out some paper and write down your “Must Have List.”
List two should include all the features you would like your new RV to have. These are items that you could do without if you had to. These are your “wants.” These items can be compromised and your RV will still perform the required task you are buying it for in the first place. Take another sheet of paper and write down your “Nice To Have List.”
Now that you have a detailed list of what you need and want your RV to have in order to accomplish your defined mission, determine what type of RV best fits your picture.
Do you think a Motorhome, Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, Pop-up, or Truck Camper would work best for you? A basic rule of thumb is, the more time you plan on spending traveling on the road, the more a motorhome makes sense. Conversely, the more time you spend in one location, the more sense a towable RV makes.