The show lures many tens of thousands of eager shoppers (and onlookers) to find their dream machine. Thousands of RV wannabies, newbies, and long-time owners are on hand to peruse, and perhaps, haggle over a price that claims one as their own. Hundreds of vendors are on-hand to sell you their rhinestone wares, funky gadgets, or draw you to their campground. RV shows are a whirl storm of excitement for RV enthusiasts.
That being said, we have amassed a few tips for surviving the show.
Have a Budget
It is hard not to want to look at everything, especially the glitsy, shiny big new expensive motorhomes. As soon as you entered the Tampa RV showroom you were hit with Prevost, Foretravel, and Airstream. You couldn’t even get out the door to the corn dog stand before a Newell was staring you down and beckoning you to look. Now, most of us would not even consider one of these multi-million dollar coaches but dealers bring all makes and models to tempt you. When we looked at Newmar coaches we started with the King Aire (the top of the line $900K luxury coach) and then went down the list through the Essex, London Aire, Mountain Aire and finally to the Dutch Star (that was in the $300K range). But guess what? The Dutch Star didn’t look as good as the King Aire! Hmmmm, wonder why? So you may want to start off in your pre-determined price range (this is key) before you go looking at the budget busters. What we’re really trying to say is don’t torture yourself.
Have a Plan
Time flies when you are wandering around the show so if there are RV’s you really want to see and are considering buying, make sure you fit them in sooner than later. We were there a day and a half and were surprised how fast the time went. It is nice to be able to go back and see units on another day with a fresh open mind. And don’t forget to save time for going by the vendors offering cool new gadgets and great prices.
Take Notes and/or Pictures
A great way to remember what you like (i.e., floorplan, color scheme, brand, etc) is by taking notes and pictures. An ideal place to write your notes is on the manufacturers brochure. Free tote bags are plentiful and ideal for keeping your brochures so you have two free hands to feel the couch and open drawers.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
In our RV world, high fashion is a new pair of sneakers. Don’t try to be a fashionista because you are going to be doing some serious walking. Just watch the Fitbit go off the charts. [On this note, let me bring up the subject of food. You might want to wear those loose fitting pants since you are surrounded by corn dogs, polish sausage, and fried dough disguised under powdered sugar.]
Talk to Owners
Keep An Open Mind
Here are Some of the Fun Things We Saw at the Show
The retro Winnebago Brave has everybody turning heads. The classic style seems to intrique RV’ers looking for something with a little more character and brings back the fun-loving, free spirit of the 60’s and 70’s. While the original carried a price tag of $4,000 this baby will set you back around $100K.
Cascadia Vehicle Tents drew some looks from us and is a great product for those looking to the rustic side of camping. These sturdy, waterproof tents allow you to sleep comfortably above mud, rocks, dirt, critters and (most importantly) in a pool of water. Best of all, you can get into one of these for around a thousand and be camping in style and comfort. Talk about glamping!
In case you are wondering, we did not buy anything. Looking is always fun and much cheaper than buying. Although I really did like the Foretravel!
If you have never been to an RV Super Show, we highly recommend it.
Happy shopping . . . or looking!