how to attend rv show

The Do’s and Don’ts of an RV Show

If you have never been to an RV show, watch this quick video on why you should attend a show. Then check out the tips below on the do’s and don’ts.

RV shows are great for several reasons, and if you are considering the RV lifestyle, it’s the best place to start!  However, if you aren’t prepared….you could end up with blisters on your feet and no idea of what RV you want.  To avoid this, follow these Do’s and Don’ts:

The Do’s:

  • Arrive with your goals in mind and/or written down.  Know how you want to use your RV and where you will want to take it.  Also, consider questions such as: Where you plan to store it? What’s your budget (super important)? How do you plan to finance it? (if you are thinking of buying at the show, arrange financing ahead of time)
  • Comfortable Shoes are a must!  Shows are big and can easily take hours to cover the entire show.
  • Check the show directory and schedule.  Spend some time checking out all the cool gadgets and helpful seminars.
  • Ask questions!  There will be dozens of dealers, manufacturers, representatives, expert speakers and of course fellow RV’ers.  Take advantage and write a short list of your biggest questions.  You don’t want to forget when the moment arises.
  • Take a test drive, sit on the furniture, jump on the bed, pretend to cook a meal and take a shower!  Check out everything!  Most important, if you have found a top pick, test drive it.

The Don’ts:

  • Don’t wander into RV’s that you would never consider buying.  At least not until you have done what you came to accomplish.
  • Avoid impulse.  Ask for a free return pass. The biggest mistake you can make is buying on impulse.  The temptation to buy on the spot can be overwhelming but, the deal won’t go away over night.
  • Don’t go alone.  If you have a travel partner, make sure they are involved in the decision process.
  • Don’t settle.  There are so many RV’s out there and one will be perfect for you.  If you’re not 100%, walk away.

Now that you know what to do, it’s time to put your knowledge to work.  Happy shopping!

Did I miss anything?  If you have “newbie” tips to share, post them in the comment box below.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (20)

  • Erin

    Going to Jacksonville RV show this weekend 2/9. It’s our first time.
    Are there food and drink trucks or booths?
    Thank you

  • Kristi

    Thanks for the informative article. Have you’ll ever hear of RV shows for used RVs or any form of mass used RV sale for that matter?

    • Curious Minion

      The only thing I’ve seen close to that is Quartzsite, AZ during the month of January. While there’s no formal event, the big RV show draws dealers from all over (many of whom have some used units) and consignment lots pop up in several places around town. A drive through some of the LTVA campgrounds will also turn up rigs with “For Sale” signs on them.

    • Linda

      Look on the iRV2 website and then go to FOR SALE. They have all different kind of brands and years for sale and many have pictures too. We knew exactly what we were looking for so we waited a few years before we bought the one.
      We have been super happy with our purchase! The owner has still stayed in contact with us so we count him as a friend now!
      Linda & Harold

  • pam

    We are planning on attending the Denver rv show this weekend~ but not looking forward to the high pressure sales- seems like we can get a better deal from a private seller for a used rv (we’re looking at class c’s ) plus given that we can pay someone to inspect the rv ( leaks…..beware) seems like a cheaper way to go for actually purchasing. Will it be high pressure sales to even go through the class c’s ? I want to see the new gadgets and such but am afraid it will burst my bubble when we actually go to purchase a used one!

  • Rick M

    I live near Cleveland ,Ohio and the local RV show does not offer much of a selection of RV’s to see. (My wife and I are planning to full time RV when we retire in a few years.) We would like to take in a RV show that would allow us to see a large number of coaches and 5th wheel rigs. The Louisville RV industry show looks like a great one, but as non RV industry people we would not be able to get in. Could you offer any suggestions of some good shows near us that we could attend?
    We are enjoying following you two on your adventures and have learned a lot from your videos. Looking forward to seeing some of your input showing up on the upcoming Fleetwood RV’s . Solar should be an option from the factory.
    Keep the info coming, we are enjoying it.

    • We are not experts on shows and haven’t been to that many around the country but I do know the Hershey, Louisville (there is a consumer show too) and California RV shows are nice big shows with lots of vendors and seminars going on. We are actually going to be at the California show this October so if you make it to that one, come hang out with us! You can always check the RVIA website to see upcoming shows, visit each show website and see how many and which manufacturers will be there. That may help you find a show closer to you. Hope that helps!

      • FelixC

        Hi, I’m from Montreal (Qc) and in September 2014 I made a roadtrip and went to the America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey (PA). Over 1400 RVs, a lot of floor plans, great deals that you can even more negociate, cool gadgets, etc. I bought 1 month before my first RV, a 1993 Damon Class C 27′ and discovered that I love RVing! Going to Hershey was a good place to see the new things (compared to my 1993…)

        In March 2015 I went to Montreal’s RV Show (Le salon du VR) and it can’t be compared. I didn’t coun’t but my guess is that Montreal’s has maximum 50 motorhomes to show.

        If you can go to Hershey’s, take a moment and go to the Hershey Chocolate Factory to make your own personnalized chocolate bar. Totally worth it!

        Have a good time!

        Au plaisir de se croiser sur la route!


  • Don Taylor


    You two are great and the info is this rv’er who has never rv’ed before.

  • Nancy

    We have been RVing for about 20 years and one thing I have noticed that many seem to forget is to check the weather before going to a show. Many RV shows are during the hottest or rainiest days. Going in and out of RVs in the hot sun can dehydrate quickly so drink plenty of fluids and time it so that you can go into the air conditioned areas when possible.

    • Nancy, you are 100% correct! Very few RV shows are located completely indoors, so be prepared for ANYTHING! And don’t bank on the food at the shows being worth a dang, pack your own lunch and drinks.
      Good call.

  • Peter &Shona Rameriz

    My wife and I are currently shipping for our first RV, after watching you on house hunters we both looked at each other and said that’s a damn good idea!!!! After spending lots of time at local dealers and on the Internet we have narrowed it down to a select few. So my questions are do you have any regrets on buying the Vesta? if you could do this over would it still be your choice? With all the RV’s we have seen there is always Somthing one of us is not too keen on. We have found a compromise in our final 3 but since we are only gonna do this once we want to get it right the first time.
    Thanks and Happy Exploring!!
    Peter and Shona

  • Good points. Most people new to RVing don’t understand the difference between boondocking (dry camping) and full hookup camping. The rigs are set up different with certain equipment priorities. This is the biggest mistake entry level buyers make.

    As a desert rat who spends a week at a time out in the middle of nowhere exploring, I can confirm that the water, electrical, and fuel systems are very different, especially if you want to optimize the boondocking lifestyle.

    Also consider if you need to tow anything. I pull a trailer that has a motorglider, 2 powered paragliders, a dual sport motorcycle, 2 mountain bikes, and half a dozen gas cans on it. Some rigs are set up to tow with brake controllers, hitches, and a powerful enough engine.

  • Poseyanne

    We did all our narrowing online and then went to an RV show to see our choice in person. My only regret was not trying a little harder for a bit more on our trade-in. We may have saved a little more continuing to shop around but we were ready to buy.

  • Thanks for the great tips. I am currently a tent camper, but I would love to check out some campers and RV’s. Camping is such a great adventure– and it is always changing!


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