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A member of our RV Lifestyle Facebook group is about to buy their first RV and asked our community what regrets they had about their first purchase.
Bill wrote: About to buy our first RV. As the saying goes, “buy your 3rd RV first”. If you regretted your first RV purchase, what were the reasons? Too big? Too Small?
Bill’s post addressed what we like to call the Goldilocks problem of RV buying. The first RV always seems too small. The second one too big. And the third one juuuuust right. (Or possibly vice versa with the first and second.)
Many RVers responded with their experiences and offered some advice. We’ll share their input as well as offer some advice of our own.
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From Campervan to 5th Wheel
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Jennifer and I have enjoyed 11 years of RVing, and the first decade was in small Class B campervans. We were happy with the small RV lifestyle, boondocking our way around the country. And we still are happy! We still have a campervan, but we’ve also recently bought a 5th-wheel travel trailer.
There’s a BIG difference between fifth wheels and campervans, so we understand either end of the buying spectrum. We learned a lot through experience but also, thankfully, from fellow RVers. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or weekend warrior, it’s helpful to know other RVers’ biggest regrets to avoid the same.
3 Biggest Regrets New RV Owners Have
With so many different RVs and different options, it’s really hard to decide which kind of RV and which RV within that class is right for you. RVers often end up with one or more of the following 3 regrets.
We will quickly list the 3 big regrets with a helpful resource. Then, we’ll dive into the tips to help you avoid these regrets!
Regret #1: The Wrong Size
Like we said: The Goldilocks Problem. Many RVers regret buying too big or too small with their first RV. Then, they overcorrect and buy too small or too big for their second RV. Like Bill said in his post, it seems it takes 3 RVs to get it right.
Helpful Resource: Class A vs. Class B vs. Class C RV: Which is Right for You?
If you don’t know the differences between the RV classes listed above, I recommend you read the following:
Regret #2: Motorhome vs. Travel Trailer
Another common regret new RV owners have is opting for a motorhome over a travel trailer or vice versa. Some trailer owners realize they despise hooking and unhooking the trailer, while motorhome owners wish they could unhook and drive around freely.
Helpful Resource: Towable vs. Motorized RV: Which Is Right for You?
Regret #3: Bad Floorplan or Missing Amenities
The 3rd buying regret usually starts off with “I really wish we had…” and ends with “it just doesn’t work for us.” RVers realize over time that the floorplan they chose doesn’t utilize the space the best way for them. Or, they realize they can’t actually live without the thing they thought they could live without (i.e. washer/dryer, bigger closet, etc.)
Helpful Resource: 7 Common RV Interior Design Flaws (and Solutions!)
How to Buy the Goldilocks RV on the FIRST Try
Now that you know the 3 biggest regrets, you surely want to know how to avoid them. But we bet you noticed something about those 3 problems… they really depend on the person!
Some people like bigger, some like smaller, some prefer towables, and some prefer motorhomes. It really comes down to personal preference. We bet you’re thinking, Well, that doesn’t really help me, does it?!
We hear ya, and you’re right. But we can help you figure out which one is right for you.
1. Understand the Different Classes and RV Types
It’s a good idea to start your RV buying journey with a clear understanding of different RV types and sizes. If you can’t explain the difference between Class A and Class B RVs or travel trailers and 5th wheels, then you’re not ready to make a truly informed decision.
The following articles can give you a boost on that steep learning curve:
2. Know What KIND OF RVING Fits Your Travel Dreams
Before signing on the dotted line, new RVers need to understand that there are many types of RV lifestyles. Boondocking, for instance, has become increasingly popular in recent years, yet many new people don’t even know what it is.
So, what kind of RV travel do you want to do?
Do you want to stay in luxury RV parks, camp in state parks and national parks, or boondock along the open road? Are you okay with staying in Walmart parking lots overnight, or do you always want hookups? Do you plan on full-time RVing or occasional road trips?
Here are resources to help you figure it out:
3. Rent (Often) Before You Buy
The BEST ADVICE we can give you is this: RENT BEFORE YOU BUY. A lot of people in the Facebook post agree. Buying an RV is a big decision, and you shouldn’t make it on the sales lot with an RV dealer. You should make it from a campsite or on a road trip with your travel companions.
The only way to figure out the pros and cons of RV living the way you will live it is to experience it firsthand. And you DON’T have to figure it out after you buy an expensive rig.
Before you make a big investment in an RV, you should try out the many different options. Check out Outdoorsy and other places where you can rent an RV.
Rent different RV classes (even the ones you don’t think you’d like). Rent different floorplans. Rent RVs with different amenities. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a couple of options, take a couple of long trips in them. THEN buy the best rig for you.
Here are some buying resources and our RV Lifestyle RV Buying Secrets ebook:
Next to your home, an RV is most likely the 2nd most expensive thing you’ll ever purchase.
We get questions every day of other RVers wondering. “How do you buy a new or used RV?”
So we created a 75+-page downloadable digital guide to help you understand the nuances that come with purchasing an RV, where you can save thousands of dollars in the buying process, what the right questions are to ask dealers, what things to look out for, how to select the right unit, amenities, warranties, and so much more!
We created this guide to help you understand the nuances that come with purchasing an RV including:
- Where to save thousands of dollars in the buying process
- What questions to ask dealers
- How to select the right unit
- How to narrow down RV amenities
- Understanding your warranty and what it covers
This ebook is designed to help make your purchase process as smooth as possible. And to teach you step-by-step exactly what to do so you can start your RV Lifestyle today!
We recommend Hollywood Racks for your RV Lifestyle…
The RV Rider bike rack for RV’s, motorhomes, and fifth wheels carries 2 E-Bikes (up to 80 lbs. each) on the back of an RV Motorhome, a 5th wheel, or a flat towed vehicle. A 2″ hitch is required for this rack. Special features include universal heavy-duty wheel holders for heavy load carrying capacity. These wheel holders can fit any tire up to 5″ wide and include a ratchet wheel strap. Locking frame grabbers secure the bikes in place. This bike rack is not compatible with bumper pull, travel trailers or bumper mounted hitch receivers.
If you want to look at everything they offer, not just the RV Rider rack — go here and explore all the options!