If you’re shopping for an RV, if you can, try to attend an RV convention.
RV conventions occur all over the country. When we started looking, we were in luck–there were two RV conventions right in our backyard; one in Fort Worth, one in Dallas, both in the spring. I hear there’s another one in the Fall for Tarrant County, also our area. But what we were surprised to see is that RV conventions are not all the same.
Our First RV Convention
The Tarrant Country RV Show in Fort Worth had a LARGE selection of RVs. There are only about 10-15 dealers represented, but each one brings in dozens of RVs, all various shapes and sizes. Wear good shoes because your dogs are gonna hurt by days end. We went to the first convention sure we wanted to buy an Airstream trailer. We left sure we wanted a Jayco trailer. You’ll find discounted prices (which they say are “convention only” specials, but in our experience, you can get the same deals about anytime from the larger dealers. Smaller dealers may be a different story). You get to talk to sales people, grab handfuls of brochures and eat convention center food better served to animals.
Our Biggest RV Convention
The Dallas RV Super Sale at Dallas Market Hall had an equally large selection of RVs, about the same number of dealers. We arrived there a month later sure we wanted a Jayco trailer, left thinking we wanted either a Jayco Class C or Class A. More sales people, more brochures, more things you begin to understand because now you’ve dedicated nearly 24 hours to nothing but RV research. But what was really beneficial about this convention was that they had classes. Free classes. We attended only two, but took pages of notes. The first was tips and tricks for using an RV. The second was RV kitchen tips. Both revealed many useful gadgets and we learned tricks that we’ll definitely put into practice.
In the end, the RV conventions didn’t convince us which RV to buy. But they did give us invaluable education.
To Buy or Not to Buy
In the end, the RV conventions didn’t convince us which RV to buy. That happened when we discovered the Rockwood Windjammer later. But they did give us invaluable education in RVs. There’s nothing like having dozens of different RV brands sitting only feet from each other, sales people ready to tell you all about them. You quickly see what you get for $20k, $30k, $40k, $50k and so on. And, more importantly, you see which features are invaluable and rare (hydraulic lifts on the bed storage, aluminum reinforcement on the wood) and which are mere “wants” ([amazon link=”B004NBJM5G” title=”outside showers–which can be added after-market for about $50 and installed for $200″ link_title=”RV Outside Shower add-on” /]).
All that said, one more note: RV conventions are pretty expensive. Our family of five were charged over $40 at both conventions just to get in the door, and the food was another $50 easy. So save up! But you’ll be glad you did.
How about you? Have you attended an RV convention? What’s your favorite? Would love to hear what you think!