RV shows are considered the ultimate hands-on experience for those looking to buy a new model.
But they aren’t without their drawbacks.
If you’re considering checking out an RV show, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s worth it for you.
Why Are You Attending?
Before we jump into the pros and cons of an RV show, it’s important to understand your motive for attending.
There are two main reasons people go to RV shows:
- To potentially purchase an RV
- To browse around and keep up-to-date with the latest in RV industry trends and technology
For those just looking to walk around and see what’s new in the industry, there really aren’t too many cons to attending – other than expensive food and being harrassed to enter prize drawings from every vendor booth you walk past.
So, we’ll focus on those attending an RV supershow with the intention of buying a new rig.
Are RV Shows Really Worth It?
RV Show Pros
- One-stop-shop for all things RV: RV shows are typically held in large venues and feature various RV models from different manufacturers. This means you can see many different models, tour various floorplans, etc., in one place, which can save you time and effort.
- Comparison shopping: RV shows allow you to easily compare features, floorplans, prices, etc., for different models, which can help you better understand what model is best for you and your budget.
- Opportunity to ask questions: RV shows are staffed by knowledgeable sales reps who can answer your questions and provide advice on different models and features.
- Access to special deals: Many RV manufacturers offer exclusive deals and discounts at RV shows, so you may be able to save money on your purchase (may be able to save, which we touch on later). And a little pro tip, try to negotiate an even better deal on the last day of the show when the dealers are extremely motivated to sell.
- Financing deals: You won’t find just special pricing deals at an RV show. You can also get special financing deals which, if you plan to take out a lengthy loan, can potentially save you tens of thousands in the long run.
- Interesting vendors: Along with RVs for sale, you’ll find many interesting RV parts and accessory vendors and other camping-related vendors. In fact, I bought a foldable kayak at the last RV show I attended!
- Educational seminars: RV shows are also a great place to learn about the RV lifestyle. Many shows will have educational seminars put on by vendors to educate you on their products and ways to make the RV experience more enjoyable. For example, at a recent show, Dometic put on a seminar covering their new line of products and how to troubleshoot common issues with RV refrigerators and furnaces.
RV Show Cons
- Deals aren’t always special: Dealers always claim huge savings and special prices on their RVs at a show. And while they may have marked their models down, they may not be the best price around. Before pulling the trigger on an RV you like, compare it with prices from dealers online. You might be surprised that the same model is cheaper at a dealership somewhere else.
- Large crowds: RV shows can be very crowded, making it difficult to get a good look at different models and talk to sales reps. You may also have to wait in long lines to see popular models. It’s always a good idea to arrive at the show early and have a plan (see our tips for attending an RV show for more ideas).
- You’re buying a heavily trafficked model: Those large crowds we just mentioned, well, all those people just walked through the RV you have your eye on, laid in the bed, sat on the couch, etc. In other words, you might be buying a new model, but it likely had more use in the last day than it would in half a year.
- Limited time: RV shows usually only run for a few days, which may not give you enough time to see everything you want to see and make the best buying decision.
- Can be overwhelming: The sheer number of RVs on display can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start or which models to focus on. Again, this is why it’s good to plan ahead and know what models and manufacturers will be at the show, so you know which ones to focus on.
- Pressure to buy: Because of the advertised sales prices at these expos, you might feel like you have to decide that day to buy (or you’ll lose out on the discount). Never rush into a buying decision for an RV. Not only are they typically a large investment, but you’ll be spending a lot of time in it, so you want to make sure it’s right for you and your family. Talk to the dealer and see how long the special price will be offered. If they truly want the sale, they’ll extend the offer for you.
- Fees: While not a huge fee, RV shows typically charge between $5 to $20 per person to enter. And some even charge parking fees. Add that to the high cost of food, and you can spend a good chunk of money in a day.
Ultimately, whether an RV show is worth it will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Everybody is looking for something a little different in a show, so take some time to weigh the pros and cons and research the shows you’re interested in ahead of time to see if they offer what you’re looking for.