Expert Tips for Attending an RV Show

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RV shows offer attendees a unique opportunity to compare hundreds of camper models and manufacturers in one spot.

It’s comparison shopping at its finest, allowing you to get hands-on experience with the newest models and speak with manufacturer reps about their products and services.

But, even a smaller RV show can be overwhelming, and take multiple days to see all they have to offer.

So, here are some expert tips for attending an RV show to help you get the most out of the experience. Plus, a few additional tips I wish I had known before attending my first show.

Expert Tips for Attending an RV Show This Year

The first six tips are more of a step-by-step guide to getting the most out of an RV expo. From planning ahead to buying at the right time, these tips will help you navigate the show like a pro.

Bonus Tip: Check out our RV Show List for 2023 – 2024 to find a show near you! We update it regularly, so check back often!

1. Prepare for the Show

Before attending an RV show, it’s important to know why you’re going and to plan ahead. Research what manufacturers and models will be there. Make a list of models with your must-have features, such as size, type, and amenities. This will help narrow down your choices and focus on the RVs that fit your needs.

Bonus Tip: Once you have an idea of the models you want to look at, research online to see what these models typically cost before you go to the show. That way, you know if they are really offering a special deal.

2. Bring the Family

If you plan to purchase an RV at the show, it’s a good idea to bring the family to get input on this potentially life-changing purchase. Let the kids test out the RVs and give feedback on which models they prefer. An RV show can be an excellent opportunity to teach your kids about RV living and travel, as well.

3. Test the Models Out

When you find an RV that you’re interested in, make sure to test it out. Sit in the driver’s seat (if applicable), walk around the interior, lie in the bed, and test the features, such as the stove, refrigerator, shower, etc. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The manufacturer reps at RV shows are always happy to help.

4. Take Notes

Take notes on the RVs you are interested in. I like to jot down the model name, price, features that I like, and the pros and cons of each to compare them later. This will help you make an informed decision when it’s time to buy.

5. Take Pictures

While notes are extremely handy, a picture is worth a thousand words! Use your smartphone (or bring a camera) and take pictures of the RV models you’re interested in. Take pictures of the interior and exterior and any features or amenities that stand out. These photos will be useful later when you compare notes.

6. Buy at the Right Time

Many RV dealers offer special deals and promotions at the RV show. And while you might be tempted to jump on the first great deal you find, don’t rush into it. Take your time, compare the models, and make an informed decision. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, and be aware of any financing options available.

Bonus Tip: Some of the best deals can be found on the last day when manufacturers try to unload unsold RVs.

Additional RV Show Tips

Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show in Cedar Falls, Iowa
Iowa Boat, RV & Vacation Show in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Here are some additional tips I wish I had known before attending my first show. They are little things I’ve learned from attending multiple shows over the years and will help make the overall experience more enjoyable.

  • Arrive early: Beat the crowds and get a head start by arriving early and being among the first attendees through the door. RV shows can already be overwhelming. Add in huge crowds and long lines, and it can turn into a nightmare. If you plan ahead and know which models you want to see, seminars to watch, etc., arriving early will help you execute that plan as efficiently as possible.
  • Get to know the expo layout: If possible, visit the expo’s website to see if they have a layout map of the show and print it out. Mark down all of the models, booths, food vendors, etc., that you want to visit. If you have to wait until you’re at the show to get a map, take a quick second to look it over and make a plan instead of aimlessly wandering around.
  • Be prepared to walk (a lot): Even smaller RV shows can take an entire day to get through, which means there will be a lot of walking! Wear comfy shoes and clothes. And wear layers so you can adjust for the heat or cold.
  • Plan for multiple days: With some shows offering hundreds of different RV models from various manufacturers, it can be difficult to get through it all in one day. If you plan to tour quite a few models, plan to attend multiple days.
  • Have a meal plan: It took me about four shows to realize that I should start planning for meals and breaks. Every show I’ve been to had food vendors. But prices can be astronomical. It’s good to have an idea of what you want to do for meals and snacks ahead of time, in case you don’t want to pay the food prices at the show.
  • Enter drawings sparingly: You’ll undoubtedly be hounded by multiple vendors to enter their prize giveaway drawings. But along with the chance to win a prize will come emails, phone calls, snail mail, etc., from these vendors. This one is really up to you. If the chance of winning a prize is worth all of the marketing material they’ll send you, go ahead and enter. I almost always pass on these offers.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the experience: Whether you plan on buying an RV or just want to see what’s out there and stay up-to-date with the latest in industry technology – go, have fun, and maybe I’ll see you there!

Related: Are RV Shows Worth It? Pros & Cons

Are you ready to tackle a show but don’t know which one to attend? Check out our list of the ten best RV shows – you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Do you have questions about attending an RV show? Ask them below!

2 thoughts on “Expert Tips for Attending an RV Show”

  1. I know what I want. But, do not know if I should choose a custom RV or a custom Carriage home constructed. I would want to be able to move it… like the tiny home concept, it would be movable. Traveling is not the reason I am considering an RV. I may park this in a part or on some land while I have a house built. I might want to change it’s location.
    My bucket list…. 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bathrooms with High porcelain toilets, one with a step in tub/shower combo, good ventilation. We are too tall for low toilets. Perhaps we should consider a unit made for those with disabilities and modify it? Unfurnished spaces in living area’s…NO carpeting. Empty space so that we can change furniture as needed. This would not be an option traveling as slides would have to be able to open and close “if traveling”…and for weight distribution and management, I get that. I would place two Zero Gravity recliners, perhaps a movable desk top, small bookcase….perhaps a table and/or chairs.
    Today… outlet placement is important. As are the types of Heat or air units. I don’t want floor or wall vents or solar. A Washer and Dryer would be nice. A modest Kitchen with Fridge and Freezer AND …….over the cooking surface … an Exhaust Fan” that vents air OUTSIDE the unit……..( this would help to keep the RV from looking, smelling and feeling like a used restaurant on the inside) No massive windows…or treatments……but screens for windows and doors. No frills on the outside. Just waterproof storage. Think I could find this at a show?

    • To meet all of your bucket list wants, a custom RV will be the way to go. While you likely won’t find a model at an RV show that checks all of the boxes, you’ll be able to view models to see what you like/don’t like and talk to manufacturer reps about your wants to see whats possible.


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