Stop!  Read This Before Your First Steps Into the World of RVing

Stop! Read This Before Your First Steps Into the World of RVing

So, you have the itch – and not one caused by mosquitoes – to drive into the RV lifestyle. This is thankfully, an itch you can scratch before making a commitment to RV ownership. Whether this thirst for the RV lifestyle is triggered by any of the RV centered television shows, the effective advertising of the industry, the travel adventures of friends or family, or simply the desire to upscale your own outdoor experiences, you owe it to yourself and your family to look into the possibility that you can soon be one of the 11 percent of U.S. households to own an RV, according to statistics provided by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Randy Harris, who is retired from a long-time career in RV sales in northwestern Indiana, has some advice for the would-be RV owner. When he was in the business, he often dealt with first-time RV owners and even in his retirement helps family and friends on the journey to their own RV.

“First, do you have the time to use it,” Harris said.

An investment with the price tag of an RV should be used regularly otherwise it becomes a depreciating asset. Harris said if an RV is going to stay parked in the driveway, it might not be the time to sign up for the lifestyle just yet.

A second consideration, according to Harris, is to make sure that you enjoy the outdoors. The goal of RV ownership is to leave the primary habitat and venture into nature where hiking, biking, fishing and other outdoor pursuits await.Harris and his wife Cindy are life-long campers and for them, there was no doubt that RV ownership gave them the opportunity to truly enjoy their lives.

Harris said that if your definition of a great get-away involves fine dining, attending the theater, or other more urban pursuits, an RV might not be the best choice. However, if your dream vacation is waking up to sunrises over the Smoky Mountains, or sunsets on the Pacific Ocean, then finding those idyllic spots is easier within the RV community.

The third most important consideration is that you will get along well with the people who will be traveling with you within the confines of the RV. “If you don’t enjoy the other person’s company, it can be very difficult,” Harris said.

In an RV, there are no doors to shut when you get annoyed with your significant other, your teenagers, or, from the kids’ point of view, the parents.This is especially true when your RVing plans include long-term travel. Cindy Harris said that she and Randy cope well with the tight quarters because they get along well and each understands the need to give the other person space. And, there’s always the Great Outdoors which greatly expands everyone’s sense of space.

Those who may still be unsure about whether an RV is the right lifestyle choice do have options. Rentals are available in many local areas. Some rentals can be arranged at a destination, similar to renting a car. You fly into a city, pick up the RV you have reserved and head to your destination. Rentals are usually booked for a week at a time and the cost is assessed per night of use. This rate does not include mileage costs and any additional equipment, such as a generator. When you factor in the cost of a hotel and meals, and the ability to take in the natural beauty of an area, an RV rental may be a good first step strategy toward RV ownership.

Renting allows you to test drive the different RV classes – from Class C Cabovers and Class A motor homes to a towable Travel Trailer. This can help you figure out which type makes the most sense for your driving abilities. The bigger the rig the more driving skills are needed to maneuver your home away from home down the highway. Rentals also help you determine what size you need to accommodate your family as well as what amenities are a must have and which can be scratched off the “must have” list.

Another way to experience an RV is to visit family and friends who have one. Perhaps even tagging along on a trip or borrowing the vehicle for a long weekend at a local park or campground. Spending time inside an RV will help get you familiar with the specializations designed into making the unit livable. And it is a good opportunity to carve out family time while you make your decision.

Attending RV shows is another way to research your options, Randy Harris said. Cindy and he spent more than six months looking at floor plans before making one of their purchases and friends of theirs are on their third year of looking and assessing their options.

“Take someone with you who has experience with RVs,” Cindy Harris suggested.

Shows also provide access to the RV community via dealers, manufacturers and other RV enthusiasts. “You are talking to people who do RV,” Randy Harris said. “You also become acquainted with the different classes, makes and prices.”

Open houses hosted by RV dealers is also another resource. These are scheduled on local, regional and national levels throughout the nation. It gives customers a chance to look inside various models, get a feel for the vehicle and builds a relationship with a dealer who may handle your purchase in the future. Much like an open house hosted by real estate agents, an RV open house achieves the same results. Looking at this purchase as a second home is necessary, especially when you decide to fully embrace the lifestyle.It will be up to you to determine which elements of life on the road are a necessity and which will be left behind at your primary home.

Asking questions, reading blogs, and doing a little research online are also ways to get ready to decide.While it may be a little daunting to put so much effort into this decision, the payoff is huge.

“It’s fun,” the Harris said. “There’s no bad to it in our opinion.”

Lois Tomaszewski is an award-winning journalist and editor.

Aug 1st 2018 Lois Tomaszewski

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