Our Top 10 RV Show Tips for First Timers

RV show season in Ohio is in full swing for 2020! If you have never been to a show but plan to attend soon, or your last experience was sub-par, we have a few tips for you. We’re planning to go to the Columbus RV Show in Columbus, OH this weekend (Feb. 28, 2020). These tips have been gathered from our own experiences and pulled from a few sites we follow. On with the show!

Tip 1 – Wear comfortable shoes!

The fastest way to get worn out when attending an RV show is to wear improper footwear. No flip-flops, no heels, no hard soled shoes, etc. If you have light weight hiking, running or walking shoes that breathe well, you’re golden! I have a pair of Merrell hiking shoes that are awesome! But, either my feet are growing or the shoes are shrinking, because they have been getting a bit tight. Time for a new pair!

Tip 2 – Bring plenty of water!

Some of these shows in warmer climates are outside, and it can get hot out, so you need to hydrate. Even the indoor shows can be rough if they have the heat cranked. Bring a couple bottles of water, if you can. But, keep in mind some shows may have a rule against outside drinks so they can gouge you for a $5 bottle of water.

Tip 3 – Map your visit.

If a floor plan with certain vendors, or classes of RV’s is available, print one off and mark the brands or dealers you want to see and visit those first. Then, if you’re not too tired, or there is time, go back and visit other vendors you found interesting along the way.

Tip 4 – Bring snacks.

Just like Tip 2, you’ll want to check to see if you can bring outside food for this one. But, if you can, bring some snacks with you to keep your energy up. You can walk a few miles and you could get hungry real quick. Again, avoid getting hit with $10 for a hot dog. Or, if a meal sticks with you, eat plenty before the show.

Tip 5 – Check your coats if you can.

If it’s a show in a place where you need a coat from your car to the show, use the coat check if available. Or, brave the cold and leave the coat in the car. As in Tip 2, they like to keep it on 90 degrees at some venues, and you probably don’t want to carry a coat around all day.

Tip 6 – Avoid the sales pitches.

Every year I have gone to the Dayton RV Show, there is always one or two booths where someone is trying to get you to listen to their pitch about gutters or water systems for your home. Last I checked, this was an RV show sir. Or, it’s a resort with some “game” that lets you “win” a few nights stay with them, but only after you listen to their time share deal. No thanks.

Tip 7 – Know what your budget is and stick with it!

If you’ve spent months researching and comparing rigs, don’t throw it all away and bust your budget on a shiny object. The worst thing to do is to get sold on a RV with features that are cool at the time, but you never use, and blow your budget out of the water. Also, if you plan to buy, save time and get your funds or financing in order before you go. One thing about RV shows is that the pricing can carry deep discounts and you could ride away with a steal!

Tip 8 – Take photos, video and notes.

Buying an RV is a big deal! And if you’re still in research mode, make sure your phone is charged or you bring a camera and take photos and video of the RV’s you like. What you see on a website or in a brochure can be a complete 180 from what you see in person. Take all the photos and notes you need to make a wise decision.

Tip 9 – Ask questions and take a test drive.

Ask all the questions you want. That’s what the dealer and manufacturer reps are there for. Also, try doing the every day things you plan to do when you’re RVing. Pretend to cook, watch TV, lay in the bed, jump in the shower, sit on the toilet, and anything else you think of. And, if possible, take the rig for a drive.

Tip 10 – Avoid an impulse buy and don’t settle for “okay”

If your ticket to the show gets you in multiple days, go do your walk through on the first day, then go home, sleep on what you saw, then go back the second day if you decide to buy. Don’t buy a rig that doesn’t check all of your important “must have” boxes. You’ll just set yourself up for a bad time.

Time to shop!

Hopefully these tips help you have a great experience at you first, or next, RV show. Have fun, and if you buy at the show, enjoy the new RV! If you have any other tips, drop them in the comments below.


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