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The Complete Guide to Picking an RV for First-Time Buyers

What comes to mind when you think of RVs and RV owners?

Perhaps you have the image of a retired couple navigating the U.S. and enjoying their golden years.

But RV ownership isn’t just for retirees. More and more Americans are choosing RV life. Amongst millennials alone, 53% said they would be interested in buying an RV. Overall, RVs have been growing in popularity in recent years.

This rise in popularity means you’re likely to have more RV options – new and used – to choose from than ever before.

But if you’re a first-time RV buyer, you may be lost when picking an RV. After all, how do you decide what’s important? What type of RV is right for you?

Don’t worry first-time RV buyers — we’ve got the guide to help your pick the right RV.

What to Consider When Picking an RV

What’s the best RV? There’s no set answer.

There are lots of different options for RVs: small and large RVs, new or used, and even multiple classes of RVs.

Types of RVs

Generally, RVs can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Class A – 25 – 40 feet, looks like a large bus
  • Class B – 17 – 24 feet, built on a van chassis
  • Class C – 20 – 30 feet, has a truck cab that is separate from the living space
  • Fifth-Wheel – 25 – 45 feet, the front hitch sits down inside the bed of your pickup truck
  • Travel trailer – wide range of sizes; the trailer is towed behind your vehicle
  • Truck camper – a small RV that rests in the bed of the truck

The type of RV you purchase will depend on a few different factors. One is your budget. Another factor is if you have a vehicle with a capable tow capacity.

For example, a truck camper is the most affordable (and smallest) RV option, but if you don’t have a truck, then you have to factor in the cost of purchasing a new or used truck.

Keep in mind these categories are general. There are even subcategories.

For example, toy haulers are either travel trailers or fifth-wheel trailers with a garage built into the living space, allowing them to haul “toys” like ATVs.

Floor Plans

While this doesn’t apply to smaller RVs, larger RV models often have a variety of different floor plans. A few different options include:

  • Rear bedroom
  • Front bedroom
  • Rear kitchen
  • Slideout(s)
  • Bunkhouse

New vs. Used

Another question you may be asking yourself is if you should buy a new or used RV.

The obvious advantage of used RVs is their upfront price. However, that can be misleading.

An RV can last up to 20 years, but that’s on the extreme end. That also assumes that the RV is regularly cleaned and maintained, and has not sat idle for too long. Likewise, an RV can show its age sooner if it has too many miles on it.

A new RV will have a manufacturer’s warranty. In many cases, you will have some customization options such as color choices and layout. And of course, if you take care of your new RV it will last for many years.

Where to Buy

When looking for an RV, you can try a local RV dealer or browse online.

The advantage of online shopping is that they often allow you more customization options. If that’s something that interests you, you can get an RV here.

Ready to Start Your RV Life?

There’s a lot involved with picking an RV, especially if you’re new to the RV life and are a first-time buyer. But if you follow our guide and take some time to shop around, you’re bound to find the perfect RV for you.

Be sure to check out the rest of our site for more great articles on travel and camping.

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