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Your RV search can be a challenge, but if you are in the process of finding your first RV, I’m jealous!
The hunt for our own Axl Roads took three years, but we had so much fun…and that was BEFORE we started remodeling & traveling!
While we were looking for an RV, I could honestly picture us traveling in anything- and there were so many options to pick from!
Tour bus-like Class As, camper-van Class Bs, mid-size Class Cs, pull-behind leave-behind travel trailers, trendy teardrops, quick & nimble pop-ups…I could imagine us adventuring in virtually all of them.
What kind of RV do you picture yourself in?
Usually that will have a lot to do with how big your crew is and how deep your pockets are! One person with their cat will want a much different way to travel than a family of four with two dogs- and their rig & travel budgets will look much different, too.
STEP ONE in your RV search: Set your budget and get ready to stick to it!
If you are able to save or easily borrow money, set a reasonable budget and get ready stand firm!
Do your research and know your options if you plan to borrow! This article from lendedu offers some great advice about loan terms & bank options.
Keep in mind RV bells & whistles can be very tempting (who doesn’t want a shower inside and outside?), so it’s good to have a real number or range in mind.
PS- If you aren’t ready to buy, you can rent an RV from marketplace like Outdoorsy (think Air BnB for RVs) while you save up- plus you can try out all the sizes & styles before you buy.
While I knew a smaller Class C RV would be perfect for us & our dogs, it seemed to be out of our $15k price range at the time. I just KNEW (Russ wasn’t so sure) we could remodel an older one if we could find it.
During the first few years we looked at older models, unfortunately everything was either too expensive or too un-remodel-able for a couple with zero to little mechanical or RV experience.
STEP TWO in your RV search: Look far & wide…but don’t ignore local!
Some of the places we consistently looked included:
- Reading local newspaper classifieds & weekly classified circulars – Since everything is online now, there are very few printed listings and even fewer photos (zero).
- Attending the annual nationally-touring RV show at the Convention Center – These typically feature new, mostly high-end models. This is a great place to get an idea of what you like and don’t like, plus it’s helpful to walk through various layouts and see what amenities & upgrades exist (and which you might be able to hack yourself!).
- Craigslist pow-wowing on the iPad every Sunday night – Potluck! You never know what you’ll find! We had a few odd phone conversations & two near-scams while hunting this way. It did give us an idea of the local market and average prices in our area, plus made us hip to what the scam ads looked like.
Hint: if it seems too good to be true, it is! Extra hint: Don’t wire anyone money. Ever. For any RV-buying reason.
Enter Axl Roads. He was advertised on Craigslist during one of our Sunday night RV scavenger hunts and was located just an hour north of us, being stored under cover in a barn. This 1997 Ford Fourwinds Class C RV with only 16,000 miles had been used for short trips and baseball tournaments.
Which leads to…
STEP THREE in your RV search: NEVER GIVE UP.
Just like good love was to Tom Petty, your perfect RV may be hard to find.
The best RV for us was hard to find, and yours might be, too.
Set your budget, put out your local feelers, and don’t give up!