16 Best Tips for Attending an RV Show

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Susan and I have attended countless RV shows where we have toured and reviewed thousands of RVs to create videos for our YouTube channel and articles for our websites. We know a few things about attending RV shows. So we thought we would share our 16 great tips for attending an RV Show.

Why Attend an RV Show?

RV Shows are a great way to learn about and find the perfect RV for you and your family. At an RV show, you can see all of the newest styles and designs of all makes and models of new RVs.

RV Shows are also a great place to attend seminars from industry experts on everything from how to buy an RV to how to maintain your RV. Some of the seminars are even free of charge!

Many RV-related companies attend RV Shows to educate and inform RVers about their products and services. So, you can learn all about and purchase all sorts of RV products such as campground memberships, WiFi Boosters, RV gear, camping gear, and much more!

Some RV Shows are huge events held at Stadiums, also called RV Supershows, and others are held at smaller venues. Either way, attending an RV show, can be overwhelming. There are hundreds, if not thousands of RVs on display.

And there are thousands of other people at the RV show too! So, how do you make sure you get the most out of attending an RV show? And how do you make sure you get the best deal on an RV or other product or service while attending an RV Show?

What We’ll Cover About Attending RV Shows

  1. Security and Tickets
  2. Grab a Program, Map, and Tote Bag
  3. Take Pictures or Videos of RVs
  4. Arrive Early
  5. The Venue, Terrain, and Weather
  6. Best Days to Attend
  7. Vendors
  8. The Info Booth
  9. Where to Charge Your Phone
  10. How to Buy an RV
  11. Buy a Used RV
  12. Expect Crowded RVs
  13. Talk to Fellow RVers 
  14. Ask an Industry Rep
  15. Talk to the RV Salespeople
  16. Test Drive an RV
Check out our YouTube Video for our 16 Best Tips for Attending An RV Show!

Our List of 16 Great Tips for Attending an RV Show!

Before you go to the RV Show read on to learn how you can use our tips for attending an RV Show.

1. Security and Tickets at an RV Show

Before you arrive at the RV Show you can buy your tickets online. You will get your best price online and you won’t have to stand in line to buy a ticket at the gate at a higher price.

You can also save some money by purchasing a multi-day ticket if you plan to attend for more than one day. Most shows last anywhere from 3 to 7 days long and a multi-day pass can save you quite a few dollars.

Going through a metal detector when you arrive at the RV Show is very likely. So, make sure you don’t have a pocket knife in your pocket. The security team will want to look through your backpack or purse at many shows.

And, you are usually not allowed to bring your own food or drinks into the RV show. Not even a bottle of water in most cases.

2. Grab a Map, Program, and Tote Bag

As soon as you enter the RV Show, you will most likely have an opportunity to grab a map, program, and tote bag. It’s best to orient yourself with the map as soon as you enter so you know where you are and which gate you entered through so you can get to the correct parking lot when you leave.

The program is helpful because it will include a list of all of the vendors, seminars, special events, and more so you can plan your day around these timed events.

The tote bag is great for picking up brochure material for all of the RVs that you see throughout the day. However, we have a better idea. Read on to the next tip!

3. Use Your Phone to Take Pics and Video

When we go to RV shows we are excited to see all of the latest and greatest models of every type of RV. But by the end of the day, the whole show seems like a big blur. And going through the tote bag of brochures we picked up throughout the day doesn’t help us remember which RVs we liked.

So, now we use our cell phones and take pictures of the outside of the RV along with the SHOW PRICE and we also shoot some video of the interior of the RVs we really like.

It’s a much better way to remember the best of the hundreds of RVs you will walk through.

4. Arrive Early 

Beat the crowds by showing up early and visiting at slower times

The vast majority of people attend an RV show on the weekend. If you plan to attend on Saturday or Sunday, arrive early so you can beat the crowds.

Another little secret is that the shows slow down late Sunday afternoon so the crowd thins out by then.

5. The Venue, Terrain, and Weather

What are we talking about when we say be prepared for the venue, the terrain, and the weather? Well, let’s look at all three individually.

Where the RV show is being held is the venue. Some shows are held at huge stadium complexes and others are held on huge fields. So, some venues are indoor, some are outdoor and others have RVs both indoor and outdoor.

Just be prepared so you know what to wear. Susan always gets chilly when we are inside and the AC is on. So for example, she might be ward looking at RV’s outdoors, then become chilly seeing RV’s that are inside.

Also, some RV Shows are on smooth terrain, like giant parking lots, which makes getting around very easy and smooth. However, others are held in large fields and the ground may be uneven. Just be aware and wear the proper shoes for the situation.

And lastly, the weather can play a role in your comfort during a show. We have been to shows where the weather changed during the day from cloudy with drizzle to sunny, hot, and humid a few hours later. Knowing the weather forecast and being prepared is key.

6. Best Days to Attend an RV Show 

The least crowded days to attend an RV show are the weekdays if the show is open then. There are fewer people, which means you have more time to talk to salespeople, industry reps, and vendors to ask questions.

If you are considering buying an RV at an RV show, I strongly suggest you take a day off of work and attend during the daytime so you have your undivided attention while making your purchase decision.

Mike and Susan celebrating at Tampa RV Show at an outside bar
Here we are celebrating at the outside bar at the Tampa RV Show after a long week of recording hundreds of RV tour videos. We sure needed a drink!

7. RV Show – Vendors, Products, and Services 

Many RV vendors or RV companies that sell RV products and services attend the RV show too! These businesses buy a booth and display their goods and services so you can stop by and ask questions and hopefully make a purchase from them.

We frequently run into RV vendors such as Camping World, Harvest Hosts, Techno RV, Americas Mailbox, Thousand Trails, Passport America, RVTrader, and many other RV-related businesses.

Many of the vendors have RV show prices, too, so you can find good deals sometimes. I usually don’t see lower prices than you will find on the internet but you can speak directly to a person and get all of your questions answered. This will help you to decide on your purchase.

8. The RV Show Information Both

The RV Show information booth will have maps, seminar schedules, special events schedules, and more. Plus, the people who work at the booth know where everything is so they can send you in the right direction.

We got to know some of the folks behind the booth at an RV Show and soon, we had the skinny on the best places to eat and locations of more private restrooms.

9. Tips For Charging Your Phone While Attending An RV Show

We have been totally amazed by the number of huge generators it takes to make sure that every RV at the RV show has electricity so the lights and A/C all work. It is unbelievable!

But – it also provides a perfect place to charge your phone or camera gear virtually everywhere you go! And since most new RVs come with USB connections, it’s easier than ever to just plug right in and recharge!

10. How To Buy an RV at an RV Show

We are always surprised by the deep discounts the RV dealers offer at the RV shows. Most RVs are discounted anywhere from 15 to 40%! But, you must be aware that the manufacturers and dealers factor in these huge discounts when they come up with the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price or MSRP.

All that being said, you can get a great deal at an RV show. The RV dealers are there to make sales. And so this is a perfect opportunity to show up as prepared as possible so you can make the best deal possible on a new RV. Here are some quick tips for negotiating your best deal while attending an RV show.

A. Get Pre-Approved for RV Financing BEFORE You Begin Looking for an RV

The first step when buying a new RV is to get pre-approved for RV financing. Doing this BEFORE you begin searching for the perfect RV is important. Most people skip right over this step and fall in love with an RV that costs more than what they can afford.

Do yourself a favor and get pre-approved for your financing first. Then, you will only spend your time looking at RVs that you know will fit into your budget.

B. Know What You Want to Buy Before the RV Show

There are so many RVs on the market today, from Million Dollar Class A motorhomes to tiny teardrop trailers. It’s truly amazing to us how many different types and styles of RVs exist today. So, take some time and decide which RV is best for you, your family, and your budget.

Once you decide which RV is best for you, educate yourself by visiting dealerships and searching for prices on the internet. Try to become as knowledgeable as you can about the RV and available options and features for the RV. 

This will help to prepare you to strike your best deal at the RV show. If you don’t educate yourself – how will you know a good deal if you see one?

C. Rent an RV BEFORE You Buy One

Another step most people miss is to rent a similar RV model from Outdoorsy.com.

This service allows RV owners to rent their RV to people like you and me for a short period of time. It’s kind of like an Airbnb for RVs.

Renting a similar RV to the one you’re interested in buying is a great way to make sure that you are making the best buying decision possible. You can take the RV out for a week or a weekend and try it out!

Susan and I did this before we bought our first RV, and it saved us thousands of dollars! We learned exactly what we liked and didn’t like about that style of RV. So when we bought our RV, it was perfect for us. This is why we ALWAYS recommend renting BEFORE you buy.

There’s really no better way to decide if a particular RV is right for you. Prices start at about $40/night for a small trailer and up for large luxury coaches.

D. Enroll in an RV Buying Course

Some RV Shows have seminars about how to buy an RV or how to decide which RV is best for you. There is actually some good info in these seminars and sometimes they are free.

Another fantastic option for deciding what type of RV to buy and how to buy an RV is to enroll in an RV Buying Course. There are many RV courses on the market but we only recommend one.

We only recommend the video courses offered by RV Education 101. Why? Because we have taken them ourselves and compared to other courses out there we feel that the RV Education 101 courses are by far the best.

Pro Tip:

The How to Buy the Right RV & Save Thousands Video Training Program is an outstanding training course for understanding the entire buying process. The instructor, Mark Polk, is a true veteran in the RV industry. He has worked as an RV salesperson, RV sales manager, and RV finance and insurance manager.

Mark will guide you through the entire purchase process to ensure you make the right RV purchase decision for you while saving you thousands of dollars in the process. You will even learn about how to get the best deal on an extended warranty service plan.

You will save way more than you will pay for the training course so you just can’t go wrong. Just click below to learn more about How To Save Thousands On Your RV Purchase training program!

RV Show Tips and Advice RV Education 101

11. Buy A Used RV at the RV Show

Most folks go to the RV show to see the newest RVs on the market along with all of the latest features, floor plans, and technologies. But did you know you can also purchase used RVs at the RV show? Well, you can!

At some RV shows the RV dealerships will have some used RVs on hand and available for sale. And if not they will have pictures of used RVs that are also for sale. Many of these will also be at show-discounted prices too! The dealership’s main objective is to sell you the right RV and for some people, that means a used RV.

We always recommend buying a used RV rather than buying a new RV because of depreciation. So, if you can strike a great deal on a used RV at the RV show – why not go for it!

Check out our article called The Pros and Cons of Owning an RV to learn if owning an RV is right for you!

12. Expect Crowded RVs at the RV Show

Arial photo og the Hershey RV Show
Be prepared to share RVs with other show-goers, especially new and popular models

There will be very few times that you will be by yourself in an RV at the RV Show unless you go on a weekday or first thing on the weekend. Most of the time, there are thousands of people there. And on the weekends, you may find yourself surrounded by other groups of people attending the RV show, too.

One of our top tips for attending an RV show is to accept that there are going to be crowds. Be courteous and kind to your fellow RV enthusiasts. In our experience, there is always a jerk or two in the crowd but we find that most people are friendly, helpful, and able to get along.

13. Talk to Your Fellow RVers

When you are at the show and it’s crowded, you might as well find a way to get along with everyone there. But you can also use the crowd to your advantage.

Where else can you meet so many people in one place who are willing to share their RV experience, knowledge, and know-how?

We love asking other people what they like and don’t like about RVs. We always learn what we hadn’t thought of before about the design or features of an RV. Your fellow RVers can be a wealth of information.

14. Talk to Industry Reps

Almost every manufacturer of RVs and RV products and parts has industry or factory reps on hand at the RV show. These Industry Reps have extensive training about how RVs and RV products and parts are manufactured.

And every one of them that we have met over the years is a true RV enthusiast. So, for example, if you want to know how an RV is insulated, how much an RV can tow, and which type of hitch is best, the industry experts can tell you the details. The industry reps are awesome if you have very specific questions.

15. Talk to the RV Salespeople

The RV salespeople are also a wealth of information at RV shows. Now if you are like me you probably have a tendency to shy away from talking to salespeople. But in actuality, they also know a ton of stuff about RVs.

And they also know and understand the sales process, financing, and trade-in values. Yes, they are there to sell you an RV. But most of them are smart enough to know that if they help you out today, someday you might be a customer who is ready to buy.

16. Test Drive an RV at the RV Show!

I never knew you could test drive an RV at the RV show until I sort of brought it up as a joke with one of the salespeople. I was then informed that I could test drive an RV right at the show because most of the manufacturers kept RVs in a parking area designated for test drives.

So, even though you can’t drive the exact RV you are considering at the show, you can test drive one that is pretty close.

And, you can also test drive the actual RV you are buying after the RV show. We highly recommend before the sales paperwork is finalized that you can go for a ride.

Check out our article called Is RV Driving School Worth the Money? to learn your options for learning to drive an RV correctly.

Final Thoughts About Attending An RV Show

RV shows are a fantastic way to see all the latest and greatest RVs and products all in one place. A weekend at an RV show can be an informative fun experience or long lines and frustration depending on your planning.

Large RV shows are small cities that can be overwhelming if you go in blind. By taking into consideration these tips for attending an RV show you can make the most of your visit.

We hope that our 16 tips for attending an RV show will help you get the most out of your next RV show!

What has been your experience at RV shows? Do you have any tips for smoothly navigating these events? Let us know in the comments!

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Mike Scarpignato – Bio

Mike Scarpignato created RVBlogger.com over five years ago in 2018 to share all we have learned about RV camping.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman with decades of experience tent camping and traveling in his 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest Class C RV and 2021 Thor Challenger Class A motorhome.

We attend RV Shows and visit RV dealerships all across the country to tour and review drivable motorhomes and towable trailers to provide the best evaluations of these RVs in our blog articles and YouTube videos.

We are 3/4-time RVers who created RVBlogger.com to provide helpful information about all kinds of RVs and related products, gear, camping memberships, tips, hacks and advice.

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger at an RV Show touring reviewing and rating RVs

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