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You’ve decided to purchase your first or next RV, but where do you buy it? When is the best time to buy it? With the increasing popularity of RV’s, there is no shortage of dealerships to choose from. However, how do you pick the right one? Here are 6 must-haves when choosing an RV dealership.
Location plays a significant role when choosing an RV dealership. You’ll want to select a dealer that is located at least somewhat close to home. You may need to make multiple trips to the dealer between the purchase transaction and taking possession of your unit.
In addition to the purchase process, you want to select a dealer that is located close by for interactions after the purchase as well. Even if you choose the perfect RV, inevitably you’ll have an issue or two arise that will need to be checked out by the dealer. If you have to drive a long way to take the RV in, it’s going to make it much more difficult for you to get those small issues taken care of.
Proximity to home isn’t the only thing you should consider when it comes to location. Since you’ll be towing a trailer on many occasions when you visit the dealership, think about how difficult it is to access the location. Is the dealership located in a high traffic area that requires a U-turn to get into the lot?
Try to opt for a dealership that has a lot of space and is not in a very congested part of town. This will make things much easier on yourself for future visits.
You’ll definitely want to choose an RV dealership that has its own service department. Make sure the service department can perform routine maintenance as well as major repairs. If you have a problem with your RV, you need to be able to take it to a professional for diagnosis and repair.
In addition to repairs, you can also purchase parts and supplies through the service department at your dealership. Maybe you’ve decided that you’re going to perform your own maintenance. You can visit your dealership’s service department to pick up things like roof conditioner, antifreeze, and other routine maintenance items. Most of the time, the folks there are also willing to talk you through how to perform these tasks on your own.
Be sure to look up some online reviews for the dealership’s service department. That can give you some insight into the quality of work they perform as well as their turnaround times. You’re bound to find a couple of bad reviews from angry customers for nearly any dealership but steer clear of the ones that are full of terrible reviews!
Performs Warranty Work
This one is particularly applicable if you are purchasing a brand-new RV, but make sure the dealership you choose performs warranty work. Nothing would be more frustrating than having a problem with your brand-new RV and then finding out that your dealership will not repair it. Some dealerships will only perform warranty work on RV’s that were purchased at that specific dealership, so be sure to check before buying an RV.
In addition to the manufacturer’s warranty, many people opt to purchase an extended warranty on their camper. You’ll want to make sure that the dealership you select will perform work under your extended warranty too. Some dealerships will even lower or waive the deductible on your extended warranty if you have the work performed in their service department. Bottom line…if you purchase a new RV from a dealership, you want to be able to address issues under warranty at the same dealership.
Inventory from Different Manufacturers
In order to have the most choices available for your purchase, you should choose an RV dealership that carries multiple brands. Limiting yourself to only one manufacturer will also limit the available models and floor plans. Having models from various manufacturers in inventory will also allow you to compare build quality between different lines easily.
A dealership that carries different manufacturers’ products is also probably around to stay. When limited to only one product lineup, a dealer’s business could be severely hindered by potential changes to that lineup. However, the diversity of manufacturers allows a larger dealership to continue operations even when one manufacturer has issues.
While not an absolute necessity, it is a bonus if you can find a dealership with an attached campground for your shakedown trip. A shakedown trip is a short camping trip away from home that allows you to test your new RV fully. Being next door to your dealership for this trip is the perfect scenario. This way, you can easily pick up any adapters, plugs, hoses, or anything else that you may have forgotten.
You should treat your shakedown trip just like a real camping trip. Try to test everything out and run through your checklists just like you usually would. Use the appliances, run the A/C, and fill up all your holding tanks. If you run into issues, you can tow the trailer right over to the dealership and have them fix your problem before you go on a long journey.
It may seem obvious, but customer service is a vital part of your dealership experience. Make sure when choosing an RV dealership that its customer service is up to par before doing business with them. Remember that the way you are treated while considering buying from them is likely to be the best you’ll ever be treated there! Their service rarely improves after they’ve made the sale.
Observe how you are treated when you walk in and begin shopping around the lot. Walk over to the service department to observe some interactions between RV owners and the service team. A good dealership should greet you with a smile and be happy to answer all your questions. Avoid the ones who treat you like a problem and rush to get away from you.
By following this list of must-haves, you can select the best RV dealership for your next purchase or service visit. Establishing a great relationship with your dealer can go a long way toward a great overall experience with camping and RV’s. Your dealership should be there to help you, and you want to make sure that you get the most out of their services.
Avoiding Passport America? Why The RV Membership Is Worth It
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- What is Passport America
- Other Memberships
- Stop Wasting Money on Unnecessary Memberships!
What is Passport America
Passport America is one of the top-rated discount camping clubs, offering a whopping 50% discount at almost 1800 campgrounds in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
So, if you like to stay in RV parks or resorts while on the road and like being flexible. This membership is a good idea for you.
One of the best features is that you can use their free mobile app, go to their website, and check out their camping directory even before you sign up. You’ll be able to see current prices, features, pictures, and any restrictions on the discount. There is also a trip planning feature (but we prefer using RV Trip Wizard).
On the downside, many of the campgrounds don’t give the full discount, or don’t offer it during holidays or certain days of the week, or don’t give the reduced rate at all except during off-peak times. The length of your stay is generally limited to a week or two.
Passport America Membership Includes
The membership includes between 5% and 50% discounts to nightly camping rates at over 1800 campgrounds nationwide.
RV America Magazine
There are four issues a year; articles are written by RVers for RVers, with puzzles, recipes, and product information, as well as stories on travel and the RV lifestyle.
Access to Caravans & Rallies!
Some RVers, whether new or experienced, like handing over the planning and scheduling duties to someone else, especially for a major trip. And they also love traveling in a group and making new friends. If that sounds like you, then sign up for one of the rallies or caravans.
Passport America rallies take place in one location and last about a week: the fee to take part covers camping costs, many of the meals, entertainment, and tours.
A Passport America caravan can be for two to six weeks and will cover an entire section of the country. It will include all historical sites, monuments, and attractions in that area. Caravans are a terrific adventure and a great way to make sure you get to see everything there is to see. The cost covers many meals, admission to live events, entertainment, camping fees, and tours. If you tried to plan all this on your own, it would take hours, and you’d be sure to miss things.
Yearly membership cost
The annual membership cost is only $44! Since the average nightly rate for campgrounds is around $50 across the U.S. it will only take an average of 2 nights to make this membership worthwhile.
This membership varies based on the park but is known for its 50% discount. It can be a little confusing at first since each campground sets up its own policies. Once you become familiar with it, you’ll be able to see the restrictions easily when looking through the directory on the app or hardcopy camping directory.
Number of participating campgrounds
The number is always changing but there are around 1800 participating campgrounds nationwide in Passport America right now. This is one of the larger discount programs behind Good Sam but has one of the best discounts.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely! At $44 a year, this membership is extremely easy to recoup the cost. Just a two night stay at any 50% off campground will start to save you more money than the membership costs.
Are the campgrounds easy to find?
We use the Allstays Pro on our computer or the Allstays Camp and RV app to filter campgrounds across the United States & Canada based on membership. The picture above shows the number of options you have. The Allstays Pro website allows us not only to filter for Passport America parks though but our other campground memberships as well.
They also have their own app and physical campground directory that showcases all the parks including discounts and restrictions.
Is Passport America Right for You?
The low cost and high discount make this membership a must-have for anyone who camps more than 3 nights a year.
Passport America is a great way to augment other RV clubs. It pairs really well with Thousand Trails to help fill in those areas where there are no Thousand Trails campground. We use it (with Harvest Hosts) for that exact reason.
If you are the extrovert type who wants to meet people on the road, consider a Boondockers Welcome membership.
Looking for a little more community on the road? Escapees RV Club has cultivated one of the best RV communities in its members.
Plan your trip and save money staying at campgrounds where you get discounts using RV Trip Wizard.
Need help picking the right campground membership for your travel style? Sign up for our free RV club e-mail course below.
7 Unique Types of RVs: Which is Right For You?
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Life on the road is an exciting adventure, whether you are taking a short road trip or full-timing it. There are tons of decisions to make about your adventures, but one of the most important choices is what type of RV you’re going to buy.
The type of RV that you buy is going to depend on a lot of factors, including where you’re headed, who you’re traveling with, and the kinds of accommodations that you want to have. Take a look at this list of the different types of RVs out there so that you can best decide which one you want to buy.
Types of RVs – Motorhomes
Class A Motorhomes
These motorhomes come in either gas or diesel fuel-powered. Diesel-powered Class A motorhomes are also known as diesel pushers. These RVs are luxurious and large, making them a great home away from home, or even a great full-time home. With a Diesel engine, they typically run longer, but the downside is that they tend to be more expensive. They are a little quieter when going down the road since the engine is in the back, making for a more comfortable ride.
The Class A Gas RV is large and luxurious as well, offering another great option for a home on wheels. They are typically filled with essential living appliances such as refrigerators and washers and dryers, and many even have slide-outs, providing extra living space when parked. The engines are normally in the front between the driver and passenger so it can be a little loud and warm when driving.
If you like the idea of a motorhome but have a motorcycle or some other toys you would like to bring then a Toy Hauler motorhome is the right choice. There are only a few models available since it reduces your living space even more than a traditional motorhome.
People who purchase a Class A motorhome type of RV also normally have a smaller vehicle to get around the local area. They are normally towed behind the motorhome on all 4 wheels (flat towed), with 2 wheels up on a dolly, or in an enclosed car trailer. Sometimes a passenger will drive the small car so they do not need to tow it behind the motorhome.
Class B Motorhome
These are camper vans, smaller than other types of RVs, and as easy to drive as a regular automobile. Typically measuring between 20-25 feet in length, camper vans have creative interiors that provide unique ways to store and hide living essentials such as swiveling chairs, fold-up sinks, and seats that convert into beds. With the limited space, the bathrooms are either not included or are wet baths. The smaller size allows for greater mobility and freedom on the road. You can normally fit in most parking lot spaces.
Class C Motorhome
Smaller than a Class A but larger than a Class B, the Class C Motorhome includes a distinguishing “cab-over” that provides a bed or storage. These RVs usually have normal features such as bathrooms, kitchens, and slide outs. These are a great middle of the road option. They have more liveable space to spread out in than a class B but you don’t have the major stress of a larger class A. They drive more like a truck than a bus so the learning curve is smaller.
Types of RVs – Fifth Wheels
Fifth Wheel Camper
A fifth-wheel trailer(sometimes spelled 5th wheel) is a towable RV with a raised section in the front that enables the RV to be towed with a hitch connection in the bed of a heavy-duty truck. The raised section is typically used as a bedroom with a full-sized bed or some floorplans have a kitchen or living room. They have a number of slide outs and are chock full of the usual home amenities with large living areas, making this type of RV a great choice for large families and full-time RVers.
Toy Hauler Fifth Wheel
Also known as sport-utility RVs, Toy Haulers were built with the intention of hauling outdoor motor toys such as motorcycles, four-wheelers, kayaks, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, golf carts, and really any outdoor toy. The large cargo area in the rear ensures that whatever is being hauled is secure and accessible, with doors that also act as a loading ramp. These RVs also include living space and home amenities, making them great for outdoor enthusiasts to travel in. Like the normal fifth wheel, they also connect to a hitch in the truck bed.
Types of RVs – Trailers
This is one of the most common types of RVs. Travel trailers are towable RVs that are connected to the tow vehicle by a hitch that extends from the front of the trailer. There is an abundance of floor plans available so that travelers can choose the living space that best suits their needs. They can come with many slide outs for more space and are very easy to detach.
Expandable Travel Trailer
The expandable travel trailer is essentially a combination of a traditional travel trailer and a pop-up camper. They come in a number of sizes and with various amenities, but the pop-ups that are included provide more room than a regular travel trailer.
These types of RVs have a hard base and canvas sides that pop up for a place to sleep. They are easy to be towed by any vehicle, they’re affordable, and they can fit a small family. Pop Up campers are a great choice for families who want to camp but are looking for a little bit of added comfort.
Teardrop trailers are tiny trailers that are pulled, provide a place to sleep and some storage, but don’t have room for anything else. For those who just want a place to sleep but are content with using the campground bathroom and cooking outdoors, a teardrop trailer is a great choice.
The truck camper is a smaller, removable RV that fits in the bed of an existing heavy-duty truck. They allow you to use your existing truck and camp almost anywhere. They can have landing feet so you are able to drop the camper off and go exploring without it. The can have a slide or two and make for a spacious area for one or two people who like to move quickly. Although small, they have everything you need to be self-contained including kitchens and bathrooms.
The Most Informative Q&A with Campground Membership Outlet
One of the most common topics we get asked about is our Thousand Trails Membership. It’s understandable since the memberships tend to be pretty complicated. If you are still undetermined on which membership might be right for you, check out our blog post that breaks it down based on your camping style. Add on the fact that you can buy a Thousand Trails Membership used and people really get confused! Do I get the same benefits? Will my memberships be flagged as used? Is buying used actually better?
Getting Our Questions Answered
We had all of the same questions before we bought our used Thousand Trails Membership. We are so thankful we found Kim from Campground Membership Outlet when we did! She took the time to answer all of our questions and is clearly well informed about all of the memberships.
She was so professional, knowledgeable, and thorough our entire working relationship that we now recommend her to everyone looking at buying a used Thousand Trails Membership.
Personally, buying a used Thousand Trails Membership saved us over $5,000 versus buying new. In fact, you can’t even get the tier we have new anymore! We didn’t know about the additional benefits we can get from buying a used membership until Kim sat down and went over it all with us. We know Thousand Trail Memberships can be a very confusing topic so we asked Kim to sit down with us via Skype. She happily agreed!
In our chat with Kim, we were able to go over some of the different used Thousand Trails Membership options, compare buying new vs used, review other memberships she offers, pricing, and so much more! We hope you find this information helpful and as always, feel free to comment with any questions.
35 Underrated RV YouTube Channels You Should Already Be Watching
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- 35. Embracing Detours
- 34. Wandering Weekends
- 33. Traveling Robert
- 32. Big Truck, Big RV
- 31. Love Your RV
- 30. New State Nomads
- 29. Eat See RV
- 28. You, Me & the RV
- 27. Finding Our Someday
- 26. Brazen Brits
- 25. The Motorhome Experiment
- 24. Project Trek
- 23. Always On Liberty
- 22. Crazy Family Adventure
- 21. Irene Iron Fitness
- 20. Fit Two Travel
- 19. RV with Tito DIY
- 18. All About RVs
- 17. RV Lifestyle
- 16. We’re the Russos
- 15. Adventure Endeavor
- 14. The Glamping Guys
- 13. Enjoy The Journey.Life
- 12. I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing
- 11. Long Long Honeymoon
- 10. Fate Unbound
- 9. Keep Your Daydream
- 8. RV Love
- 7. Less Junk More Journey
- 6. Changing Lanes RV
- 5. The Freedom Theory
- 4. RV Geeks
- 3. Mortons on the Move
- 2. Drivin’ and Vibin’
- 1. Getaway Couple
There are so many RV YouTubers now that it doesn’t matter if you are interested in a life in a van, trailer, motorhome, full time RVing couples
or fifth wheel owners. There is something for everyone.
Below is the list of our favorite channels in no particular order.
Some of these channels we watched religiously before hitting the road, some we have met while on the road, and others have become good friends!
Let us know in the comments your favorite!
Embracing Detours is a couple that decided to break free from the conventional thinking of what life should be to live a more adventurous and fulfilling life on the road. They are currently traveling the U.S. in their customized 4×4 diesel van and a 30′ Airstream travel trailer.
Cory and Brooke have full-time jobs, a home to take care of, two small children (Townley and Beckett), and a rescue pup (Tallulah). While they aren’t full-time RVers, they would like to inspire you to just get out and go! Follow their adventures as they take a break from the daily grind and explore the U.S. in their Grand Design Imagine 2800BH.
33. Traveling Robert
Robert shares his RV travel stories from the road, in the USA, and occasionally overseas. You can tell he enjoys the journey as much as the destination. He samples the local cuisine, visits the main attractions, and loves off the beaten path destinations.
Big Truck Big RV’s channel is focused on providing honest, real, and credible reviews of new Pickup trucks, SUVs, RVs, and accessories. The goal is to give the viewers a better perspective of buying as well as owning trucks and RVs.
31. Love Your RV
This channel showcases RV tips & tricks, how-tos, mods & upgrades, and reviews of RV products they personally use. Also, look for Travel Report Vlogs detailing the many cool places they explore in their RV.
30. New State Nomads
Howard and Katelyn work from home and decided to take the show on the road. They live in a 200 sq. foot RV (2019 Winnebago Navion 24D) with their two cute dogs, Piper and Ella. They are now full-time RVers and share travel tips, hacks, and how they travel the globe for cheap. In the first month of RV life, they drove their home on wheels 4000+ miles up the East Coast from Florida to Nova Scotia.
29. Eat See RV
Liz & Dennis dumped their day jobs to become location independent Real Estate Investors traveling the United States on a Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler RV. Since leaving on their grand journey, they’ve downsized to a Class B! They share some awesome tips, tricks, and best places to visiting while RVing.
28. You, Me & the RV
Phil and Stacy are both Navy veterans who love to travel and find new adventures. After experiencing foreign ports of call during their Navy years they decided it was time to explore our great country in their 35 foot Tiffin Allegro 33AA.
Rad Power Bikes Price
The price for the Rad Power Bikes RadMini is $1,499 and that is extremely reasonable for an electric bicycle. During our research, most e-bikes were much more than this and while there is one new brand out there with a cheaper price tag, we believe the pros of Rad Power Bikes far outweigh the pros of this other brand.
In conclusion, we truly can’t say enough good things about our Rad Power Bikes. If we took our dually truck out, we never would have explored areas we have been to with our bikes. We take them around campgrounds, cities, bike trails, and even make our own e-bike beer tours with them. Above all, we love to recommend places to visit in the U.S. and now you expect us to be exploring much more on our Rad Power Bikes. They’ve totally changed RV living for us!
How To Keep Mice Out of Your RV (For Good!)
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- Proven Methods to Keep Mice out of Your RV
- Important Warning: Don’t Use Poison!
- Old Wives’ Tales to Keep Mice out of Your RV
- Irish Soap – The rumor is to place unwrapped bars of Irish Soap around your RV. Apparently, mice do not like the smell so they will stay away.
- Dryer Sheets – We’ve heard that placing dryer sheets on the floor will keep mice out of your RV. The story behind this is that mice use their sense of smell to navigate back the way they came. Therefore, the dryer sheets are too strong for them and they can’t find their way back.
- Steel Wool – Now, steel wool almost made the Proven Methods list but we heard too many failed stories to put it there. The method is to plug up any holes with steel wool as mice don’t like metal. If we were going to try any of the old wives’ tales, this would be the one.
- Moth Balls – This method is to place mothballs around your RV and in your storage compartments. We found out it’s actually illegal to use mothballs for anything other than their intended use, as they are considered a poison… and you all know how we feel about poison.
- ConclusionWhether you are a full-time RVer or putting your RV away for the winter, mice are always unwelcome! Don’t underestimate the lengths these critters will go through to get in either. We recently had mice in our RV and could not figure out how they were getting in. After trying a few different methods we eventually caught three! Below is a list of the proven methods on how to keep mice out of your RV.
Proven Methods to Keep Mice out of Your RV
These methods have been proven to keep mice out of your RV. These tried and true techniques are popular in the RV community.
These can include snap traps, electrical traps, and glue traps. While I am not against killing a mouse that has entered your RV, I am against glue traps. They prolong death and some mice might even chew off their own limbs to get out. That’s just sad and gross.
Catch and Release Traps
If you do not want to kill a mouse but are interested in kicking it out of your RV, then catch and release traps are for you.
We use catch and release traps when we are boondocking. We used this method to evict two of the three mice that were in our RV (the third was stubborn and we resorted to a snap trap for him, RIP little guy). Just be sure to release the mouse far away from your RV otherwise they just might come back.
You can take preventative measures by blocking all of the holes, gaps, and cracks into your RV with mouse foam sealant. Be sure to hunt down every gap in your RV, as mice can fit through a hole the size of a dime!
If you’d prefer a more holistic method then a peppermint spray is a good choice. Spray this product outside to keep mice out of your RV. You can also take peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls and place them all around your RV.
Hire an Exterminator
If all else fails, resort to hiring an exterminator. Allowing a mouse problem to go on for too long can cause serious damage to your RV and can end up costing you a ton in repairs. If you can’t keep mice out of your RV yourself it’s best to bring in an expert.
Important Warning: Don’t Use Poison!
I’d like to step on my soapbox real quick: we are against all poison options when it comes to pest control. Mice are food for owls, coyotes, cats, mountain lions, and others. When you poison a mouse you are possibly poisoning any of these animals. In California, there is a real problem of mountain lions dying from mouse and rat poison. This particular example is what led us to become aware of this issue and advocate against poison.
Old Wives’ Tales to Keep Mice out of Your RV
With that said let’s jump into the old wives’ tales of how to keep mice out of your RV. We can’t speak to them ourselves since we opted not to try any of them. That’s not to say they haven’t worked for some but there’s no guarantee they will work for you.
Those are all of the proven methods we know of to keep mice out of your RV. Ever since we got our Battle Born Batteries installed we try to boondock as much as possible, which means we are more likely to encounter unwelcome guests.
In our opinion, there’s nothing better than a good old fashion trap. We prefer to use catch and release traps but will resort to snap traps if they refuse to vacate the premises. What methods have worked for you to keep mice out of your RV?
5 Powerful Reasons Why RVers Need Pet Insurance Immediately
Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed a few dog fights in campgrounds since we started RVing. One time, we watched the frazzled dog owners pack up and take their fur baby to the vet. We felt so bad and really hoped they had pet insurance to help with the bill. The last thing you want to worry about is money when you’re trying to make sure your pet is okay. To prevent this if your traveling with a dog, we firmly believe all RVers need pet insurance on the road.
At the end of Day 1 we were able to head back into the shop and take a peek at what was done. We saw our old leaf springs/shackles as well as the new Independent Suspension that was built that day. Seeing them side by side really showed the difference in quality.