If you are looking to buy an RV, you need to know what to focus on. There is nothing worse than getting to an RV Dealer and forgetting everything you ever thought you wanted once you see the perfect kitchen island or a spacious outdoor kitchen. I’m going to go over some of the most important things to keep in mind when you are RV shopping and help you find the right RV
Updated August 28, 2019. This post contains affiliate links. We receive a commission for purchases made via these links.
Know Your Budget!
One of the most important things to know BEFORE you go look at
Paying out Right – You are in the fortunate position to really be able to name your price, within reason of course. Use your cash to get the price that is right for you. Don’t forget that you will also need to buy equipment before you hit the road. Find out what equipment you need here!!
Financing – When figuring out your budget, do
- Electricity (will it be included or will you need to pay separately?)
- RV Maintenance
- Tire Changes
- Roof Leaks
- Awning repair
- Tow vehicle maintenance*
- Camping memberships
- Initial equipment when you first hit the road (Get the practical list here)
*A word on tow vehicle maintenance – This one has really negatively affected us. Our tuck has cost us so much, a lot of money that we didn’t have. We did not factor this in. We had a small emergency fund and it totally got used up in our very first maintenance job and before we had saved up for the next one, we had another issue. So please, keep way more in your savings account than you think you will ever need.
Now that you know your budget, let’s move onto the next thing to focus on…
Why are You Buying This RV?
This may sound like a weird thing to ask yourself. You may be thinking “Jessica, I want to go RVing, that’s why I’m buying one.”
Well, yeah, but what kind of RV Travel are you planning on doing?
The type of travel will affect the type, floorplan, and the size of the RV you wanna buy.
Now, I’m not going to be doing an exhaustive essay here on types of RV travel and matching the perfect RV, but I will be sharing a few RV lifestyles and the some of the RV types and floorplans that may be best
Ready? Here we go!
This category applies if you are leaving your
- You want to travel to accompany a spouse that travels for work
- You are RVing and stationary due to financial issues
When looking for a home replacement RV, I recommend going bigger and looking for models that have more of what you would find in a regular house:
- Residential Fridge
- Large Pantry
- Washer/Dryer hookup
- Multiple bedrooms/bathrooms
- This is especially the case if you are traveling with kids
Since you won’t be traveling as much, you need a large space to be able to stretch out and live. Also, you don’t have to worry about fitting into national parks or other campgrounds. Once you find the right place, you will have plenty of time to find the next campground to accommodate your large rig.
Stealth or Urban Boondocking
You want to be able to stay in major cities and park along the streets without anyone knowing? Get a small RV, truck camper, or Van.
Truck Camper Anyone?
Robert and I recently toured a few truck campers and were totally blown away. They had slides, full baths, queen-sized beds, dinettes, couches, kitchens with refrigerators, 3-burner stoves, ovens, and microwaves. We even visited with a family of 3 that RV full time in their truck camper with their dog!!
The Lance 1172 even has standard sized water tanks:
Freshwater= 42 gallons Greywater= 35 gallons
- Blackwater = 35 gallon
What about a Class B?
Some of these are smaller than our
The Ultimate Roadtrip
Your ideal RV life is getting from coast to coast and everything in between; hitting all the must-see places along your route in 547.5 days or less.
While you can probably buy any size RV, I recommend getting something shorter than 35ft. Why this magical number? Well, it all has to do with the amount of big rig friendly places that are out there. Nearly every park can accommodate a large rig, but they have a limited amount of these “big rig friendly” sites. So you cannot be as spontaneous with a larger rig.
If you are a planner, booking months in advance and keeping to a schedule, then the size of your rig may not be as important.
We chose our travel trailer with this in mind. We wanted something that would be small enough that we wouldn’t have issues finding last-minute spots, but not so small that we would go crazy if we had to be stationary longer than a month.
You are interested in keeping all the creature comforts of home and enjoy hitting up RV Parks and campgrounds along your route.
Fifth Wheels are a favorite with full-timing families. Even the smaller ones will have those tall ceilings…great for tall folks and give you extra storage in higher places, and just make the place look more airy and open.
And of course, you can get larger rigs for your family. These are just some examples that I found during my searches.
Since you don’t have a bunch of kids with you, although you may pick up a guest or two along your travels, you don’t have to worry about guest beds. Enjoy that open living space!
Class As can have everything and anything you can ever need or want. You can get some lovely plush interiors with washer/dryers, residential fridges, more than 1 bath, and plenty of room to stretch and relax. Attach a small tow vehicle and you won’t have to worry about exploring tight urban areas during your travels.
If you don’t want to worry about an RV with an engine, check out a fifth wheel. There are so many different ones to choose from, it’s easy to find one that is in your budget and has all those comforts you want while exploring the US, Canada, and even Mexico.
Boondocking or Dry Camping
There are some folks out there that HATE RV parks and really just want to be out there in nature and large spaces. Are you one of them?
When I first started learning about boondocking, I thought you needed a smaller rig, preferably with only one AC unit, and something that was just less fancy.
Then I met folks that actually went boondocking. I quickly realized that the size and type of RV varied greatly.
I think the biggest shock was learning that Always on Liberty boondocked in their 40ft+ fifth wheel (they have since downsized). Then I found out their tank capacities:
- Freshwater = 90 gallons
- Greywater = 90 gallons
- Blackwater = 45 gallons
When you don’t have access to water or sewer, these numbers are really important. Yes, you still have to conserve water, but not as much as we do in our little Grey Wolf.
Also, a larger rig like this will allow you to add a lot of solar to the roof without negatively affecting weight. Always on Liberty have a 990 watts solar package on their rig. So no need to worry about cranking up your generator all the time, and you can definitely stay comfortable without being tethered to electric hookup.
On the total opposite side of the spectrum, we have RV Chickadee. She exclusively boondocks in her 24ft travel trailer. Her tank capacity is:
- Freshwater = 32 gallons
- Greywater = 26 gallons
- Blackwater = 26 gallons
That’s not a ton, but it works for her. She has everything she needs and when she’s ready to get more freshwater and dump her tanks, she hooks up and finds a dumping station and freshwater.
The Possibilities are Endless!
So I really hoped I gave you some ideas of the RV types that may be right for you, depending on your budget and the type of RV travel you are planning to do.
None of this is written in stone and really, you can RV in any rig you want. After 3 years of RVing with kids and doing a combo of adventuring and stationary living, I’m very happy with the RV we purchased.
Something you may find as well is that when your travel style changes you may find yourself changing your rig out. That is perfectly fine.
There is no one answer to what you will need. Be free, be flexible, and be honest with yourself. Just save yourself some grief and keep that budget handy so you don’t blow it!