While we may be in the dead of winter, you may already be dreaming of warm summer nights by the lake or tucked peacefully into the forest with your RV. Starting around this time of year, RV shows are popping up all over the country in anticipation of the camping season ahead. On display are all of the new and fancy models, flashy new camping gear and a lot more.
Kate and I are very excited to be attending Canada’s largest RV Show – the Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show from February 27 – March 1. Not only are we excited to get to check out all of the new models of RVs on display, but we’re also excited to announce that we’ll be presenting on the Havelock Country Jamboree Stage multiple times over the course of the RV show talking about our full-time RV lifestyle. We’ll be talking about our journey into the full-time RV lifestyle in hopes of inspiring others to consider this alternative lifestyle. We hope you can join us at the show.
Since we’re attending Toronto Spring Camping & RV Show, it had us thinking about how you can get the most out of attending an RV show whether it’s this RV show or one in your hometown. Since we’ve been to a few RV shows in the past we’d like to pass along some tips that can help you navigate and better experience an RV show.
When To Go To The RV Show
More often than not, RV shows take place over 3-4 days during a week. Usually, they run from Thursday or Friday through Sunday. So when should you attend? Does it really matter? In the past, we’ve found that the busiest times at RV shows tend to be Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday. With that in mind, we’d recommend visiting on Thursday (if it’s an option) or on Sundays as both days tend to be a bit quieter. Why does this matter? We found that the busier an RV show is when you visit the less likely you’re going to get the most out of the show. For instance, say there are a couple of models of RVs that you particularly want to check out but once you get to the show you quickly discover every model seems to have endless amounts of people coming in and out of the RVs. This can make it difficult to fully check out the RVs and make it difficult to find a representative to talk to if you wanted to. The same goes for the booths with all the cool new camping gear. Usually, there are large groups of people surrounding the booths making it more difficult to check out everything. Sure, a little patience can go a long way but why worry about testing your patience when you can simply go when there are fewer people there.
Attend With A Plan
Before attending an RV show, have a clear idea in mind as to why you’re attending the show. Are you just there to pass the time and look around? Are you there 100% to purchase an RV? Do you just want to see the new gadgets and toys? Whatever reason you’re attending an RV show it’s good to go in with a plan so that you know exactly what you want to learn and look at and where to find it. The best thing you can do prior to attending an RV show is to check out the RV show website and take a look at the floorplan. From that floorplan, make a detailed plan of attack of how you will navigate through the show to see exactly what you want to see. Be sure to check out the schedule for seminars and other events happening at the RV show so that you can make sure to fit them into your schedule.
Check Out The Seminars
Whether you’re just getting into RVing and camping or you’re a seasoned veteran, you should make sure to check out the various seminars at RV shows. There’s a lot of valuable information to be discovered at these seminars that you might not easily get otherwise. Usually, each RV show will have a set of expert presenters who will talk about various topics pertaining to RVing. You’ll likely learn about RV maintenance tips, how-tos and a lot more from these seminars. Check the full schedule of seminars before attending the show so you make sure you get to see the ones that are most valuable to you.
Look At The New Products, Toys and Gadgets
If you already have an RV, one of the highlights of attending an RV show can be checking out the new RV products, gadgets and toys. There are a lot of great new products being released each and every year that can make the RV lifestyle easier and more enjoyable so it’s worth checking out the vendors at the RV show to see what’s new. If you’re looking to update your current RV, you can also find a lot of interesting new gadgets that can be helpful. It’s amazing how many different RV products can be found that use Bluetooth technology these days.
Preparing To Shop For An RV
While a lot of people are simply at an RV show to simply just look at the RVs, there are a lot of people there who are seriously considering purchasing an RV. If you’re one of those people that are there with the goal in mind of buying a new RV there are a few things to consider. First, it’s best to know exactly what type of RVs and makes/models you’re interested in before attending the show. You can do some pre-show research online that will help you spend your time more efficiently once you arrive at the show. This will give you lots more time to fully inspect the details of the models you really want to check out and also more time to talk to the representatives onsite.
It’s also good to look around online at the prices of the models you’re interested in. Often, you’ll hear that RV shows have the best prices of the year. Yes, that can be true but it can also simply be a ploy to get you to attend the show. If you already know the rough price range a certain model is selling at in other locations, you’ll be able to enter negotiations a lot easier and be more likely to end up with the deal you were looking for.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re purchasing an RV at an RV show is don’t feel pressured to buy. RV salesmen have a job and sometimes they can be a bit pushy in their sales tactics. You’ll likely run into every type of salesperson at an RV show. If you don’t feel comfortable with a certain salesman, don’t hesitate to walk away. At an RV show, a salesman might use the tactic that, “you won’t get a better price than now.” That could possibly be true but if you needed a little extra time to make a decision you could likely get the same deal a week or two later by visiting the dealership directly.
Make sure if you’re buying an RV to always negotiate. Never simply purchase an RV at the listed price. There’s almost always some wiggle room. If there’s not much wiggle room in the price, you can also ask that the dealer throw in some additional products that you would likely have to buy when setting up your RV. We did this when purchasing our RV and it helped us save a few hundred bucks in products.
Here’s a full list of RV shows happening in Canada via GoRVing