Lucinda Belden is the Program Director for MyRVRadio and a travel writer and advisor who has lived the RV lifestyle since 2019. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RVing, working full-time while traveling, traveling with toys, and unique location experiences.
Thank goodness the RV industry is not a one-size-fits-all resource. When you’re wondering “What is the best RV for me?” it does create a multi-dimensional search to find the right rig. Here’s how to find the right rig for you.
Questions to Help You Find the Best RV
There are many aspects to what makes an RV match your needs. You can ask RV friends for advice. You can do research on the best RVs available. But you still need a decision process. How can you find your best motorhome, travel trailer or van? Here is how my husband and I came up with our ideal RV.
What is your RV Lifestyle?
Do you plan on living full-time in your RV? Or will you use it during certain seasons or weekends only. Using an RV full-time or longer periods of time may mean you need larger holding tanks. Storage space needs will vary based on the supplies you need. How much you will need to carry with you will depend on the length of your getaways.
Who will you travel with in your RV?
Traveling solo is very different from traveling with a family of five or for a couple. Not only sleeping arrangements to consider but food storage areas, meal prepping, packing clothes and bathroom supplies. Will you be bringing pets? Then you will need to consider where their supplies go. Where they will hang out in the rig?
Where do you want to RV travel?
Are you planning on seeing all the state and national parks or older parts of the United States? Infrastructure can be outdated in some areas. That can mean low height overpasses, bridges with weight limits and parks with RV length limitations. In general, know the places you will want to frequent most. Keep your rig selection within those restrictions. Or else you will find yourself barred entry by your own RV choice.
What is your work or hobbies?
Will you still work while you RV? Do you have a hobby that will require space to continue pursuit? You may not want to fold up a bed or table every day, so you have the space to get your job done. We haul motorcycles with us AND we work full-time. As a result, we went with a 44-foot toy hauler. We also knew this was our priority over getting into state parks at this time in our lives.
What is your budget?
The best rig won’t leave you in with a tight budget. Plan out a budget before you narrow down your RV selection. Are you going to have a monthly payment? Where will you park your RV? Will you boondock, stay at high-end resorts, or move around a lot? These may not relate directly to your choice, but they are things to consider because they will affect your monthly costs. And that can affect what RV you can afford. Keep in mind too that you will have regular repairs and maintenance on your RV just like you do in a brick and mortar. Be realistic about your future monthly expenses so you can select the best RV.
Time for Research
After you have carefully reviewed all the questions above and how you will answer them, create a chart. Across the top of the chart list out the makes and models that meet your needs. You can have some wiggle room by listing makes and models that ‘almost’ meet your needs. There is a reason the rig is appealing to you for some reason.
Start with no more than fifteen RVs. Down the left side of your chart list the features of the rig that are highest priority for you. Try not to list more than ten features. This will help you do cross comparisons between the brands based on the features you need. For example, if a large bathroom is a priority, you can compare sizes across the brands you are looking at.
As you go through the chart, begin eliminating ones that don’t match your needs. Scratch out those that don’t have high priority features. Then narrow it down to five favorites.
View your choices in person
This is usually the first step people do but it really should be your last. It is easy to get swayed by looks, price tags and salespeople. If you go to a dealership prepared with what works for you, it will save you a lot of headaches. It will also be extremely helpful if you are looking to purchase used. It is important to visually step through models you like.
We immediately removed one rig off the list when we walked through. In the kitchen, ALL the cabinets were above my reach. I would have spent the rest of my time living in that RV having to use a step stool. No thanks! It is features like this you will have no idea on paper that it just won’t work for you or your lifestyle.
The Best RV Grows with You
There will still be a lot of options and variables when you have it narrowed down to a handful of makes and models. It is important to go ahead and make a final decision. The rig you choose now may not be the one you need three years, five years, ten years from now. Our lives changes, we grow. It is important your RV can grow with you, or you may find yourself choosing your RV all over again. Get started on your RV lifestyle now without getting stuck in making the ‘perfect’ choice and going nowhere.