Sometimes it seems like every other vehicle you pass on the highway is an RV. In fact, RV vacations are at an all-time high and, with so many RV rental options hitting the market, more people are thinking about trying the RV lifestyle than ever before.
Find out what the buzz is all about at an RV show. It’s one of the easiest ways to get the big picture, meet experienced RVers, and check out everything from luxury Class As to tiny house-like camper vans. The RV community’s passion for travel is contagious and they’re eager to share their knowledge. There are shows across the country all year long, so pick one that’s close to home to find out if the RV lifestyle is right for you.
Tour Cool Rvs
Class Cs, fifth wheels, tent trailers – all the RV models can make your head spin. At shows, models and manufacturers are grouped together so you can familiarize yourself with the options and focus in on floor plans and features that appeal to you most. Knowledgeable dealer and manufacturer reps are available to answer all your questions. Make it clear that you’re window shopping, like most people who attend a show, and you can browse all day without pressure to make a purchase.
Pick Up Camping Hacks
Many RVers started off as tent campers, and many continue to combine RV vacations with camping and glamping. Attend a few of the seminars offered periodically throughout the day to improve your outdoor skills, with topics like campsite set up and campfire cooking. Walk through the exhibitor area to chat with campground owners, sample foods prepared with the latest camp cooking equipment, and shop clothing and gear designed for travel and outdoor adventure.
Break Down RV Terminology
FHU, 30 amp, grey water – RVing comes with a host of confusing names and acronyms and many only make sense when you’re inside a rig. Seek out staff and ask them for an overview of the outside compartments, including water, waste, and electrical systems. Some of the biggest benefits of RVing come from understanding and using these features.
Play With Outdoor Toys
Manufacturers usually roll out their latest equipment at RVt shows. If you love to hike, bike, paddle, and climb, make sure you allow time to visit gear supplier booths. Check out space saving novelties like inflatable kayaks and folding bikes, and traditional favorites like fishing poles and running gear that might add new activities to your camping weekends.
Learn the Tricks of Digital Nomads
More and more companies are hiring remote employees, a perfect fit for campers and RVers hoping to extend their campground stays into the work week. WiFi-equipped campgrounds mean that you can log in from just about anywhere while the kids play outside. Most shows offer seminars on working from an RV and technology exhibitor booths are staffed with experts who can talk you through connecting on the road.
Meet the KOA Family
Look for KOA’s familiar yellow, black, and red sign in the exhibitor area and stop by to pick up a campground directory. Booths can be found at many RV shows are are staffed with friendly campground owners who are ready to share everything they know about the largest campground network in the country. Never stayed at a KOA? Be sure to ask about KOA Journeys, KOA Holidays and KOA Resorts to find out which one might be the best fit for your next trip.
Find RV Rentals
After the show, the next step to exploring the world of RVs is staying in one. Check out your options by talking with exhibitors from rental companies like Outdoorsy and Cruise America. Be sure to ask if they might be offering any show discounts that would make a weekend test drive even more enticing.
Discover Great Camping and Glamping Spots
One of the biggest perks of attending an RV show is finding great new campgrounds and parks to explore. If you don’t have enough time to stop by every destination booth, pick campgrounds in your top vacation states. You can also check the exhibitor list, usually posted online before the show, to research the campgrounds offering your favorite amenities, like a pool, playground, mini-golf, dog park, and glamping accommodations like treehouses and cabins.
If travel and food writer Ann Gibson isn’t hiking, backpacking, paddling, biking, running, or skiing, she’s most likely in her RV, writing about the sports she loves and the best destinations to enjoy the outdoors. She splits her time between home base in the Carolinas and the life of a digital nomad, traveling, writing, visiting, and volunteering in America’s parks with her husband and two Aussies.