Navigating the Road to RV Ownership: A Guide to Making the Right Purchase

January 16, 2024

Embarking on the journey of RVing is an exciting decision, whether you’re a first-timer or looking to upgrade your current RV. The freedom to roam, explore, and create unforgettable memories on the open road is an allure that captivates many. 


But before you hit the highway, it’s essential to make an informed decision about the type of RV that suits your needs and preferences. In this blog, we’ll explore key considerations to help you navigate the process of buying an RV based on our personal experiences of living and traveling in an RV full time for the past few years.



Step 1: Consider all the important factors 


Several factors will influence your RV purchase, and taking the time to consider them will help you make a well-informed decision to ensure you don’t end up with buyer’s remorse. 


  • Budget: Determine your budget, factoring in not just the purchase price but also ongoing expenses like RV park/campground fees, fuel, maintenance, insurance, storage, etc. It’s also important to decide if you will purchase an RV with cash or if you need to secure financing. With proper budgeting and planning, the RV lifestyle is easily attainable.


  • Travel style: Are you a weekend warrior or a full-time RVer? Do you want luxury amenities or are you comfortable with the basics? If you plan to live in your RV full time, you may want to prioritize features like storage space, comfort, and durability. For occasional use, you may focus on convenience and portability. Understanding your travel style will impact the size, amenities, and features you’ll need in your RV.


  • Number of people: Consider the number of people who will be traveling with you. This will affect the sleeping arrangements, living space, and bathroom facilities you require. Your needs as a family will vary drastically versus the needs as a couple or single person in an RV. 


  • Travel bucket list: Think about the top destinations you want to visit. Many places will require advance planning during the peak seasons. This will also impact the type of RV you choose as some may not be compatible with your desired locations. Come up with a list of your must-see locations. This will help you in deciding the best type of RV for you as well. 

Step 2: Research different RV types


The first decision you’ll face is whether to go for a new or used RV, and then you’ll need to choose between a towable RV (fifth wheel, travel travel, pop-up campers, etc) or a motorized RV (Class A, Class B or Class C). Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons.


New vs. Used


New RVs offer the latest floorplans, features, warranties, and the appeal of never having been lived in before. However, they come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, used RVs can be more budget-friendly, allowing you to save money or invest in upgrades. But they typically do not come with warranties and may have hidden issues. 


Consider your budget, willingness to handle potential repairs, and whether the latest amenities are a priority. For any used RVs, we would highly recommend having a certified RV expert do a comprehensive inspection prior to purchasing. 


Towable RV vs. Motorized RV 

When comparing towable RVs like fifth wheels and travel trailers to motorized RVs such as Class A, Class B, and Class C, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each category.

Motorhomes, encompassing Class A, B, and C, offer an integrated experience with combined living and driving spaces. Class A motorhomes, often luxurious and spacious, resemble large buses. Because they can carry more weight, they tend to have higher-end finishes and more quality construction. Class B motorhomes, more compact, are essentially camper vans that provide the least amount of space, but the most amount of travel flexibility. Class C motorhomes provide a compromise between the two at a lower price point than Class A motorhomes. These feature a distinctive over-cab sleeping area and offer more living space than Class B options, but are smaller in size and can offer better gas mileage than Class A motorhomes.


On the other hand, towable RVs offer generous interiors and the added convenience of detaching from the towing vehicle for exploration. Fifth wheels have some of the most spacious interiors and their unique hitch design enhances stability and maneuverability. Toy haulers offer a large ‘garage’ style space in the rear designed to transport ATVs, motorcycles, and other toys or can be repurposed into another living space. Travel trailers provide versatility and ease of use. They come in various sizes and styles, from compact teardrops to spacious units with multiple slide-outs. You will need a large truck to tow most of these options and use as your daily driver unless you go with a very light-weight towable RV.


When making a decision, consider factors such as your travel style, desired comfort level, and towing preferences. Ultimately, understanding the distinct features of each type will help you align your choice with your specific needs and preferences.

Step 3: Decide on an RV to purchase


Once you’ve considered all the important factors and done your research on the type of RV that you think would best fit your needs, now the fun part starts of shopping for your new RV! 


Attend an RV Show

One of the best ways to explore a wide range of makes and models in one place is by attending an RV show like the upcoming Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, Florida taking place Jan. 17-21, 2024. RV shows offer the opportunity to tour many different types of RVs, ask questions to industry experts, and even access exclusive deals. The hands-on experience allows you to get a feel for the layouts, amenities, and overall quality of various RVs. We recommend making a checklist of your must-haves and deal-breakers before attending, and take notes on the models that catch your eye.


RV dealers vs. private sellers

Shopping for an RV can take place either at a dealership or through private sellers, and each option comes with its own set of considerations. Dealerships provide the advantage of a diverse inventory, professional guidance, and often financing options. 


On the other hand, buying from a private seller may offer more room for negotiation, and they may share firsthand experiences about the RV. If the seller is open to it, you can explore financing options yourself from banks who offer it. However, it requires a more cautious approach as private sales lack the consumer protections offered by dealerships. 


Whichever route you choose, be sure to conduct thorough research, ask questions, and if buying from a private seller, have a trusted third-party inspect the RV to ensure it meets your standards.


Why we chose American Coach for our house on wheels


We attended the Florida RV Supershow in 2023 and ended up purchasing our new American Coach Dream 45A motorhome. We toured hundreds of different models of RVs and ultimately decided that American Coach had all the features we were looking for in a new RV. Since we made the switch to full time RV life, we wanted a spacious class A motorhome that gave us a comfortable travel experience while maximizing the living space and providing ‘house-like’ features such as a dishwasher, large shower and washer/dryer. We’ve owned our coach for a full year now and absolutely love it! 



Buying an RV is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned RVer, taking the time to thoroughly research your options will pay off in the long run. Attend RV shows, read reviews, and talk to experienced RVers to gather insights and make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences. 


Finding the right RV for you is the first step towards an amazing journey filled with adventure and making memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!

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