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Get ready for the outdoors Johnstown: RV buying tips

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As winter continues to fade, many people will look forward to how they will spend their spring and summer. Our thoughts turn to getting outdoors and enjoying nature. One way to do this is through camping. While some fundamentalist campers still say camping can only be done in a tent, I feel that anything that gets you out in nature and away from home can be camping. One of the more popular ways to do this is to go with an RV or as I called them when I was a kid, a camper. So here are some things to consider when buying an RV.

Determine your needs. You need to decide on a size and style. For size, determine who will be camping with you. How many people would you like to be able to stay in the camper? Remember that putting 8 people in a camper that is designed to sleep 8 can still be a little cramped. Consider a little larger than the number of people that you take with you. For style, you need to decide if you want a motor home or a trailer. For a motor home you will also need to consider the class of motor home. A class C motor home is built on a truck chassis while a class A motor home is built on a truck or special RV chassis. If you want to go with a trailer, you will need to decide on a travel trailer, a fifth wheel, an expandable trailer or even a pop-up.

Another aspect to consider when determining your needs are financial considerations. Consider how much you can afford and whether you will be able to finance the purchase. Keep in mind that there are also some good deals on pre-owned campers which will have a lower cost than a new model. Consider how often you will use it. If you only intend to use it once every couple years, you may be better off with rentals that may be available.

Think about other needs other than the camper. If you are looking at a trailer, do you have a vehicle that will be able to tow it? Look at the weight of the trailer and the type of hitch required. A fifth wheel requires a larger pick-up (more weight to tow) and a specialized hitch. Other trailers require a standard type of trailer hitch. But when considering the cost don’t forget to include the cost of adding a hitch to your vehicle. To determine the towing capacity of your current vehicle, check your owner’s manual or visit your local dealer.

Know the terminology. Know some of the basic terms. This will help you know what you are reading about in descriptions and hearing from the salesperson. It can also help you know what options are available. For example, an outside kitchen is a kitchen that can be access from outside of the trailer. If you don’t understand a term, ask. Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory has a good glossary to help you understand some of the terms.

Shop around. This will help you find the best price for what you need. It also helps you to identify the special features that are available and which ones are most important to you. One of the best ways to do this is online. However, only search dealer sites that are close enough for you to travel to. A shopper from Johnstown wouldn’t want to be looking at the dealers in California. Another way to shop around is by attending an RV show locally like the PA Adventure RV Expo. Many of these shows will have show specials and you can usually visit several dealers in one place.

Get expert advice. While I can give you tips, what is a good match for me may not be a good match for you. The experts at the dealerships can help you figure out some of these questions and explain the advantages or disadvantages for each style. A good salesman will work to get you into the RV that fits you because that will ensure return customers. But keep in mind, if you feel someone is trying to push you into a larger RV than you want or does not seem to have your best interest in mind, walk away. You have the control.

Hopefully, this will give you some things to think about while shopping. Good luck and have fun in your new or new to you RV. Get out and enjoy nature through camping.

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