“Oh, the places you’ll go.” This Dr. Seuss quote is often put up in nurseries and used with babies. It’s so relevant because there’s this notion that you’ll never grow out of it. It may be associated with the college you’ll go to or the job you’ll land, or even the new adventures you’ll experience. After all, experiences are priceless and help shape the type of person we each are.

But how do you get to these experiences? For some, RVs are the keys to exploration and adventure. Whether you take the RV out for a family camp trip, for a big music festival weekend or simply off for a cross-country road trip, they are a fun and comfortable way to travel and see the world. But let’s be honest--RVs come with a price. It is a big investment and requires your due diligence to choose the best fit.

To get you started, we compiled advice from other RV’ers, including 8 tips and tricks to ensure you’re on the right path to buying the right RV:

Should I buy used or new?

  • Although there are obvious advantages with new versus used anything, you may find yourself with more negotiating power with a used one. The reason is dealerships typically don’t invest much in a trade-in; therefore their sales profits may be higher. If you do go the used route, be sure to have it inspected to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying.

Where should I start my search?

  • Instead of starting with a specific brand or model, first look at floor plans. By narrowing down the desired layout, it will help guide you to the right model.

What size should I get?

  • Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in RV land. Keep in mind that campsites often have size restrictions. If you go too big, it could limit your options to park and stay.

Can I test drive the RV?

  • Better yet, try renting before buying one. RVshare.com allows you to rent one and try it out before you make your decision. So you can use it for a period of time to include sleeping, cooking or whatever other activities you desire, to ensure it meets all your expectations.

What is the lifespan of a RV and how does maintenance factor in?

  • As a rule of thumb, the typical life span of an RV is about 15 years. Maintenance is a big factor with how smooth the RV life will go (and if it can be longer or cut short). Be sure to ask about warranty repairs. You can also put the VIN number into the National Highway Traffic Safety website to check for any manufacturer recalls.Be aware RV repair shops are not widespread – you’ll often need to make an appointment a month out. In addition, you should factor in an annual maintenance check-up to evaluate brakes, bearings, bushings, sealant work, propane gas levels and general wear and tear. It’s important to keep up on maintenance to avoid any damage getting worse or impacting other parts of the RV.

Where can I get more information?

  • Information can be endless as you search the Internet. GoRVing.com and RVingPlanet.com are great information-gathering resources. You can also listen to podcasts or watch videos to help guide your decision-making journey.

Can I finance my RV purchase?

  • Yes, just like a car purchase, you can finance the RV through the dealer or third-party lender. Similar to other types of loans, your terms and interest rate will be based on current rates, your credit score and amount of down payment you have for the purchase.

Are there any other costs I should budget for?

  • Yes, the RV purchase is only part of the investment. You should also factor in: insurance and gap coverage, maintenance and repair costs, insurance and registration fees, gas, propane and fuel, access to cable and Internet, parking during trips or at home and even meal planning and food/drink costs.

Buying an RV is no easy feat, so do your due diligence upfront to ensure you’re making the right decision down the road. It’s an exciting purchase and milestone that opens up the doors to so many new adventures.

As we like to say: “Life is a journey, and only you hold the keys.”

Check out ISU Credit Union's amazing RV loan options!