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4 Top Tips: Buying an RV during a pandemic


An interesting thing happened the other night as I watched TV. A car commercial came on with some grainy 1950s footage of happy Americans packing the family car for a trip. For the next sixty seconds the viewer was treated to a montage of scenic locations and campsites and endless miles of unfolding roads. There was no discussion of the car itself. The message summed up with a pithy comment: “It might be a while before we’ll see America from 35,000 feet,” the narrate intones cheerfully, “But the view from six feet is even better.” To that end, here are our 4 top tips for buying an RV during a pandemic.

1. To Avoid Air Travel

It didn’t take a lot of reading between the lines to interpret the unprecedented message here. Air travel is either not an option or actively being avoided by many Americans right now due to the coronavirus. But the good folks at Kia would like to remind Americans that there is another option worth considering: the road trip. It goes without saying that they feel one of their vehicles would be the perfect choice for just such an adventure.

Summertime in the U.S. is vacation time. The weather is pleasant, the waters are warm, and after a long winter, Americans are itching to get out and have some fun. (And last winter was a looonng winter, wasn’t it?) On top of that, most of us have spent the past few months sticking closer to home than normal. Chances are your closets are organized within an inch of their lives and you’re ready for a change of scenery.

2. Road Trips Remain Fun

The road trip may seem like a novel and nostalgic option for many people, but for the RV community this is just business as usual. RVing and road trips are synonymous and always have been. The RV industry is built on the idea of taking your own bed and kitchen and living room on vacation and NOT navigating crowded airports and restaurants, security screening lines, rental cars, and high-turnover hotel rooms. In a happy quirk of fate, RV travel hasn’t had to adapt itself in any way to accommodate the ever-changing pandemic guidelines. It’s a lifestyle that was about social distancing before social distancing was even a thing.

3. Know the Market Before You Buy

And the RV sales for 2020 reflect the groundswell of renewed interest, running well ahead of sales for last year. That is very good news at a time when there doesn’t seem to be a lot of good news to be had. It is especially true in the travel industry.

While this is a huge relief for many manufacturers –and their many employees and suppliers- it presents an unexpected dilemma. There is a limited stock of new RVs. Almost all RV manufacturers spent several months this spring either completely idled or running a skeleton crew. This is due to concerns about the coronavirus. Output dwindled to a trickle –at a time of year when RVs are typically being built fast and furious. Skittish plant owners, wanting to err on the side of caution, cut production numbers in anticipation a soft market.

Be Prepared for Chaos

Instead, RV sales took off and many manufacturers were caught off guard by the sudden clamor for their products. While everyone now rushes to catch up to demand, the end result for some could still be dire. Historically, any calamity in the RV industry ends up with the most vulnerable manufacturers hit the hardest. As a result, they were idle for several months as an unprecedented calamity.

More on Buying an RV During a Pandemic

We always recommend you do your research before you so much as set foot on an RV dealers parking lot. Get started by reading our How to Purchase an RV and Save essential guide or visit our store for more books.

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