Yep, it’s that time of year again: the 4th of July. Every good thing summer has to offer will be showcased over the course of the next week or so: warm weather, long days, hot dogs, sun screen, fireworks, vacation. For those of us in the northern half of the U.S., this is what we think about as we struggle to pull start a stubborn snow blower during the cold dark days of winter.
Not only is the 4th of July a celebration of freedom, it’s also a celebration of summer. Memorial Day might kick off summer, but the weather at the end of May can still be pretty fickle. Shorts and sandals may be donned but we don’t wear them with any real sense of confidence yet. Who among us hasn’t felt a bit goofy appearing in public with exposed skin color somewhere in the alabaster range? We may be dressed for summer but we still feel a bit like imposters. Luckily, lakes and swimming pools are still too cold to justify a bathing suit for everyone except the youngest or craziest.
At the other end of summer is Labor Day, but this summer holiday always arrives with a sense of wistfulness. Kids are dreading a return to school. The days are growing shorter. Winter is coming. We can feel it in our bones.
No, the 4th of July is as good as summer gets. Swimming is a delight, we’re all tan enough to wear shorts with some aplomb, and most of the yard work is finally under control. Still early in the season, there’s no tinge of winter on the horizon. The 4th of July is the time to kick back and live a little, either on the back patio or a campground a thousand miles from home.
This is also the time when most people seriously consider an RV, either upsizing or downsizing their current motorhome or travel trailer, or buying one for the first time. If you’re in this group, don’t forget to do your due diligence first. An oft quoted statistic from the RV industry claims that over 70% of RV owners feel they purchased the wrong RV for their needs or paid too much –or both. That’s right: the majority of RV owners wish they’d purchased a different unit or put a little more effort in to finding one for a better price. And there are LOTS of ways to get a better price.
We received an e-mail last year from a customer named Mike who had purchased a Keystone Montana after reading our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide. Not only did the Comparison Guide help him narrow down his search and determine the best unit for his family, but he also employed a few key tricks included in the book to negotiate a price well below the advertised sale price. During his second trip of the year Mike and his family ended up in a campground parked next to an identical Keystone Montana –same floor plan, model, year, everything. Needless to say, the two owners had plenty to talk about.
And here’s the kicker: Mike’s neighbor confessed that while the Montana hadn’t been his first choice for a towable, the price had been too good to pass up. How good? Well, 15% off the advertised price, which seemed to be an impressive discount until Mike mentioned what he’d paid for his Montana and saw the man blanch. Apparently, Mike had paid almost $3,000 LESS than his neighbor had paid for his “too good to pass up” fifth wheel. Mike attempted to move the conversation on to other topics but the man was obviously distracted and both campers soon returned to their respective (but identical) Montanas.
This is not an isolated incident, either. In our line of work we probably hear stories on a weekly basis from people who leapt at a great deal before looking. The 70% statistic mentioned above holds plenty of water in our opinion. The RV industry is largely unregulated and RV dealers can be a bit like horse traders in the Wild West. Those that don’t know their horses can get stuck paying full price for an old nag.
While there’s no way for us to know how many of the 30% of RV owners who consider themselves happy campers have read our RV buying guides, we are confident that the 70% who consider themselves unhappy campers haven’t. Most of the mistakes, regrets, gaffs, and missteps we hear about from the 70% are all exactly the type of things we advise against in our publications.
Conclusion? A little research now can save you thousands later. And buying right the first time means you won’t be wasting time and money a year or two down the line once you have figured out what you should have bought originally.
Our 6th Annual 4th of July Sale starts today! For those of you considering an RV, we’d like to help with a 25% off everything sale. Simply use coupon code Flash04 during check-out to receive a 25% discount off anything in your cart.
Happy Travels –and check those tire pressures before hitting the road!
The RVReviews.net Team