Make us your home page
Autos | Recreational vehicles

Before buying, give recreational vehicle life a try

If you're in the market for a recreational vehicle . . .

Rent before you buy. If you are not absolutely sure an RV is right for you and your family, try renting one first. Rule No. 1 for owning an RV is you have to use it. It can be difficult to determine that if you have never done it. Plan a weekend or weeklong trip and kick the tires of one before you make a decision.

Figure out which type of RV is right for your needs. RVs come in numerous types, sizes and price ranges. Determine which type works for you, and find one with a price that fits your budget.

New or used? If you only plan to take a couple of weekend trips or use it for one week out of the year, a used RV might be best for you.

Choose the right floor plan and options. Determine what features are required to meet the needs of you and your family.

Test-drive it. If you plan to purchase a motorized RV, be sure to drive it before you buy it. Driving a motor home for the first time can be a little intimidating.

Do your research. You want an RV dealer and a manufacturer that will stand behind the product after the sale.

Buy from a reputable dealership. A reputable dealer will have an upstanding, professional staff. Don't be afraid to ask them to give you a tour of the grounds.

Protect your investment. When you purchase an RV, consider some other factors that will help protect your investment. I recommend looking into some type of extended-service contract that goes beyond the manufacturer-warranty period.

Now that you own it, where can you use it? The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) states that there are approximately 8,500 RV parks and campgrounds located near national parks and forests, popular tourist attractions, along interstates and in cities and small towns. With the Internet you have instant access to most of these public and private campgrounds, RV parks and RV resorts. Other good resources are travel guides, magazines, campground directories and state tourism boards.

Back to Rule No. 1: If you own an RV, you need to use it. Otherwise, it's just an oversized lawn ornament.

Tell us your love story

What's your story behind your favorite car? We're starting a new feature highlighting some of your beloved wheels. Here's what we need:

• Your name.

• City where you live.

• Age (with your date of birth).

• Year, make and model of the car.

• A description of the car and why you love it.

• A high-resolution photo or a scanned image. (The photo must be of the actual car.)

• Send these to drive@

We're still accepting submissions for My First Car. So keep them coming!

Before buying, give recreational vehicle life a try 08/16/10 [Last modified: Monday, August 16, 2010 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PunditFact: George Will's comparison of tax preparers, firefighters based on outdated data


    The statement

    "America has more people employed as tax preparers (1.2 million) than as police and firefighters."

    George Will, July 12 in a column

    The ruling

    WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Conservative newspaper columnist George Will poses on the red carpet upon arrival at a salute to FOX News Channel's Brit Hume on January 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hume was honored for his 35 years in journalism. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
  2. Appointments at Shutts & Bowen and Tech Data highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Retired U.S. Navy Commander Scott G. Johnson has joined Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office as a senior attorney in the firm's Government Contracts and Corporate Law Practice Groups. Johnson brings 15 years of legal experience and 24 years of naval service to his position. At Shutts, Scott will …

    United States Navy Commander (Retired) Scott G. Johnson joins Shutts & Bowen LLP in its Tampa office. [Company handout]
  3. Macy's chairman replaces ex-HSN head Grossman on National Retail Federation board


    Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy's Inc., will replace Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman as chair of the National Retail Federation, the organization announced Wednesday. Grossman stepped down from her position following her move from leading St. Petersburg-based HSN to Weight Watchers.

    Weight Watchers CEO and former HSN chief Mindy Grossman is being replaced as chair of the National Retail Federation. [HSN Inc.]
  4. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares nearly 25 percent


    CLEARWATER — Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  5. CapTrust moving headquarters to downtown Park Tower


    TAMPA — CAPTRUST Advisors, a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment consulting firm, is moving its Tampa offices into Park Tower. CapTrust's new space will be 10,500 square feet — the entirety of the 18th floor of the downtown building, which is scheduled to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation by 2018.

    CAPTRUST Advisors' Tampa location is moving into Park Tower. Pictured is the current CapTrust location at 102 W. Whiting St. | [Times file photo]