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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@

tampabay.com.

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]
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