How To Avoid the Biggest And Most Expensive RV Buying Mistakes

Buying an RV can be very stressful. And nobody wants to make expensive RV buying mistakes.

The truth is that RVs are not like most other purchases that you will ever make. For instance, most people like to do some research before buying a vehicle or a house. And that’s a smart thing to do.

But an RV is actually both of those things. It’s a vehicle that goes down the highway. And it’s a home whenever you are camping in it.

So it calls for a special kind of knowledge to know what to look for when buying an RV. And most people just don’t have that kind of knowledge or experience at first.

And without knowing what you should be looking for, it’s so easy to buy a rig that has hidden problems. Of course, that can lead to every RV owner’s nightmare – a money pit!

So let’s talk about how you can avoid those kind of RV buying mistakes and make a good RV choice instead.

RV Decisions That Need To Be Made

Before you even start the RV buying process, there is a need to make some important decisions.

For instance, which type of RV is best suited to you and the way you like to travel and camp?

Would a motorhome like a Class A, B or C fit you best? Or maybe you would do better with a towable like a travel trailer or fifth wheel.

Then you need to decide if you will buy a new or a used RV. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways.

Also, how much maintenance and upkeep can you afford after buying the RV? Some rigs are just more expensive to care for than others.

Then when you find an RV that you really like, how do you know whether you are actually getting a good deal or not? It’s easy to spend more money than you should if you aren’t prepared.

And of course, should you get an RV inspection on every rig that you are considering? If not, when should you bring in the RV inspector in the buying process?

Expensive RV Buying Mistakes

There are lots of RV buyers that make a purchase without really knowing what they are getting. And unfortunately, that’s an expensive way to buy!

It costs more on the front end when you actually buy the rig. And it continues to cost more afterward in the form of expensive repairs on hidden problems.

And when you don’t buy the kind of RV that fits you best, you may be changing rigs again soon. In fact, some buyers go through 3 or more RVs before they finally figure out what they should have purchased first.

If you add up all of the unnecessary money spent in these areas, it can be many thousands of dollars. And the vast majority of those expenses can and should be avoided.

So is there a common sense method of RV buying and RV inspection that puts the odds on your side? That helps you avoid the most expensive RV buying mistakes?

The good news is that the answer to those questions is YES!

How To Get An RV Buying Blueprint

As a certified RV inspector, I see examples of all of these RV buying issues that I have previously mentioned regularly.

So I have written a plainspoken guide to RV buying and RV inspection that many have found helpful.

It’s called “How To Avoid Buying An RV Money Pit”, and it’s an ebook that you can download.

Watch my YouTube video about “How To Avoid Buying An RV Money Pit here

In the ebook, I first explain how to choose the right RV for your needs. This is a crucial step to make sure that you get the RV you want right away.

The ebook also has several links to videos I have made that explain the various RV types in detail. And I cover the pros and cons of each kind of RV too, as well as who should buy them.

There are also videos on whether you should buy a new or used RV too. This is a big decision for most newer RV buyers.

And I explain the best way that you educate yourself about RV prices. This is important! Because armed with the right pricing information, you can get a great deal on your next RV.

So all of this information is really a blueprint for how to buy an RV the right way. And none of it is hard or difficult to understand.

In fact, I have tried my best to make sure that the tips and information in the ebook is understandable by even RV newbies.

But now we get to one of the most important parts of the RV buying process – the RV inspection.

You Can Perform A Pre-Purchase RV Inspection

One of the biggest issues with RV inspections is knowing when to bring in the RV inspector in the buying process.

That’s because if you pay for an RV inspection for every rig that you look at, that can get expensive fast! Especially if you don’t find the right RV for you right away!

Of course, getting an RV inspection by a pro is one of the best ways to avoid RV buying mistakes. So what’s the best way to handle this issue?

My recommendation is to learn how to perform a pre-purchase RV inspection of your own. And that is one of the best advantages of getting my ebook!

Get my RV buying and RV inspection ebook guide now!

I show you step-by-step how to inspect some of the most expensive items on an RV that you are considering. And none of the personal inspection process is too technical for the average RV buyer.

So the pre-purchase inspection helps you know that the main components of the RV are functioning correctly. It therefore means that you can now seriously consider that RV for purchase.

And to help make the personal inspection even easier, I also provide you with a checklist to use as you go. So as you proceed through the inspection, you can record what you find on each part of the RV.

This becomes especially helpful if you look at several rigs before purchasing. After a while of looking at lots of RVs, they just all seem to blend together.

It’s hard then to remember exactly what you saw on each RV that you inspected. But the checklist helps organize your thoughts on each rig and easily bring them back to mind.

Do You Still Need A Professional RV Inspection?

So if you know how to make a pre-purchase RV inspection of your own, do you even need a pro inspector?

Let me say clearly that my ebook inspection guide is not meant to replace a professional RV inspection. That is not the purpose of the ebook at all.

Instead, the pre-purchase personal RV inspection helps you narrow down the RVs that are worthy of consideration. It helps you weed out right away those could likely be an RV money pit!

With those unworthy rigs out of the running, you have clearly saved yourself lots of time and money. So you are already avoiding making serious RV buying mistakes!

Then just keep looking until you find the RV that fits your needs and passes your personal inspection. When you find that RV, it can be time to call in a professional RV inspector.

Why Do You Need A Certified RV Inspector?

My ebook will help you learn about how to inspect some of the most expensive parts of an RV. And the inspections can be done by almost anyone.

But RVs are complicated things. And many of the systems on an RV need to be tested thoroughly before purchase.

The tests that need to be performed are well beyond the ability of most RV buyers. So having a well trained RV inspector’s experience is a must in these areas.

NRVIA certified RV inspectors help you avoid RV buying mistakes

The RV inspector also will have the right equipment to inspect every part of an RV. All the way from the roof to the tires.

And the inspection that a pro will perform will be much more comprehensive and thorough.

There still may be things that the RV inspector finds that will need attention or repair. But in most cases, it will not be a deal breaker.

But by your personal inspection you have avoided calling in a pro on a rig that didn’t deserve a thorough inspection.

Avoid The Most Common RV Buying Mistakes

The biggest and most expensive RV buying mistakes are made by uninformed buyers.

They aren’t sure of what kind of RV they need or how much it will cost. And they know very little about how to spot an RV with hidden problems.

They choose an RV for purchase based mainly on the color, or the floor plan, not on its quality. Of course, appearances are important, but they shouldn’t be the sole reason for buying an RV.

With just a little knowledge imparted by someone who is a pro, the average RV buyer can make a great choice.

So be sure to get a copy of my RV ebook “How To Avoid Buying An RV Money Pit” now!

If you do, I will also make myself available to help answer any questions that you have about buying an RV. And I will help you through the personal inspection process if you feel that you need it.

As always, have safe and happy travels!

How To Get Free RV Wifi For Internet Access Wherever You Go

In this article, I’m going to discuss how to get free RV wifi for internet access wherever you go.

But first, let’s reflect on the fact that internet connectivity is absolutely vital for many Rvers. And as time goes on, no doubt the need for mobile connectivity will only increase.

With that in mind, I have made a few videos that demonstrate how RVers can stay connected on the road. They cover subjects like what equipment you will need, the right kind of internet data plans for RVers, etc.

Those videos can be found here:

Click here for RV internet video #1

and also here:

Click here for RV internet video #2

The information in these videos is very helpful for those who need internet access wherever they go. So it’s probably a good idea to view those videos before finishing this article.

But is it possible to find yourself in an area where mobile connectivity is very poor? Places where all of the best mobile internet solutions just don’t seem to work well?

Cellular Mobile Internet Access

Actually, there are several ways to access the internet if you are a mobile RV traveler. But the most popular method by far is through cellular phone towers.

After all, the cellular carriers already provide a certain amount of internet access for phone users. So using a cellular network for internet connectivity makes a lot of sense.

But this means that you will need certain pieces of equipment to access cellular internet service. These include a dedicated hotspot, a good antenna, and probably even a cell booster.

And some RV travelers seem to indicate that if you are armed with that equipment, you are always online. But unfortunately, the truth is just not that simple.

Of course, a good mobile cellular internet setup will work in the vast majority of places you go. But the reality is that if you travel a lot in your RV, you will eventually find places where it doesn’t work well.

Why Cellular Internet Service Doesn’t Always Work

The reason for this is that cellular networks can sometimes get overloaded. This can happen easily when an area gets a sudden increase in cellular usage. For instance, when lots of tourists flood the area for a special event or season.

If there aren’t enough towers in the area to help out with the overload, the whole service slows to a crawl. In fact, it can become so slow that meaningful cellular internet service just disappears.

You may be able to check email and do some basic web surfing, but not much more than that.

And it doesn’t matter how fast or expensive your mobile internet equipment is. None of that means anything when the system it is using is clogged and unusable.

We faced just such a situation last year in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. There was so many summer visitors in the area, that the few cell towers available were overwhelmed. And as a result , our mobile internet access was useless.

Free RV Wifi In RV Campgrounds

So if our mobile internet solution that we normally use on the road didn’t work, what then? What about the wifi offered by our campground?

After all, the RV park that we were staying in was a very nice park with lots of amenities. So, surely free internet wifi offered by the campground would solve our problem, right?

Well, the sad truth about RV campground wifi is that in most cases it is also pretty useless. Especially if there are a lot of campers in the park at one time.

You may see free internet wifi being advertised by RV parks and campgrounds. But that doesn’t mean that it is always a consistently reliable internet service.

Very often, the wifi systems installed in these parks simply can’t handle a lot of internet usage. So when the park fills up and lots of RVers want to stream movies, the whole system slows down.

We experienced this in the Poconos at the park where we stayed. The free wifi offered there just wasn’t very usable.

Other Places To Find Free RV Wifi

So, if you find yourself in an area where the cellular internet service is unusable, what can you do?

The good news is that there are lots of places that offer free internet wifi these days. It’s just that it may not come with the convenience factor that you are used to having for internet service.

But if you are anywhere near a town or a city, you most likely can get free internet access through wifi anyway.

Places like Starbucks, McDonalds, Panera Bread, Best Buy, Target, Office Max and others offer free wifi. You can also find free internet access at many public libraries and gyms.

Of course, they aren’t offering you free wifi for nothing. They want to entice you to visit them and hopefully buy some products while using their wifi.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money while there. So you can grab a snack at places like Starbucks and McDonalds. Or make a small purchase at Best Buy or Office Max.

Believe me though, you will be happy to make a small purchase when you really need to get online.

So can we say that the wifi offered in these places is truly free then? Well, it’s up to you. But the low cost of a purchase is worth the internet access in my opinion.

Of course, public libraries can be an excellent choice for free internet wifi since it doesn’t have to involve a purchase. Very often, you can find a comfortable chair and get your internet work done in peace and quiet.

A Warning About Free RV Wifi

But one caution needs to be mentioned here. Make sure that you don’t send sensitive data while you are on a public network.

There are those who troll public wifi spots to steal data from unsuspecting users. So use encrypted sites that begin with https in the URL as much as possible.

And don’t carry out transactions that could reveal your credit card information over public wifi either.

What About Streaming Entertainment?

One of the favorite uses of internet access is to stream entertainment like videos. And of course, I am all for that since I have a YouTube channel with lots of videos to watch.

But video streaming eats up a lot of bandwidth, or available internet access. And free wifi services don’t usually have a lot of bandwidth to spare.

Of course, when you have your own personal hotspot and mobile cellular service, this is often not a problem. All you need is to have a robust data cellular plan and you are in business.

But when that kind of service is not available and free wifi services can’t handle streaming, what do you do?

Well, for the few times that you may find yourself in such a situation, there are some alternatives to consider. But it may involve altering your normal pattern for getting entertainment.

For instance, if you like videos, why not play some DVDs that you like? You may have some of your own or you can rent them in lots of places.

Or better yet, why not try unplugging from using digital entertainment exclusively for a while? Maybe you could read books, or play some games with a fellow traveler or family member.

Interestingly, you may find that you kind of enjoy engaging in other activities other than video streaming. It might even open up a new avenue for enjoying your leisure time that you hadn’t considered before.

Engaging in these activities also means that the time you have to spend on free internet wifi networks is lessened. So there is less pressure to rely on free wifi sources.

Conclusion

So clearly then, there are free wifi alternatives that can help when our normal mobile connectivity isn’t working.

These alternatives may not be as convenient as just connecting to our own mobile internet wifi. But they do work, and can help us get through until reliable internet access is restored.

And that brings me to my last point on this subject. If internet connectivity becomes too much of a problem for you as an RV traveler to handle, just move.

The odds are that you can find an area not far away that can allow you to use your normal RV internet access equipment.

That’s why there are wheels on your RV. You can choose to leave and go somewhere else whenever you choose.

And if you do, hopefully internet access will be better there. But hopefully what I have discussed in this article will be helpful in those few cases where free wifi is a necessity.

How To Use RV Trip Wizard For Camping And Travel

RV Trip Wizard is one of the best tools that I have used in our full-time RV travels.

I use the program all the time for laying our upcoming travel plans. And for me, it’s the best overall camping and travel planning aid that I have found.

Of course, there are plenty of other options to to choose from for camping and travel planning.

But I have found that most of them do a few things well while not doing others as well. So in the past I have had to use a multitude of programs and apps together to get the trip planning I need.

Let me be clear though, and say that RV Trip Wizard still has improvements that need to be made. It is not perfect. But I suppose that is true of almost anything in life, things can always be improved.

But I feel that the program is quickly becoming the one-stop source for RV trip planning for most people. And the program authors keep making it better all the time.

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

RV Trip Wizard – How I Use It

So far I have planned 4 major trips across the US with RV Trip Wizard in the last year or so.

And those trips have totaled over 9400 miles and 60 stops along the way. It includes 231 nights spent on the road that has taken me cross country three times.

So I feel that I have had plenty of experience with using this program so far. Enough that I can confidently provide this review about it.

So would you like to see exactly how I use the program to lay out my RV travels?

To see how I use RV Trip Wizard for my RV trip planning, just click here to watch a step-by-step video I made about it.

Features About RVTW That I Really Like

There are a lot of features that make RVTW a pleasure to use. But let me cover just a few of the ones that I have found most helpful.

  • There are plenty of campgrounds and RV parks to choose from for overnight stays as you travel. So when you lay out your trip, you have no shortage of places to stay.
  • It’s easy to add stops or take them away as you lay out your RV trips. And you can accept the route directions made by the program or customize your own.
  • You can filter out the campgrounds that don’t meet your criteria for overnight stays. This makes your trip planning much easier.
  • There is also plenty of information about how much each RV park costs and reviews from others who stayed there. And there is also plenty of information about the features of each park too.
  • You can map out multiple stops on a long trip. And RVTW lets you know how far between stops and the cost of your travel stops as you go.
  • The program also has very helpful hazard warnings for low bridges, tunnels, toll roads, etc. And for folks that have bigger rigs, this will help keep you out of trouble on the road.
  • There are also many points of interest that you can bring up to find out what is around you. So you can know if there is a Costco, a grocery store, or other shopping areas close by. And you can also see where fuel stations are located along your route too.
  • Once your trip is planned, you can print out turn-by-turn directions to guide you as you go.

There are lots of other great features that also would be useful by others. But these are some of the ones that I have found most useful for us so far.

Other Apps To Use With RVTW

Of course, there is no trip planner that I know of that does everything perfectly. So even RVTW benefits from having the support of other trip planning apps and programs too.

  • The first app that I highly recommend is the companion app for RV Trip Wizard. It’s called RV Life, and it’s made by the same folks that make RVTW. The best feature I like about this app is that it allows you to import your RVTW trips into it. Then you can use the app on your smartphone or tablet for audible directions on your route. In essence, it replaces the need for an RV GPS unit. You just create your trips online, transfer them to the app, and follow its guidance as you go. There are other great features of the app, but that is the most helpful for us by far.
  • The second app I like to use is called Truck Map. I use it mainly for double-checking whether the route laid out in RVTW is the best one to take. This gets more important as your rig increases in size and length. This is because big rigs can’t just go on any road out there. That’s why Google Maps is not a good app to use for RV directions. It may send you on a route that is not RV friendly. But RVTW can make mistakes sometimes too. So I check to make sure the route that it is sending me on agrees with Truck Map. That’s because if a commercial truck and trailer can be on a route, so can I with my RV rig. But if there is a disagreement, I can choose the best route between the two. It works well for this purpose.
  • The last app I like to use less frequently is called Allstays – Camp & RV. It is a popular app with RVers of all kinds. And I like to use it along with RVTW to verify locations of rest stops, fuel stations, etc. It’s more like a backup app. But I use it to see if it has more information to offer on some travel support services than RVTW.

Conclusion – Who Needs RV Trip Wizard?

Although I feel that RVTW is a great tool for almost all RV travelers, I feel it’s best for RVers with large rigs.

That’s because the longer and larger your rig is, the better planning you need to do before hitting the road. And if you are towing a vehicle, planning becomes even more essential.

The last thing you want is to be sent down a road where you encounter hazards or can’t turn around easily.

And RVTW has kept us out of trouble very well so far on all of our trips where it was used.

So my experience has been a good one so far. I feel that I can highly recommend using RVTW to practically any RVer out there.

You may want to learn more about RVTW or just get the program and try it yourself.

Either way, you can click here for the RV Trip Wizard website.