6 things you need to know before buying a RV

Buying a new RV is like buying a house: it is stressful. You have to think of a lot of things and details. You are afraid of making the wrong choice and spending thousands of dollars in a bad decision. We understand that. When you decide to spend so much money, you need to be 100% sure. So here are the most important things you need to know before buying your RV!

What are the different types of RV?

First of all, you need to know what are the different kinds of RV. Each one has its own characteristics adapted to different needs. Once you have defined a little bit your RV trip, you can choose a vehicle adapted to your plan. These multiple recreational vehicles also fit different financial constraints. Learn more about the RV here.

Camper van

The camper van is the most trendy thing among the different types of recreational vehicles. It is basically a van that you arrange yourself to turn it into a wheeled-home. You can adapt it to your needs. Moreover, the camper van is simple to drive and park since it is a “classic” vehicle. Roads and parking spots are perfectly adapted to vans. 

Concerning your financial capacities, a camper van is a pretty affordable option. It is clearly way cheaper than a classic motorhome. If you decide to build it yourself, it will be even cheaper. You will be able to choose materials and equipment depending on your budget. 

The disadvantage of this solution is that it can be smaller and less comfortable than a “professional” motorhome. If you don’t arrange it correctly, it can also be cold during winter. But if you choose a well-arranged camper van, it can be a great option!


If you want to save some time by buying a turnkey solution, you can choose a motorhome. Usually, we divide them into 3 categories : class A, class B and class C motorhomes. The class A motorhomes are the bigger ones and the class B are the smaller ones. Class C motorhomes are a good compromise between those two. 

Concerning the financial aspect, motorhomes are the most expensive solution. You can find more or less affordable motorhomes but it will usually be more expensive than a camper van or a pickup camper. However, it will also be the most comfortable one. You will be able to choose between a large range of vehicles and equipment to fit your needs. You can also go for a second hand motorhome to reduce the price. 


You have a small budget and want to buy an affordable RV? The trailer seems perfect for you! The main advantage is that you can keep your normal vehicle to travel and just add the trailer. Therefore, you won’t have to pay for the entire vehicle. However, it might be more difficult to drive a trailer if you are not used to it. 

There are several types of trailers. You can choose a travel trailer, a fifth wheel trailer, a pop-up trailer or a hybrid one. The fifth wheel trailer is the easiest one to drive but it is more expensive than the other ones. The hybrid trailer is a mix of the fifth wheel and the travel trailers. 

Pickup camper and roof tent

Just as the trailer, the pickup camper and the roof tent are pretty affordable solutions. Once again, you can still use your normal vehicle and add a pickup camper or a roof tent to it. You won’t have to buy another motorized vehicle. It explains the less expensive price. 

If you have a pickup, the pickup camper may be a great solution for you. You will have a small camping space but it will be easy to drive and manoeuvre. If you don’t have a pickup, you can go for a roof tent. This solution is similar except that you will have to fold up the tent when you want to drive. 

Of course, you won’t find all the equipment and the comfort of a motorhome in a pickup camper or a roof tent. These solutions are cheaper but also tougher. 

What is your budget? 

Of course, before buying a recreational vehicle, you need to define what your financial capacities are. This factor will affect your decision concerning the type of RV you want. It will also help you decide between new or second-hand ones. Sometimes, you can find very great deals if you are willing to buy a used vehicle.

Your budget will also define what kind of recreational vehicle you want to buy. Like we said before, a motorhome will be much more expensive than a roof tent. Depending on your finances, you will have to do compromises on the size and the comfort of your RV. 

How long is your trip?

The duration of your road trip is also important in order to make a good decision concerning your recreational vehicle. Indeed, if you want to travel for a few weeks, you may choose a less comfortable option. You won’t need all the equipment if you are leaving for less than a month. 

Moreover, the duration of your RV trip will help you decide between buying and renting a recreational vehicle. If you want to travel for several months or regularly, you might want to buy one. But if this trip is a one time experience, renting can also be a good option. 

In order to make the good decision, make sure to compare all the possibilities. Take your time to collect information and advice from different sources before buying anything.

What type of vehicle are you allowed to drive?

As you know, there are different kinds of recreational vehicles. However, you are not allowed to drive everyone of them with a simple driving licence. You will need to check, before buying anything, if your B licence is sufficient. Otherwise, you will have to get another licence and take that into account in your budget. 

If you are planning to buy a classic vehicle with a permissible total weight under 3.5 tonnes, you will be able to drive it with a B licence. But if you need a bigger vehicle (because you are traveling with your family, for example), you may need to get a BE licence or a C licence. You can learn more about these licences on this blog post.

How comfortable do you want to be? 

Of course, you will not choose the same recreational vehicle whether you want to do “rough” camping or not. Usually, if you want a pretty comfortable solution, you will have to pay more. A fully equipped motorhome will be more expensive than a simple roof tent. However, you will have more space and it will be more convenient than a tent.

The comfort of your recreational vehicle will depend on your financial capacities. Nonetheless, you can definitely find a compromise between comfort and budget. If you have time and the necessary skills, you can buy a second-hand van and build it yourself. You will be able to save money by choosing carefully your materials and equipment. 

Where are you traveling to? 

Finally, a very important factor to define is your destination. Where are you traveling to? If you are doing a camping tour of all the American national parks, a roof tent might be a great option to live this experience fully. 

On the contrary, if you want to visit big cities, you will need a more discreet vehicle. You don’t want people to know that you are living here and that there are a lot of things to steal. A camper van might be the best solution since it looks like a normal vehicle. 

Your destination will also give you indications on the accessibility of the road and the parking facilities. If you want to travel to South America or Scotland, for example, you will have to drive on small roads. If you are buying a big american motorhome, you will probably regret it. 

What is Swap the Road? 

You already have a RV but you want to exchange it with another vanlifer in order to travel to another country or continent easily? We have created Swap the Road just for you! We know how difficult it is to ship your vehicle by the seas. With our roadtrippers community, you don’t need to anymore. You just have to exchange it!

Once you have defined all the characteristics of your RV trip, you just have to go on our website to find the perfect recreational vehicle for you. You will be able to talk to the owner and ask questions. This way, you will be sure that the RV fits your needs perfectly.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to answer you. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. We can’t wait to meet you!


One Response

  1. Great RV roof repair article. Thanks for sharing this post. These 6 things everyone must know before buying an RV. One of my friends was also wanted to buy a new RV. So, I will share your blog with my friend. I hope this blog will give him great information. Thank you. Keep posting.
    Good luck.

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