So you want to buy a travel trailer. You’ve finally allowed the open road to call your name and have decided it’s high time that you go out and find the travel trailer of your dreams. Well, we have a few key tips for you that can improve your buying process. Buying a travel trailer can be stressful and even a little scary, if you don’t know what to look for. These tips to buying a travel trailer will ensure that you get the trailer that’s right for your individual needs – and that your time and money aren’t wasted.
Tip 1 – Determine Your Needs
The very first step, before looking at your first travel trailer, is to determine your needs. Are you traveling solo? Will you have kids along? Is it just the two of you, living out your twilight years? These are all questions that need to be asked. They will determine the size of the travel trailer you need. For example, two parents traveling with three children would require a larger travel trailer unit than a man traveling solo.
By knowing your individual needs for space, you can determine whether a simple 23’ travel trailer will suffice or whether you need an oversized fifth wheel with slide outs, a bunkhouse with double bed options. Additionally, a toy hauler might be preferred if you plan on bringing along a motorcycle or other “toy.”
Tip 2 – Decide What Features You Want
Though understanding individual needs are important, you should also take into account things you want – those little features that make life easier. Extras that may not be needed, but are definitely wanted, can be the difference between enjoying the open road and truly loving your new travel trailer purchase.
Having added upgrades such as automatic power jacks, mechanical slide outs, privacy windows, or even a pull out gas grill will reduce some of the strains of pulling into a new campground. They’ll allow you the luxury of an easy setup. Privacy windows can give you a little extra privacy when camping – which can be quite appreciated. Though most upgrades may add to your initial buying price, they can often be worth it.
Tip 3 – Decide Between New or Used
One essential decision that must be made is whether you should buy a new or used travel trailer. This is based on individual ability, concerns, and comfort. When considering new, you’ll have the advantage of knowing that everything works, and should a problem arise, a warranty is in effect. However, in exchange for peace of mind, you’ll be paying quite a bit more than you would have if you had chosen a used model.
In contrast, with a used model, you’ll have more uncertainty, yet you can reduce your buying cost substantially. If you choose to buy used, there are a few things to look for.
Try to locate used models that were barely taken out. There have been many people who have bought a unit that only received a few thousands of miles of use. If you get this type of used travel trailer, you’re getting a near new travel trailer for a used price, saving you extra money without giving up a lot.
Tip 4 – Look It Over When Buying – Here’s How
A travel trailer is a large purchase, and as such, you’ll want to evaluate all aspects of the trailer that you choose. This is especially true when purchasing a used travel trailer. After all, not every seller is trustworthy – so you have to check out the trailer diligently.
If you’re buying a new travel trailer, be sure that you are working with a reputable dealership. Fully read all disclosures and warranty information. This will ease your buying process and ensure that you have a secure investment.
If you have chosen to buy a used travel trailer, you need to look at a few extra details. For starters, you’ll want to climb up on that roof and inspect it for signs of neglect. If you’re not sure how to detect roof neglect, stick with the basics. Examine rooftop caulking for wear. Does it look smooth and clean, or does it look worn and aged? Caulking should be placed along all edges and vents. You should also look at the roof itself. A cared-for roof will have a relatively new layer of RV weatherproof paint. These small basic identifiers will signify that the person you’re buying from took care of their travel trailer.
Beyond the roof, you’ll need to examine the mechanics of the travel trailer that you are buying. Insist on having the trailer hooked up, even if that requires the two of you to go down to the nearest campground. Hooking the travel trailer up will allow you to ensure that all electrical lights and outlets are operating. It’ll also allow you to turn the overhead AC unit on to ensure it’s blowing cool air.
Water lines can also be checked once hooked up. Turn on each faucet to check for pressure. You should also check the toilet at this time to ensure that water is running through it and that there aren’t any leaks in the unit or on the ground. Finally, light the stove, the water heater, and the fridge. The fridge could be operated by gas or electricity.
Taking Your Travel Trailer for a First Run
Now that you have researched and bought yourself the perfect travel trailer, it’s time to hit the road. For your first trip out, a nearby location with added amenities might be best. KOA parks are often ideal for first-timers. They tend to cost a bit more; however, they have added staff, recreational rooms, and often even a pool. This will give you extra convenience while you get to know your travel trailer.