When is the best time to buy an RV?

RV life has been having a moment over the past few years, and its popularity is likely to grow even more going forward. Many people are now working remotely and can live in their RV full-time while still making an income. But this increased popularity means more competition when buying a motorhome or travel trailer and negotiating for the right price. Buying an RV in late fall or winter may help you get the best deal possible.

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Why should you buy an RV in winter?

Late fall and winter are generally the best times to buy a travel trailer or motorhome. Fewer people shop for RVs during this period, and less competition means you have more negotiating power. You may also find bargains right before a new RV model is released, when gas prices are up, and at RV trade shows.

From class A motorhomes, to fifth wheel trailers and truck campers, there are a few reasons that RV dealers may offer you a better price during the late fall and winter months:

You’re shopping outside of peak season

Most years, peak RV buying time is the stretch between spring and early fall when the weather is ideal for spending time outdoors. There tends to be a high level of competition around this time, and the increased number of buyers means dealerships are much less likely to lower their prices.

The colder off-season is the best time of year to buy a travel trailer or motorhome if you're hoping to score a great deal. Some dealerships may even slash their prices right before winter to avoid having to winterize RVs. According to CamperFAQs, March and April were the peak months for RV shipments in 2022 and 2023, so you probably want to make your purchase well before early spring.

You’re shopping prior to the release of a new model

For the most part, you have more room for negotiations when purchasing a used RV rather than a new one. However, if it's a brand-new RV you're after, you can also shop strategically to get a discounted price. Once you find an RV you like, do some research to see when an upgraded model is set to be released. If you time your shopping for shortly before that release date, dealerships are more likely to sell older models at a discount to make room for new models.

Gas prices are high

RVs need a lot of gas to operate, and RV sales often dip when gas prices go up. If you shop during this time, you may encounter less competition and more negotiating power.

RV trade shows are winding down

RV trade shows are held throughout the year and across the country. They're an excellent place to see a huge selection of motorhomes and travel trailers in one place, but they can also be a good spot for negotiating. When the show is ending, some sellers may be eager to sell their remaining inventory or display vehicles. Have discussions with different sellers to see if any of them can offer you a great last-minute deal.

What's the best month to buy a used motorhome or travel trailer?

On average, motorhomes and travel trailers are at their cheapest at the end of the year. You can also benefit from good deals in the neighboring months of November and February — after the high season ends and before the next spring season starts up. This stretch of time is also when many dealerships swap out their inventory.

What's the best day of the week to shop for RVs?

You may find that the best time to buy RVs is during the week. Dealerships tend to attract more customers on the weekends. Weekdays come with lower levels of competition, which means it will be easier to get one-on-one time with a salesperson. The dealership may also be more flexible with negotiating if there aren't other customers around.

What time of year is best trade in an RV?

Because most people purchase RVs during spring and summer, trading in your motorhome or travel trailer just prior to camping season may net you the best trade value. If you’re unsure about your RV’s true market value, try an RV valuation tool.

What else should I consider before purchasing an RV?

An RV alone is a big-ticket item, but make sure you budget for the other aspects of RV life. Allocate funds for fuel, maintenance, RV insurance, and off-season RV storage, plus all the accessories needed like bedding and cookware. Learn more about if you need RV insurance and how it works.

If you're purchasing a travel trailer that will get towed behind another vehicle, check whether you can use your current car or if you'll need a larger one. If this is the case, budget in some time and funds to buy an extra car or trade in your current vehicle for a larger and more powerful model.

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