How to Avoid RV Buyer's Remorse

When we camp, many times we find ourselves talking to other campers about their RV's.  It is interesting to hear their stories and what the love or dislike about their set up.  I enjoy the stories of tent campers that bought their first RV or families looking to upgrade or downsize.  Everyone has a different story.  How do you buy an RV that you love for the long haul?

This year, our RV has also served as my remote office.

How to Avoid RV Buyer's Remorse

When returning home from our vacation this summer, my husband and I spent some time talking about our last year's trip home when we picked up our RV.  It was a memorable and exciting day!  I'll never forget the anticipation of taking ownership of our new camper.  We had spent three years in a pop-up camper that I loved.  I had really struggled as we parted with that pop-up, but I knew that we needed something bigger to really get out there and do more camping as a family.  My husband liked camping but hated the setup.  It was kind of a black cloud over every trip at points.  I loved camping.  I didn't mind the work.  I could have camped in that pop up for years, but he couldn't.  A new RV was a practical compromise for our family.  

RV'ers that tell us about their purchase that has become a problem or just one that they hate overall on lots of trips.  That buyer's remorse of getting the wrong camper and knowing it only to be looking for another RV almost immediately is something I was determined not to do.  I've heard more than one story about RV's that just didn't pan out.  So, how do you get the right camper for you and love it?  

I don't know that anyone is going to buy an RV and stay in it forever.  The average time for RV ownership is about 3 years.  Most families and individuals upgrade or downsize several times over their lifetime if they really love camping.  It isn't uncommon.  We just didn't want to get underwater on our purchase.  Making a trade too soon is where problems arise financially.  To avoid RV buyer's remorse, here are 6 tips to help you get started with your RV ownership journey.

RV shopping can be overwhelming, but don't rush the process.

Do Your Homework

Investigate RV's out there on the market.  Go online and check out floor plans and manufacturers.  Join social media groups and ask questions.  Get out there and shop.  Open drawers, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower, and really check out the features.  Look at how the RV is made.  Think about how you plan to utilize the RV and envision yourself living out that dream.  Will that RV fit the bill or will you always be making too many compromises to be happy?

Make a list of what you want.  Prioritize what you want and can't live without.  There were some features we wanted that we didn't get.  But, we also got what we wanted most and was the most important to us.  We stuck to our guns and didn't settle.  Also, be prepared for that list to shift and change over time as you shop.  

We wanted an RV with a queen bed for us, a bunkhouse for our son, and maybe a friend to tag along, comfortable bathroom and all under 25 feet.  At first, we said no murphy bed.  My husband was adamantly opposed.  However, our Grand Design has a really well-made murphy bed that is easy to get up and down.  The interior is well designed and perfect for us.  The murphy bed was a compromise but well worth it, and we don't miss having a dinette at all!

Personal touches and a homey feel has made this purchase one that we love a year later.

Don't Get Pressured Into a Purchase

During the shopping process for us, we looked at several floor plans.  This also took us to multiple dealerships both in our home state and to the neighboring state of Alabama.  I made it very clear when we walked onto the lot that we were only shopping and did not intent to buy on that day.  

Unless you are certain of your purchase, don't let high-pressure sales tactics bully you into a purchase you aren't ready to make.  If you only came to shop, only do that.  Don't run a credit check and numbers.  Don't do anything you don't want to do.  Stick to your guns period.  I feel like there is where many people make mistakes.  Be prepared to walk away before you walk in and you will be glad you did.  

There is plenty of room inside for all of us.

Take Your Time

Weigh out your options as you go.  If you are shopping with a significant other, talk it through.  One of you shouldn't be sold on the purchase while the other is feeling apprehensive.  At times, my husband just wanted it to be over and felt like a good sale price would be good enough.  But, I wasn't sold.  We didn't buy it!  And I'm glad.  

We started shopping in March by looking at models online and investing options.  We talked about the price point, made a budget, and made a list of what we wanted.  The actual shopping at dealerships began in May, and we finally purchased in June.  We were not in a hurry.  We had an RV and could wait as long as we wanted.  When we made the final decision, he and I both knew it was the right RV for us.  He and I both agreed, and we are both happy with our purchase to this day.  On every single trip we take, we talk about how much we love our RV.

Even without a dinette, we have made an indoor eating space with TV trays.

Don't Settle

An RV is a big purchase.  Don't settle for less than what you want.  Don't settle for a bargain camper that you aren't going to love because you want to buy something now.  That rush to get into an RV can be very costly.  If you need to wait to make your purchase, then do it.  

And if you positively cannot wait, get a starter RV.  Don't break the bank with a brand new RV that is a compromise.  Get something that is used and in great shape to test the waters and get out there.  Ask a friend or someone knowledgeable to help you check it out.  Many people buy RV's but don't love it or use them as much as they thought, and they will sell them for a bargain.  This is a great way to get started without getting over your head.  A starter RV is one way to test out the features you love or ones you feel like you need or want in your next RV.  We paid $850 for our pop up camper.  It was well worth it, and we didn't take on a huge investment before we knew we would love camping.

Upgrading our mattresses have made a big difference.

Make It Home

Whether you are a weekend warrior or long haul camping, make that space home.  You will love it more and enjoy that time on the road if you make it home!  Give that space personal touches that make you want to be there at the end of the day.  We all love our RV because it is cozy and comfortable.  

Decorative touches make all the difference.

Be Reasonable

This last one is relative to every camper.  We are not full-time RV'ers.  In camping, there are times that you will have to compromise.  You are not going to have everything you have in your home kitchen on the road if you have a small RV.  It is a small space.  Treat it that way.  If you cram it full with a ton of stuff, you will outgrow that space and never be happy!

Last year, we saw a family with so much gear that they were bursting at the seams.  While we were there, they sent out for a new TV for outdoors and a second crockpot.  Items spilled from the cabinets in their outdoor kitchen and she was still stuffing in more things.  Both the husband and wife were talking to us about needing more space.  I felt like they needed less stuff.  If you treat your RV like the space that it is and have reasonable expectations for how much it will hold and what you need, you will love it all the more.  

If you are shopping for a new RV, you can avoid buyer's remorse.  If you put in the time and effort to find that RV that will fit your needs, you will be happier for longer with your purchase.  If you are looking for ideas to spruce up your RV, check out my Glamping Gear Page.  

Until next time...

Pin this post to your favorite Pinterest Board.


  1. Thanks for the tips. We are considering a switch from a pop up to a hybrid and I’m determined not to rush into buying the first hybrid we run across.

    1. Don't rush. I think it is easy to get into a hurry and feel like "I'm not gonna find another one at this price..." (or fill in the blanks with whatever it is that is rushing you). But, really, slow down and make sure you are making the right decision for you. It was hard to move from a pop up to a travel trailer for us. I love our travel trailer but I didn't want to spend the money and I loved our pop up camper so much and it was paid for. You will enjoy it so much more if you take your time.


Thank you for your feedback and comments. I always review before sharing with other readers. Have a great day!