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When Buying an RV

 See also: Used RV Buyers Guide


When Buying an RV, It is Worth it to Shop Around   by Michelle Yau

In Hollywood, the cross-country family trip is often used as an easy way to get laughs. Most people chuckle when they picture Chevy Chase's poor family crammed into the metallic pea Griswold family station wagon from National Lampoon's Vacation, even as we sympathize. After all, how many of us were forced to sit for hours "on the hump" in the back of the family sedan with two siblings complaining bitterly each time one of your legs crossed into "their space"? And all of this in the guise of taking a fun family vacation!

Certainly, cars have continued to become more comfortable and luxurious with each passing year, and the number of SUVs available means it is no longer a necessity to take the family's compact car on vacation at all. Let's be honest though, if you've ever sat in the back of an SUV (or any car) with two other people, it stops feeling comfortable after the first twenty minutes or so. For this reason along with countless others, many families choose to skip the driving experience entirely and schedule a flight instead. However, with escalated airport security resulting in long delays, cramped seating on the planes, limits to what can be carried on the plane, and maybe even a touch of nostalgia for the car trips of our youth, the siren song of the open road begins to have increasing appeal.

If you are a parent who doesn't want to hear, "Mooooooommmm, he's touching me," for several hours straight or a retiree longing to take that dream cross country vacation at a leisurely pace, there is a clear choice, a RV. Recreational vehicles, or what my family always referred to as motor homes, are no longer the gaudy rolling trailers with cheap fixtures and cramped spaces that many people picture. Imagine those rolling luxury hotels that rock stars travel in with features like plush carpeting, ceramic tile, cabinets designated to store wineglasses, LCD televisions, retractable awnings, and even storage for motorcycles. Many of them have a level of opulence so enthralling that you'll be tempted to live in it, even while it's parked in your driveway! The added bonus is that you never have to deal with the hassles of staying in a hotel, such as checkout times, missing reservations, or noisy people in the adjoining room.

Once you decide to purchase a RV, the next choice is the model. There are multiple manufacturers of motor homes including Gulf Stream, Fleetwood, Winnebego, Holiday Rambler and more. With such a large array, it's important to do a lot of research into what features you want and the reliability of the various manufactures. Of course, nothing beats hands on experience, and websites like can help you locate an RV dealership close to you.

Now that you've found your dream vehicle, you are probably ready to jump right in and purchase it. After all, when you are buying something new, there can't be that much of a variation in price from dealership to dealership, right? Surprisingly, the cost variance when comparing new motor homes with identical features can actually be more than the disparities you'd find when buying used recreational vehicles with vast mileage differences. As an example, a 2006 Gulf Stream Crescendo Model 8386 found on was $186,360.00 in Oregon, but it was over $26,000.00 less at the Pennsylvania dealership, Martinsburg RV. You don't even have to drive across the country to find such vast price range. The difference between the cost of a RV purchased in Ohio and Michigan can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over twenty thousand dollars. Even with the soaring cost of gas, it's well worth the trip to save that much money!

These price changes aren't limited to only the most expensive models either. The same Gulf Stream Independence model 8330LS that costs over $90,000.00 in Indiana can be found for $87,000.00 in North Carolina, $66,000.00 in Minnesota or $63,000.00 in Pennsylvania. Certainly once you do some more in depth research, you may locate some options on the $90,000.00 model in Indiana that aren't on the $63,000.00 version in Pennsylvania, but there is little doubt that the dealership charging less would be able to get you the vehicle of your dreams without tacking on an additional $27,000.00 for similar options.

Realizing all of that, it makes perfect sense that your first family vacation in the new RV could be a cross country trip bringing it home from the dealership with the best price!

About the Author

Martinsburg RV is Gulf Stream's largest exclusive dealer in the United States. Located in central Pennsylvania, they will sell and deliver RVs nationwide. Visit to find RVs at a no-hassle price well below the MSRP.

See also: Used RV Buyers Guide

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