Buying a travel trailer is a huge investment – many times, depending on the model or style you choose, the cost can be in the thousands. It is important to think about certain things you need and want when looking to purchase a travel trailer. Below are some tips to help you choose.How you can choose the right travel trailer for your needs.Take a look at this article to find all of my tips on best travel trailer.
Know your budget
Depending on the type of travel trailer you purchase – the types are discussed below – they can cost about $10,000 for a basic unit to $100,000 or more for a souped-up version, with all the bells and whistles. Experts say to look for the best deals by scouring ads – many times you can purchase a preowned model that is just as good as new – and thousands of dollars cheaper.
Others want to know when is the best time of year to buy a travel trailer brand new from a dealership? Generally, at the end of the summer, dealerships tried to sell last year’s inventory, and you can get a good deal. However, this could vary depending on sales, etc. A lot of times there are holiday sales, such as Labor Day or Memorial Day. Keep scouring circulars or the internet for sales.
When you do buy, you should plan to negotiate the price. It never hurts to ask for a deal, and many times manufacturers will offer rebates and incentives to dealers so they can turn it around and offer that value back to you. In addition, dealers often inflate prices at least 40 percent. Ask the dealer for the invoice from the manufacturer of the trailer you are looking at, and then begin bargaining up from that point.
Think about the type of trailer you want
There are many, many kinds of travel trailers to choose from. Think about how you plan to use your trailer – will it haul jet skis or ATVs? Will it be something you will be taking on many camping trips during the summer? Let’s look at some of the options you have:
- Fifth-wheel travel trailers: These are probably the most expensive – and can be the most luxurious. Some people live in these year-round. Many times, these trailers rest in the bed of a truck for towing, so you need to think about weight as mentioned previously. Fifth wheels almost always have storage space – some even come with two levels and are quite comfortable when hooked up to electric, water and sewer. When purchasing fifth wheels, also think about what kind of storage capacity you have. Some people are lucky enough to be able to store it on their own property; others have to rent space.
- Pull-behind travel trailers: As the name suggests, these are usually recreational trailers that are attached to a ball hitch and pulled behind a vehicle. They are intended for shorter camping trips and can be a good choice for first-time travel trailer buyers as they are usually inexpensive. Storage is generally easier, fitting in a driveway in most cases.
- Pop ups, tent trailers and folding campers: Most of these collapse for easier transport. They usually can be towed by a small SUV or a car. There are usually several options, such as how many beds, and there is usually plenty of space for supplies and gear.
Know how big of a trailer you can tow
Before you purchase, you also need to think about how much your vehicle can tow. To figure this out, take a look at the owner’s manual for your car, SUV or truck to determine the maximum weight it can tow. With the trailer, you are looking for the GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight – the weight your trailer is when it is fully loaded with supplies. (Don’t look at “dry weight,” as that is the weight of the trailer before it is geared up.) You should not plan to go over the weight your vehicle can tow, as it is not safe. You will also have to either get a hitch attached to your vehicle, one that fits the GVW of the trailer, or you will have to make sure any existing hitch can haul the amount of weight.
Figure out the length of trailer you want
Figuring out the length is equally as important as weight. Buy one that is too small and you will not have enough space; one that is too big and you may have trouble maneuvering in traffic or parking in spaces. You also want to think about what options you can fit into an amount of space. For example, a 12-foot camper can have one bed and a kitchen area, while a 35-foot could feature several beds and a larger kitchen space. You also need to factor in the amount of length of the towing vehicle to the length of the trailer – combined length could easily be 50 feet. And backing up with 50 feet of trailer and vehicle could be difficult if you are not used to it.
Think about what extra options you want in a travel trailer
Finally, as mentioned before, trailers come as a basic entry unit, or ones with several features. What do you want in your camping or traveling experience? Do you want a television set and audio? Do you want an upgraded kitchen? Do you want more space for storage? Keep in mind that any upgrades will not only add to the cost of the vehicle, but will add to the GVW, as well.
One final note: Make sure to do comparison shopping. Shop the internet, go to dealers, and cruise Websites for people commenting on the trailer you are interested in. You can also talk to people in places where you camp to find out what things you may not be thinking about. All of this research can help you choose the best travel trailer to purchase to meet your needs.