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Thinking about buying your first RV but don’t know where to start or which one is right for you? Check out our five tips to make your novice purchasing experience feel like one of the professionals. Then read up on some of the best camping spots in Upstate New York to park your new RV in.

Take Your Time Researching First

The right RV research done well often takes up to a year in preparation before you actually land on the one you decide to purchase. Becoming familiar with more than just a shiny new floor plan takes time, as it’s important to be able to spot cheap components beyond surface looks such as structural water damage and faulty pipes. Don’t just stop at online research, do some hands-on testing as well by renting a similar RV model to the one you think you want to buy in order to test if it’s the right one for you and your camping needs. 

Join an RV Community 

Join online RV enthusiast groups to receive opinions and advice, watch experienced owners give tips and tricks on YouTube, or join local meetup groups so you can talk to someone who actually owns a camper first-hand. Connecting with a community of RV owners is also a great way to find experienced and caring RV owners looking to upgrade and wanting to sell their old vehicles. If you’re looking to view a wide variety of models without the pressure to actually buy one just yet, try an RV show to walk around, ask questions and get to know the campers.

Decide Whether Buying New or Used is Right for You  

Brand new RVs can have their own set of issues before they’ve even ever been driven off the lot, starting all the way back to manufacturing malfunctions. Buying used can save you half the cost of buying new and includes the proper repairs already put into place. Just make sure when looking for a private seller they are able to show legitimate records proving the vehicle has been well maintained over the years. Facebook Marketplace and online travel seller groups are great places to find private RV sellers. However, a benefit to keep in mind about buying new is that while it may cost you more, a new RV comes installed with the latest up-to-date features and no previous mileage.    

Consider Maintenance and Repair Costs

Maintenance costs may include brakes, bearings, a propane gas test, new tires, and general wear and tear repairs. Along with general maintenance costs, expensive repairs can arise as well throughout the years. According to axleaddict.com if you take your unit to a large dealership for repairs you could end up paying a minimum of $129 per hour and upwards of $189 per hour if the RV originally cost more.  

Decide How You’re Going to Use Your RV

The perfect cross-country RV—ready to hit every National Park—probably looks a bit different than an RV fit for family weekends at the local campground. An important tip to remember when shopping for an RV is, the larger the vehicle, the more limited your camping spot options are as many campgrounds have a reduced number of spots that take bigger RVs, and they tend to book up fast. Another point to consider is what type of climates your RV could be enduring. Depending on travel preference, make sure your camper comes equipped to withstand salty coast air vs. cold and snowy winds. Furthermore, climate preferences will help you decide whether or not your new trailer should come installed with heat and air conditioning. To help determine the size and space you need, think about how many people you will typically be traveling with. 

Now that you have a better idea of what RV you should be buying—explore some of the best camping spots in Upstate New York to take in some natural beauty. 

Green Lakes State Park: Featuring two glacial lakes known for their vibrant teal green color and surrounded by upland forest, Green Lakes State Park is a must see natural beauty. Visitors can also enjoy an 18 hole golf course in the summer and snowshoe in the winter with 15 miles of trails to explore all year round. 

Old Forge Adirondacks: Surround yourself with high climbs to mountain fresh air, gorgeous lake views, and family-friendly events year-round. Explore the town and shop around, then dine out at a craft brewery or mountainside smokehouse.

Letchworth State Park: Widely referred to as “Grand Canyon of the East” and named the best state park in the nation by USA Today, the Genesee River roars through the gorges creating beautiful waterfalls to hike and discover. Letchworth offers everything from nature, performing arts, rafting, and in the winter, snow tubing. 

Cranberry Lake State Park: Escape into nature and spend a quiet night under the stars by one of the largest remote lakes in the Adirondacks. Choose from 171 campsites and enjoy activities like fishing, boating, hiking, and swimming. 

Hamlin Beach State Park: This state park showcases sandy beaches, clear water, and 264 tent and trailer campsites located right on the shore of Lake Ontario. Spend a day swimming at the beach, walk or bike the trails, fish, and enjoy the picnic facilities.