7 Clever Ways to Get A Good Deal On A Travel Trailer

Travel trailers are sold on a lot higher margins than regular vehicles are. This is to a great extent because of the way that RV offers most of their deals in the late spring months and see substantially fewer sales during the remainder of the year. Part of the reason for this is that 3/4 of the nation that has a winter to deal with.

Likewise, travel trailers are considered a luxury thing so they are typically acquired by individuals who can pay more. Truth be told, it’s very easy to spend more on your new camper than you do on a new car, and the camper doesn’t even have an engine in it.

I respect the fact that RV sales need to make their living like anyone else, however, I also want to make sure that I get the best deal possible. Here are a couple of things that have worked for me, or which I have heard work really well for other people.

Before you decide to make a major investment on a camper, try renting one before you actually purchase one to see if you will actually like camping in an RV. There are many places you can go to rent campers. Outdoorsy is a great place to start and you can discover huge amounts of camper trailers to rent at good costs.

Shop The Entire Country, Especially Indiana

When we were shopping for our camper, we did a lot of searching. We traveled to all the dealerships within 3 hours of our house. We also searched on craigslist and Facebook market place trying to find the best deal.

You can typically expect to pay $3,000 or more for your travel trailer than for a similar trailer available to be purchased at dealers in Indiana. Why?  Freight is less to the dealership, and local dealers can sell all year so they do not need to increase the trailers as high as other areas.

Delivery a travel trailer can be too costly and expensive. Truth be told, it generally costs about $2 per mile because of the huge size, overwhelming weight, and trouble in loading a camper. To help compensate for the huge freight expenses to get the camper to the dealership, they have to pass the cost on to you.

The center point for the assembling and manufacturing of RV’s in the United States is Indiana, so freight costs in the south and mid-west are typically way lower to get the trailer to the vendor.

If you discover a trailer you like locally, you should try Googling the model number/name of the travel trailers to see if different dealerships in different territories of the nation have what you are looking for. See what their lists of expenses and costs are to get an idea of what sort of markup your vendor is putting on the travel trailer. You can also contact the dealers in another state and inquire about having the trailer delivered so you can get an idea on how much it costs. An even better idea is you could jump in the truck and go on a little trip. It may be worth it in the end for the discounts you may get!

Look For Lightly Used

The normal recreational vehicle is exchanged or sold like clockwork every three years. The reason for this is because of the way that individuals needs change after some time. Some of these reasons may be another child means you need another bunk, the children venture out from home and mother and father need a smaller camper, or individuals don’t get out as frequently as they thought they would so they decide to sell their camper, and so forth.

For this reason, it’s pretty easy to find decent used travel trailers available. Before you buy another trailer, at any rate, glance through your nearby dealerships, Craigslist, and RVTrader.com to see what kind of alternatives are available to you.

One of our favorite past times are looking at new campers. It’s fun to see the different layouts and what each brand has to offer. I’m not saying that you should go out and buy a brand new camper.

Although it’s tempting, I have heard that you will have to bring a new camper back to the dealership many times for warranty issues because of the way they are mass-produced. Buying a slightly used one typically means that the previous owner probably already had to deal with all these warranty issues so you will not only save yourself some money but also save yourself the headache of dealing with so many warranty issues right off the bat.

Used travel trailers do not deteriorate as much as some other recreational vehicles. You can typically expect to save a few thousand dollars by purchasing a trailer that is just 2 or 3 years of age and has seen very little use.

Before buying a used RV, you will want to make sure you do a thorough inspection before you commit to buying.

Compete Dealerships Against Each Other

This is my preferred strategy for purchasing an RV or car. In my experience, you can typically expect to talk the vendor down $6,000.

We make sure we shop around and then find 2 similar ones that we like. Then we start getting the dealerships to compete for your business.

This is the same strategy that we use when we buy a car. We find 2 vehicles that we like equally and then go with whoever gives us the best deal. This strategy works best if you have cash in hand or your financing already ahead of time.

Negotiating your price is not rude and you shouldn’t feel bad about doing it. It is in your best interest to get the best deal possible for your money. This is true, even when you are honest, you should work to negotiate and get the best cost. The sellers and dealers are young men and young women. They will not sell except if it is a decent deal for them, so you do not need to feel bad about negotiating to get a decent cost. Dealerships expect this and price their vehicles and campers with this in mind. It gives them wiggle room so you get a good deal and they still make money.

Never Buy On Your First Visit

Each sales representative realizes that the first visit is the best time to get somebody to purchase since they can take a shot at your emotions. They will try to figure out what camper you like the most and try to create a sense of urgency.

I like to make it clear to the salesman that we are just there to look at what they have to offer. In my experience, if they think that you are just browsing and not purchase right now, they are more likely to leave you alone and let you look at the camera by yourself.

This is important because the more campers you look at, the more you will get a feel for what you really want. You will find that the more campers you look at, the more you will change your mind in what you want and need. This is especially true if you are planning on living in your camper full time.

Watch Out For The Missing Pieces

The price of travel trailers can be pretty deceptive. Assume you see a $20,000 trailer at one dealership and a $22,000 trailer at another vendor. It would be easy to think that the $20,000 trailer is more affordable. However, this may not be the case.

After visiting numberous dealers over a couple week span and having them give me the low down, here are a couple of additional items and missing things that I saw at the dealerships:

  • One vendor offered yearly winterizing for the length of time that I possess the trailer. That would save me around $120 every year for a however long I owned the camper. So if I owned that camper for 10 years, that would be about $1200 savings.
  • One dealership had a storage area and offered free storage for a year. This can cost anywhere between $50-$450 a month depending on if it’s a heated storage area.
  • One dealership had a $400 freight charge and a $350 processing charge.Those are extra fees that you may not have counted on having to pay for.
  • The majority of the dealerships, I visited did not include hoses for the camper, so those would be an extra expense to consider.
  • Only 50% of the dealerships included the two batteries that I would require for my camper. Some included only one and some offered a price including both batteries.

Sales tax is also not included in the cost, so you will have to keep that in mind. If your camper costs $20,000 and your state has a 6% sales tax, you can expect to pay an extra $1,200.

Dealer documents and title charges are also an additional cost that is added on. Depending on what state you live in, you can typically expect this to cost around $300.

There are other things that the camper may not include that you will need to purchase right away, for example, an extra tire and spread to mount on the back.

You may also need to buy a generator. A generator is not required but they do come in handy, especially if you decide to do any boondocking. You should plan on spending somewhere in the range of $1,000 and $2,500 for a decent generator. Do your research and try to find a quite one that will fit all your needs. Try not to be “that person” who purchases the loud $400 generator from Lowes and makes the entire campground go insane.

Negotiate For A Gift Card

At the point when you buy your new travel trailer, you will likely have a lot of related costs that you don’t think of at first. These can include seemingly insignificant details like purchasing a black water hose, to large things like a generator.

If you buy your new travel trailer from a dealership that also has a store with extras (most dealers do), you should request a $250 gift voucher to their store to push you over the margin. This will help them to get you back to their store and you can get free extras. It’s a win win situation.

Check Out Different Brands

Be sure to do your research on the different brands and what they have to offer. If you are buying a camper with a warranty, check out how well they stand behind their warranty and how easily it is to get your camper repaired.

There is nothing worse than buying a new camper and not being able to use it all season because it’s out for a warranty repair.

If you are planning on living in your RV full time, do your research on what brands will hold up best to the demands.

Rent Before Buying

In case you are thinking about purchasing an RV or Camper travel trailer, I strongly recommend you rent one first. This will help to ensure it is one you will truly enjoy.

You can find out what your requirements are and what features you are want in your travel trailer. Campers are expensive and purchasing an the wrong one can turn out to be an expensive mistake. There are lots of places to rent from. Outdoorsy is an incredible spot for discovering RVs and Campers to rent in your area.


I hope you have found some new and innovative ideas to help you buy a new travel trailer for your family. Good luck with trying to negotiate the best deal possible, be on the lookout to make sure you don’t get taken.

Related Posts:
Guide to Full-Time RV Living For Beginners
2020 RV Shows: State-By-State Schedule
Different Types of Campground Memberships

Scroll to Top