RV Buying Process

I have a process that I use for almost all purchases. It’s described in detail in my book The Joy of Efficiency.

First we visited a local dealer (1 hr away) in late January 2021 and we checked out the Travato G & K floorplans. We liked the K layout on paper, and confirmed that in person. We also wanted a KL model so we could have the battery bank to run our A/C if we left our dog in the van. They did have a 2021 KL in the lot, but not with the color/options we wanted. We’re in no rush, so we decided to order a 2022 KL.

We picked our options and asked for their best price – I even mentioned that I had seen 25%-30% MSRP discounts from multiple people on a Facebook Travato forum. They came back at 24.5% off. So I contacted two other dealers – one about 4.5 hours away and another near the factory. Everyone prices differently (some have doc fees or prep fees), so I just added up everything that was not TT&L and used that as the comparison price to MSRP. One other quoted 25% off, but another opened at 27.2% off (even including an $895 prep fee). I emailed the local dealer to see if they could match, and they didn’t respond. A phone call to the 27.2% dealer and I got them to 27.8% off. Less than an hour later my local dealer called me and asked what price would make me a buyer. I told them the OTD price of the 27.8% off (in retrospect I probably should have told them a better number, but I’m honest). He said they would beat that by a little. We ended up with 28.2% off MSRP.

I know others have found better discounts in the past, but inventory seems a bit tight, and they seem a little less anxious about sales. I could have  played them back and forth for a little more off, but at some point it’s good enough. We got a year 2022 model at the very start of the production year loaded with exactly what we wanted. Set for a late May / early June delivery and my pick-up will be just under an hour away.

Choosing an RV

We’ve travelled extensively in the past few decades. We’ve usually flown to an area, rented a vehicle, and explored a loop from the destination airport. We’ve been thinking about getting an RV for a few years and have researched the options.

The first big decision was a trailer or camper vehicle. We tend to not stay at any one location for a long time, so the camper vehicle seemed to fit our needs better. Then we had to figure out what size. With just two of us, and our dog Bebop, we decided a camper van, also known as a Class B RV, was the right choice for us. It is smaller and more nimble than most RVs.

Next we compared all the available models using the time tested research mode I’ve described in my book The Joy of Efficiency. We looked at specs, reviews, reliability data, and more and narrowed in on the Winnebago Travato as a good choice for us. It didn’t stop there, as there are two different floor plans that we had to analyze – and then a decision on a lithium battery system or a traditional gas generator.

We made our decision based on the floor plans and then we visited a local dealer and climbed into both vehicles to make sure we were heading in the right direction. We decided on the Travato KL model with the lithium batteries instead of a generator. The battery bank allows us to be quietly off grid – and keep our dog cool if we are out on a hike where dogs aren’t allowed.