You’re surely aware of the concept of supply and demand, right? Essentially, the more sought-after a service or product becomes, the more the price is often jacked up. You can see supply and demand all around you in everyday life. It’s why a snow shovel is $50 in the wintertime and then only $10 in the summer. It’s the same shovel, but who needs one when there’s no snow on the ground?
Supply and demand applies to RVs as well. So what is the best time of year to buy a travel trailer? Many RV owners say late summer is the ideal time to start your search for a new travel trailer. Have you ever wondered why that is? Then read on, because we’re going to explain that as well as everything you need to know to save money and still get a great vehicle you can enjoy for years to come.
Why Late Summer?
Why late summer indeed? There are two reasons.
The first comes back to supply and demand. By the end of the summer, many people are done with their travel plans until at least next spring. They’re winding down and preparing for winter and are thus not planning long treks. If you compare this to the beginning of spring or even summer, travel trailers will be selling like hotcakes because everyone wants to plan a road trip.
There’s another reason to wait until the end of the summer to find the perfect trailer for you. Late summertime is when RV manufacturers introduce their upcoming vehicles (in this case, the 2019s). They want to make as much room as possible on their lots to showcase these brand-spanking-new RVs and travel trailers so they can sell them.
The older vehicles on the lot are seen as a nuisance, and many manufacturers will be eager to get rid of them. There may be steep discounts and sales on these vehicles that you can take advantage of. Sometimes it’s possible to shave $40,000 off the price of your travel trailer! How about that?
Of course, do be aware that these older trailers will have to be sold as-is in many instances. That means don’t expect the wealth of customization options you normally have when buying a new vehicle. If you can live with that, though, then you can potentially get a great, relatively new travel trailer if you shop at this time.
Will You Get Better Prices in the Wintertime?
During the winter, few people are thinking of RVs. This seems like an ideal time to strike when the iron’s hot, right? That’s just the problem, though…the iron isn’t exactly hot. Some manufacturers may have sales in December or January, but this is by no means a guarantee.
Think of it like this: would you buy a swimsuit in the winter? You could, but it would probably be full price. Retailers only start offering swimsuit sales in March and April once the weather warms up. It’s essentially the same way with RVs and travel trailers. The sales will start later in the season.
Can You Haggle to Lower the Price of a Travel Trailer?
Okay, say you find a pretty great travel trailer that you’re interested in buying. It checks off a lot of your boxes, but it’s a little more expensive than you wanted to pay. Can you haggle a bit to get some money off? Is that tacky?
It can be. Obviously, if you’re buying a new travel trailer, like a 2018 or a 2019, then the MSRP or list price pretty much is what it is. Some manufacturers may offer a 20-percent discount and sometimes even a 30-percent discount, but not always. You can also forego bonus features to lower the price a little, but that’s about it.
If you’re shopping for a used travel trailer from a personal seller, then you can always try to convince them to lower the price. Again, there are no expectations or promises that the seller will do that. It’s better to shop around and find a travel trailer that’s closer to your budget instead.
Is It Okay to Get a Used Vehicle? What about a Cheap One?
Speaking of used travel trailers, is it okay to get one? New trailers can sometimes cost five and even six figures, so if you want to save money by going used, you absolutely should.
Of course, not all used vehicles are created equally. Some have been lovingly maintained by their owner over the years. These will require regular maintenance and maybe a little TLC, but otherwise they’re ready to be driven.
Other used vehicles may have more serious issues, such as roof damage, mold, leaks, holes, and tears. Sure, the travel trailer still runs, and the seller might even give you a generous discount. Still, the amount of time and money you’d have to spend on these major repairs negates the original asking price. These trailers are money-pits that you’ll sink far more cash into than what the vehicle’s worth.
That’s why you should remember the old adage that you get what you pay for. If a travel trailer looks a little too good to be true, it probably is. That’s not to say you can’t get cheap deals if you’re a savvy shopper. You definitely can. However, if you find a listing online where the seller is offloading their vehicle for several hundred or even several thousand dollars lower than the original MSRP, you should be weary.
Always check out the vehicle in-person. Inspect it inside and out, looking at every nook and cranny. If something seems amiss, ask about it. Never buy a travel trailer based off online pictures. You’ll almost certainly regret it.
If you want to get the best deal on a travel trailer, you should shop for one at the end of the summer. This is the time when many manufacturers are rolling out new vehicles and are eager to sell older models. You could save thousands of dollars this way!