10 Things To Know Before Buying A Travel Trailer

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Last Updated on July 12, 2022 by Rose Morah

If you planning to buy a travel trailer, this article gives you 10 things to know before buying a camper trailer.

Let’s get started.

1. Be prepared for extra costs

Most camper trailer buyers only discover after purchasing that a used or new trailer has extra maintenance and repairs costs. 

Therefore, I would highly recommend that instead of spending all your budget to buy the trailer, you set aside some cash to buy things that you will need on the camper.

This always gets many people wondering if a travel trailer is worth it.

A travel trailer is worth it in my opinion, depending on:

  • Whether you will be using it regularly

If you are not going to use it more times in a year, then I would suggest you rethink whether you really need to buy it. 

  • Your primary reason for buying it

Is it because it is cost-effective, especially on long road trips? 

Personally, I find it to be cost-effective because I normally don’t have to pay for hotels or lodgings. I can cook my own meals and comfortably spend the nights in the camper trailer.

travel trailer
Why travel trailer is better than motorized RVs

1. They are cheaper to maintain. They don’t have engine transmission, brakes, and vehicle fluids for maintenance compared to motorized RVs. 

2. It is easier to do repairs on travel trailers compared to RVs. Most of their repairs are basic DIY which you can easily learn even on YouTube. 

2. Do not be in a rush to buy 

So, suddenly you feel like you need to get a travel trailer?

Well, the biggest mistake you can ever make is rushing to purchase one. 

According to a study, 75% of buyers who have rushed to buy a travel trailer end up regretting or feeling incomplete with the travel trailer. 

40% of these buyers end up reselling the trailer a few months after buying.

Therefore, I recommend sitting on your decision to buy for longer, while you:

  • Figure out whether you need a used or a new travel trailer 

Sometimes it is better to buy a used one than a new one.

However, it also depends on your preferences. 

The study has also found that new travel trailers that were made during the pandemic period had a lot of problems compared to the used travel trailers.

Check out our article on how to inspect a used travel trailer for red signs before buying.

See also:

30 Travel Trailer Must-Have Accessories.

Best Travel Trailer Brands (According To Travel Trailer Owners).
If you plan on buying a used travel trailer, avoid those that were made post-pandemic. Otherwise, you may be buying someone’s problems. 
  • Figure out what features are a must-have in the travel trailer

This may seem like common sense to many.

However, a majority of buyers have bought trailers that lack many things that they did not know they needed only to realize later that these were things they actually can’t stay without in the trailer.

The following are tips to help you know your must-have features in a travel trailer.

First, take time and think about the type of camping you plan on doing.

To help you figure out this, you will need to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the types of roads for most of your camping destinations? Are they difficult roads that are off-highway, such as forest/park roads? Or will you be driving most of your time on paved roads?
  1. Will you be camping in campgrounds that have readily available power, showers, and water? Or will you be camping in the woods (disperse camping) where the power, water, and hot showers are unavailable?
  1. Will you be going on long or short road trips? If you will be going on long trips, you need to get a camper that suits all your needs, and with a good floor plan for long trips.
  1. Will you be cooking? If yes, you will need to get a camper that has some good camping kitchen appliances. 
  1. How many people will you be traveling/camping with? What’s their size, are they big or small?
  1. What will you be carrying? This will help you figure out the type of trailer and space you will need for storage on your trailer.

Once you have this in mind, the next step will be to go to different dealers and compare what they are offering to help you come up with a better decision before buying.

You might also like:

10 Best Road Trip Planner Apps/Websites (As Recommended by Travelers).

5 Best Portable WiFi Hotspots for Travel.

3. Know where the travel trailer will be parked

You are ready to buy the trailer.

But have you thought about where it is going to be parked when not in use?

If in the parking, will it fit your parking/driveway? 

Will you be parking it at the trailer storage places?

If yes, have you thought about the extra cost of parking?

4. Find out the weight limits of your tow vehicle

How capable is your tow vehicle?

This is one thing that most people forget to check before buying a travel trailer.

Knowing the weight limits of your tow vehicle helps you choose the right weight and length of the trailer.

This is because you will already be aware of how much weight your vehicle can pull.

My biggest mistake when buying a travel trailer

When buying my first trailer, I failed to check my vehicle’s capabilities. Hence I always had to find ways to reduce the weight on the trailer when traveling. 

I would empty the water tanks just to reduce the extra weight. But eventually, I bought a bigger SUV that was capable of towing the travel trailer.

5. Know how to drive and negotiate small spaces with the travel trailer

If you have never towed a travel trailer before, then I would recommend practicing how to drive and park when towing. 

The study has shown that 60% of new travel trailer owners experienced fears of towing and difficulties when parking.

Don’t underestimate the stress that comes with towing.

Only 40% of new trailer owners have an easier time towing, as long as they remember the basics. 

Buying travel trailer

The following are a few tips to will help you tow and back a travel trailer for the first time:

  • You can start by watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to park and drive your vehicle while towing a trailer.
  • Practice what you see. You can rent a cargo trailer and spend a few hours driving around an empty parking lot, or use cones.
  • Always remember the basics of towing.

Backing a camper trailer

Important tips to remember when parking a towed trailer

  1. Practice backing your trailer many times before going camping.
  2. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and turn the way you want the rear end to go.
  3. Ask the person directing you to stand at the rear of the trailer where they can see obstructions and where you can also see them in the mirror.

You may also like:

How to Find Overlanding Trails (Best Tools & Resources for Finding Trails).

9 Most Important Overlanding Tips and Tricks (A Beginners Guide).

6. Always carry some basic tools

One thing I highly recommend from experience is to never forget to carry basic tools in your tool kit when traveling with your camper.

This is important because most of the time, something will always go wrong along the trip.

Some of the basic tools that I never miss carrying in my camper toolkit include:

  • Tire repair kit.
  • Camper leveler.

Some of the best camper levelers for travel trailers include Rophor and Beech Lane Camper Levelers

See also: What Causes Low Tire Pressure (And The Solutions).

7. Understand fuel consumption when towing the trailer

Before buying a travel trailer, I would recommend you do some research and know how much fuel you will burn when driving with your preferred travel trailer. 

This will help you choose the right travel trailer that is pocket-friendly when going on road trips. 

Countless times, I have seen people abandon their travel trailers simply because their vehicles were consuming a lot of fuel when towing their camper trailers.

They end up spending so much on fuel which makes towing their travel trailer completely not worth it.

8. Budget for a Solar Power

If you plan to frequently travel, you should consider solar power on the trailer.

A majority of people are now moving to the use of clean energy to power their travel trailers when going on road trips.

Why solar power? Because:

  • It is cost-effective.

You only spend money to install. But after that, you get to enjoy free electricity from solar energy.

Additionally, you no longer have to pay for fuel to power your generator.

  • Low maintenance cost.

Most RV trailers’ solar panels require no maintenance at all.

  • No noise.

Unlike generators, solar panels are not noisy.

This is great, especially if you are camping around other people, or if you are trying to get away from the noisy city life and get in touch with mother nature.

When choosing a solar panel for your trailer, be sure to choose the one that will suit your energy needs.

9. Get a walk-around bed

If possible, when looking for a travel trailer, I would recommend getting one that either has or can fit a walk-around bed. 

Why a walk-around bed?

Because it makes getting in and out of the bed easier. You don’t have to crawl over someone to get up and down, which can be stressful to most people.

Additionally, is a lot easier to make the bed.

10. Bonus Tips for new travel trailer buyers

  1. If you do not have experience camping on a travel trailer, on your first camping trip I would recommend starting with flatlands and avoiding mountains and hills.
  2. Avoid towing in the dark if you are in an unfamiliar location. You might not be able to clearly see the ditches or small barriers that your trailer tires may be heading for. 
  3. When driving for the first time, remember to:
  • Maintain a constant speed.
  • Properly signal in advance.
  • Check your mirrors often to avoid driving in someone’s blind spot.
  • Avoid hard tight turns.
  • Always take your time.

Hello there! My name is Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.