So, these are strange times. Quarantine is an everyday word, the country is on lockdown, and springtime RV travel is on indefinite hold.
Please let me state right here in the beginning that we understand the impact the COVID-19 virus has had on so many people and that our hearts go out to all those who have been affected in ways beyond the inconvenience of just having to stay at home. So this article is not to make light of the situation by any means. This is simply to describe our experience of purchasing an RV during this unprecedented time. Let me also state that we understand that this process was a calculated risk and that myself nor my wife are in the high-risk category so we felt the risk was well within what we were comfortable with.
My wife and I had been looking to purchase a new RV for the last couple of years. So this was something we had talked about for some time. We were planning on listing and selling our current Airstream this spring and purchasing a new one.
When the COVID-19 virus started to impact everyday life here in the US, we thought all our plans were going to be put on hold. Though the virus has placed many of our everyday activities and travel plans on hold, we continued to remain optimistic things would improve quickly. We continued a lackluster search without much enthusiasm for finding our next Airstream.
We had a very specific list of likes and dislikes as well as wants and needs. This NEW, yet to be found trailer, would be replacing our beloved current 23D Airstream. We have made a ton of memories with our Airstream, but our kids are getting older and bigger so we really wanted more space.
On a Sunday afternoon, while perusing the internet, I found it! The Airstream of our dreams. A 2020 30′ Globetrotter. It was perfect! The included options, trim, colors, and length were all exactly what we have been looking for. It was within our preferred 500-mile range BUT… What about the virus? What about social distancing? If we were able to negotiate a deal, how will we be able to complete the purchase and pick up the trailer?
Well, fortunately, we were able to reach a great deal, purchase the unit, pick it up from the dealer, and bring it back home.
Here is the story of how it all came together. We found the trailer at The RV Shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I emailed the dealer through the “Contact Us” link on their website. Much to my surprise, I received an email back from the sales manager, John, about 30 minutes later. We exchanged pleasantries and agreed to speak on the phone the next day.
John called me the next morning and he confirmed that they did indeed have the trailer on the lot and that is was what we were looking for. Now for the hard part… agreeing on a price. I will say that I was surprised the negotiation process was fairly simple and we quickly were able to reach a verbal agreement. Once the purchase price was agreed upon, we put a $2000.00 refundable deposit on the trailer.
The dealer’s end of the deal
The purchase and delivery process was very well thought out by the dealership. John and his team worked very hard to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties involved.
The process was to proceed as follows: The Dealership would be closed for the public (walk-in business) so we were to call them when we arrived and someone would open the gate and let us in. The Dealer would have the trailer prepared for delivery, have it prepped, cleaned, and under their outside awning awaiting our inspection.
The paperwork for the completion of the deal would be inside the RV on the dining table. We were to inspect the trailer and make sure it was to our satisfaction and in good order. Once we decided the trailer was for us, we would complete the paperwork by signing all the clearly marked highlighted areas. The paperwork and down payment was then turned over to the dealer without direct contact for them to review.
We had previously provided a copy of my driver’s license and proof of insurance via email. Once the dealer was satisfied with the paperwork, we were free to hook up the trailer and leave.
Our end of the deal
Now for our part of the plan. The dealership was located in Baton Rouge, LA. This was approximately 400 miles from our home in Alabama. Our plan was pretty straightforward. We packed an ice chest with drinks, sandwiches, and a snack bag. Leaving our house at 7 am with a full tank of diesel we could drive the entire way.
We made one planned stop 3 miles from the dealership for fuel which would give us enough fuel to return home once we had picked up the trailer. We arrived at the dealership around 1 pm. We spent right at 1 hour at the dealership and then started the drive home.
The trip home with the trailer followed the same plan as the trip down with the exception of two bathroom stops, as we were now towing our bathroom with us. We arrived back home around 8 pm, safe and sound and exhausted after the long day.
Now we understand this process is not for everyone and realize the entire process was very unorthodox, but for us and based on the current situation, it worked. The entire process went very smooth and I contribute that to John and The RV Shop. They had everything in order for us and were very informative throughout the entire process. We could not be happier with the deal and the purchase process.
Now we’ve just gotta get this whole COVID-19 thing in our rearview mirror so we all can get out there and enjoy our RV travel. We will be ready with our new Airstream!
See also: An RV Show All Year Round: A Stress-Free Experience