In a couple of weeks, the annual NZMCA motorhome show will roll around in Hamilton giving thousands of people including us the chance to spend up to 3 days wandering around looking at the latest offerings from several different companies. This brings with it the prospect of sore feet after many hours trudging round on concrete floors. So it’s time to prepare a plan of action around how you will survive this.
Well, that would have been a big mistake.
Two years ago we went to the show to look at replacing the motorhome we had owned for the last 17 years. Despite the show being really well laid out and not really knowing what to expect we found ourselves almost overwhelmed by both the choice of motorhomes/caravans not to mention the sheer volume of people at the show.
Because we hadn’t developed a plan of action as well as a comprehensive checklist for the new motorhome. Before we went to the show we almost purchased a motorhome, that we now know, we wouldn’t have been happy with. How did this happen? We had a good idea of what we wanted and what we didn’t want we even had a sort of mental list to check off, but we should have had something much more formal.
So how did it all go so wrong?
I guess rose coloured glasses or slick salesman speak could be part of it, but the greatest mistake we made was not having worked out exactly what we wanted and what compromises if any we were prepared to make. In other words, we had no real plan of action, so when on the first morning of the show we saw a motorhome that we thought filled the bill we almost purchased it. The only thing that saved us was going away to have a cup of coffee to think about it, returning to make the purchase only to discover it had just been sold to another person.
How did we know it was the wrong motorhome?
After hours of walking around the show, somewhat disappointed that we had missed out we returned to our old one for the night. After hours on concrete floors, Sarah had restless legs and found sleep difficult. Thinking it would be nice to have easy access to another bed so she could get comfortable we realised when we talked about it the following day, that the motorhome we almost brought required multiple cushions to be pushed together in the lounge to create a second bed. Not what we wanted as this would also restrict the use of the motorhome if we had family with us.
So what would we do differently next time?
It’s easy to say plan it better but actually doing that requires a dedicated effort. Make a list of all the “must-haves” for your motorhome. Then spend the first day of the show wandering around looking at all models of motorhomes taking notes of the ones that come closest to meeting your specifications. That night or the following morning go through your list and cull the marginal ones.
Day two return to the show (hopefully refreshed after a decent night’s sleep). Start the process of going through each vehicle you have identified, don’t be hurried by pushy salespeople take as much time as you need and start rating the features against your must-have list. Try out the beds, imagine yourself cooking in the kitchen, most importantly check the luggage areas, is there enough space. That night I would then go through all the contenders and talk them through with my partner.
Day three, hopefully, your list is down to two or three motorhomes and at this point it’s time to start getting serious. Revisit all the features that you have identified as necessary in each vehicle, then start checking for faults. Can you live with that? Would this drive you insane? Car licence v’s class 2. WOF v’s COF etc.
Putting pen to paper
It’s important to know are you buying this van, that’s on display or will your van need to be made to order for delivery some months hence. If that’s the case, how will this affect your travel plans? Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount although it’s not as common to get one as say when buying a car, it is as they say if you don’t ask you don’t get. Sometimes they might not want to give you a discount off the price, but you might be able to wrangle a free bike rack/towbar etc.
Most companies these days offer a decent warranty but make sure you understand what is on offer and how long you are covered for. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on something there are always going to be small and sometimes large things that will require attention after the sale has to be completed. If you are living hundreds of km’s from the seller you need to find out how these will be rectified you don’t want to have to bring it back.
Other things about the show.
You can stay onsite with arrivals from 12 noon on Thursday, this year there is a small cost to stay here, but it’s nothing when you think about what you might be spending. This is the largest collection of motorhomes parked up at any one time in New Zealand, so it’s also a great chance to wander the fields and look at other peoples motorhomes maybe get chatting to them if theirs is a brand or type you are considering and ask what they think. Most people are amiable and will talk easily about their motorhome, so a great way to gain inside knowledge.
Food and drink isn’t exactly cheap inside the show so if you don’t want to pay $15 for a hamburger then pack a backpack with drink and food. Sometimes, however, it is nice to spoil yourself with a few greasy chips.
What else is on display?
Of course, not everyone heading to the show will be looking at motorhomes or caravans some will be heading there like we are, just to be nosy others will be going to look for much-needed accessories of which there a large number of companies selling this sort of stuff. There are also companies selling EBikes and electric scooters something for almost anyone.
Since this show is also the NZMCA’s show, they are there on-site to offer advice and memberships along with business partners such as Covi Insurance making the show a one-stop-shop and well worth the $25 per person admission price for a 3-day pass.
If you want to read the original post I wrote about this show click here.
If you want more information about the show, click here
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To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings, we have done for places we have stayed click here