How to Pick The Right Travel Trailer

Struggling to find the perfect camper? Overwhelmed searching through the more than 90,000 travel trailers for sale?

We get it. Finding the dream camper that fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs can feel like a full time job – and nobody has time for another one of those.

Here you’ll find 7 things to consider when you’re shopping for your travel trailer and tips for finding your camper. Use these to quickly find your future camper and get out into the world enjoying life!

Table of Contents

What is a Travel Trailer Anyway?

A travel trailer is a towable RV that you can hitch to the back of a vehicle to take with you on road trips, vacations, or even to use as a temporary – or permanent – home. 

In the early 1900s adventurers called “tin can tourists” created their own travel trailers by building tents or small structures to the backs of their cars. 

Travel trailers became more popular in the 1930s. Some folks even used their small travel trailers as housing to get through The Great Depression. 

Travel trailers have come a long way in the last 100 years. Now you’ll often find bathrooms, full indoor and/or outdoor kitchens, slide outs for extra room, bunk beds, or even built-in workstations!

The innards of a travel trailer have changed and the technology used to build them has improved, but travel trailers are still a budget friendly way to get out and enjoy the world without having to sleep on the cold, hard, lumpy ground.

shop for a travel trailer

What to Look for in a Travel Trailer


One of the most important questions to ask before you buy a travel trailer is “how many people will sleep in it”? Consider these two types of campers depending who you’ll camp with:

Bunkhouse Campers For Families or Groups

If you’re bringing along a family with 2 or more kids or a group of friends, check out bunkhouse travel trailers.

Some RVs may have a dinette or sofa that converts into extra sleeping space. A bunkhouse will have even more dedicated beds with one or more sets of bunks.

You can find a bunkhouse RV by looking for letters like “BH (Bunk House),” “DB (Double Bunk),” or “TB (Triple Bunk)” on an RV’s model name.

Go play 26bh with sleeping room for 10
The Go Play 26BH sleeps up to 10 people

Couple’s Campers for 2 or Small Groups

The name says it all. A couple’s camper is built for 2. These can also be a good fit for solo travelers or couples with one or two small children.

You’ll find less dedicated sleeping space in one of these, but a little more space to move around.

Check out Josh the RV Nerd’s reviews of different couple’s campers to see if one is right for you.

brinkley z air 285 travel trailer for couple's
the Z 285 is the 1st couple’s travel trailer from Brinkley RV!


New travel trailers can range from $12,000 to $100,000.

Yes, that range is enormous.

Click below to learn more about what makes a travel trailer more or less expensive so you can set a reasonable budget for your next camper and decide which features you think are worth paying for:


consider size and weight when you buy an rv

How much space will you need? Here are a couple things to consider before picking a camper:

  • If you’re traveling with a family, you may need a larger RV than if you’re traveling solo.
  • Many campers have slides. These will increase your weight, but add a lot of space to move around.
  • Where you’re going matters! RV parks and National Parks may have size and weight limits. 98% of national parks allows RVs under 19′ and 90% allow RVs under 25′, according to JD Power.
  • Your tow vehicle, from mini van or SUV to full-size truck, needs to be able to tow whatever you pick. Start with the truck in mind. Read more below for tips.

Towing a Travel Trailer

A larger camper is usually a heavier camper.

Whatever you buy, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle can tow it. Never let a dealer talk you into a camper that you can’t safely tow!

Learn the ins and outs of safe towing with Josh the RV Nerd:

Safe towing tips from Josh the RV Nerd

When you’ve narrowed down the right size and weight for your camper you can use filtering options on most dealer sites to find RVs in your range:

filter your travel trailer search at


Is traveling in full, home-like comfort up your alley? Many campers have full kitchens and bathrooms with different levels of fancy finishes.

Check out reviews and floor plans to make sure the camper you choose has the comforts you need.

Example: The Reflection 312 BHTS from Grand Design feels more like home with luxury kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and bunks. A Jay Flight SLX 174BH also has these features, but less space and luxury – and a smaller price tag.

Do you prefer roughing it a bit, but still want to get off the ground and have somewhere to fry up the fish you caught at the lake?

Some campers keep things super simple. You can find options that have an indoor bed with access to a sink and outdoor kitchen. 

The Bushwhacker 10HD is a popular option for RVers looking for a more rustic experience:

Inside the Bushwhacker 10HD
The 10HD has a small, outdoor kitchen and no bathroom.


Your RV needs aren’t the same as Stinky Phil who lives down the street. You probably want some way to brush your teeth, for example.

Naturally, you’ll have specific wants and needs in your travel trailer features.

Consider some of these features:

  • Slides (look for an S in the model name)
  • Bunks (B or BH)
  • Storage space
  • Extended camping season features (enclosed underbelly, insulation, etc)
  • Cabinetry quality and finishes
  • Interior design style (modern, farmhouse, great grandma’s cabin, etc)
  • Tank, solar, and fridge capacity
  • Windows and window coverings
  • Travel access: When the slides are in and you’re in road mode, can you access important areas?

Video walkthroughs and floor plan reviews can help you find the features that matter most to you.


Conventional (stick and tin) vs fiberglass sided campers

Travel trailers can be made of different materials. There are conventional (or “stick and tin”) and fiberglass options. Each has pros and cons.

See the graphic below or learn more about the different types of RV construction to decide which is best for you.


Deciding whether to buy a new or used travel trailer is a big decision. Consider some of these factors before you buy:


  • Comes with a manufacturer warranty
  • May have “quirks” that need to be worked out or repaired
  • Easier to find the perfect floor plan with more options to choose from


  • Less expensive
  • More features or space for your money
  • Comes as-is – all flaws are yours to take care of

Tips to Find the Right Travel Trailer for You!

Popular travel trailers are chosen a lot for a reason! More RVers love the floor plans, options, sizes, towability, warranty, etc.

Check out the current list of most popular travel trailers in the USA to see if one of them is right for you.


Talk to other RVers and read or watch online reviews to help you find your travel trailer. This can help you get an idea of what other people think of different trailers and RV dealers.

Josh the RV Nerd, as you’ve seen here, is known for his honest RV video reviews. With thousands of RV reviews, he can help you narrow down your search. 

Need help choosing your RV? Contact an RV outfitter at Bish’s for help finding your dream RV.

This 10 question guide can help you find the best RV for you. Click below to get your handy RV shopping checklist:

answer these questions to find your next rv
Click to download your printable RV shopping guide


There are many different models for each RV brand. This handy guide can help you understand the different model names so you can get a better idea of what’s available and find what you’re looking for faster.

Click to read our RV floor plan guide


Take your time and shop around to get a feel for what’s available and what’s the best fit for you. No dealership is perfect for every RVer. Call and visit different RV dealerships to see which has the best options for you. 

Unfortunately, not every RV dealer is upfront with their pricing. Use these tips to make sure you’re not overpaying for your RV:

Learn About Dealer Pricing and Protect Yourself from Surprise Fees

Dealers have different pricing strategies.

Learn more about why dealers have different prices on the same RVs to help you decide what type of dealership is best for you. 

Some dealerships price their RVs very low and then tack on extra fees at closing time – sometimes thousands of dollars more. Learn how to avoid hidden RV dealer fees so you don’t get trapped paying more than you budgeted. 

Understand Salesperson Commission 

You may also want to ask your dealer how the sales commission is paid.

Commission based on how much you pay for your RV can influence a salesperson to push you into a trailer that is more expensive than what you want to pay or can really afford.

Some dealers, like Bish’s RV, pay commission based on how many RVs a salesperson sells. This can free the salesperson to find the best RV for you without worrying what they’ll make.

Get the Most for Your Trade-In

Planning to trade in another RV or vehicle for your RV? Most dealers can give you an estimate for your trade-in, but it can be hard to know how much your trade is worth, or how you can get the most for it.

These tips will help you get the best value for your trade:

how to get the most for an rv trade in

Next Steps to Get the Best Travel Trailer for You

Keeping these 7 things in mind and using our tips for finding your RV, you can avoid wasting time on RVs or dealers that aren’t right for you.

Now you can get out there, find your future camper, and enjoy the world. 

We provide information like this to educate RVers because we love RVing and love to see you find your perfect RV – even if it’s not always from us!

If we do have what you’re looking for, we’d love to work with you to get you on the road, making memories in your new camper. 

shop for a used travel trailer at bishs rv
shop for a new travel trailer from bish's rv

If you’re interested in an RV you’ve seen here or have more questions – reach out anytime! Our RV outfitters are experts at matching you with your perfect RV.

talk to an rv expert

Read More:

 Not sure a travel trailer is right for you? Learn about different types to find the best RV for you:

 You can also read what a new RV costs in 2024 to see if another type of RV would be better for you and your budget.  

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becki johnson at bish's rv

Becki Johnson

Bish’s RV Content Editor & Writer

20 years in the RV industry and a lifetime around RVs have convinced me that nature is a lot better with a comfortable bed and working bathroom.

I love to use what I’ve learned to help RVers find the best RV for the best possible price.