Every year there is a large RV show in Tampa FL, one of the largest shows in the US, similar in size to the yearly Hershey RV show. Even though we had already decided on the RV we wanted, and the dealership we wanted to buy from, we wanted to attend the show for a few reasons. First to just gawk at all the various types of RVs (boy, there are some shwanky RVs out there). Second, spend some time in the Tiffin Allegro 36LA (the RV we wanted to purchase) to make sure it was definitely the RV for us. Lastly, we wanted to look at all the RV accessories that would be necessary for us (tire pressure monitoring, RV GPS, toad braking system, tow hitch, etc).
The show started Wednesday and ended Sunday, with Friday and Saturday traditionally being the busiest days. We decided to hit the show all day Wednesday and do a half-day on Friday, with a Busch Gardens break on Thursday.
We got to the show as it was opening (9am) and the traffic to get into the fairgrounds was obnoxious. They aren’t kidding, this is a huge RV show. We had attended the Chantilly RV show just a couple weeks earlier and it would fit easily into just one of the buildings at the Tampa show. We heard there were over 1,100 different RVs at the show which was easy to believe, they were everywhere.
We walked through all the buildings that sell just about anything an RVer needs (and doesn’t need), then walked the 16-acre outside areas which contained RVs of all sizes and types. I walked through a Leisure Travel Van (class B), one of the first RVs I saw and really liked, but now realize is WAY too small for us. We saw all the popular RVs (Thor, Winnebago, Itasca) and the upscale ones like Newmar, Entegra, Prevost, Millenium, etc. You couldn’t even enter some of the Prevost RVs without an appointment, and some you had to remove your shoes before entering! Of course we headed to the Tiffin area to check out “our RV”.
In the afternoon, we caught two seminars: Full-timing in an RV, and RV 101. Both had some good information but nothing earth-shaking since Mike had already done so much research. There were definitely some good tidbits that made both seminars worth attending. With so much to see and do, we ended staying the entire day on Wednesday and made plans in advance on what we needed to cover on Friday.
On Friday, we went straight to the Tiffin area to talk to Lazy Days dealer Jason, who we worked with in email in the past. Mike had spoken with multiple RV dealers (recommended by others on the Tiffin forum) and received a fantastic price from an RV dealer that was not at the Tampa show. Our original plan was to contact that dealer to order the 36LA once we came back home but we figured it couldn’t hurt to talk to Jason and see what Lazy Days could do for us.
Lazy Days is one of the largest Tiffin dealers in the US, and buying in Tampa FL would be more convenient for us overall, but their original price was too high for us. Jason was great and willing to work with us to make a comparable offer at the show. Instead of matching the low RV price we’d received elsewhere, Jason offered a good price but included all our tow vehicle setup gear and work (tow bar, braking system, charge line, lighting kit) for free. Between the cost of that work, the purchase price of the 36LA, the ability to camp right on the lot, proximity of a pet-friendly hotel (pretty much right next to Lazy Days), free driver confidence course, and purchasing in FL, they made us a deal too sweet to pass up. We custom-ordered our 36LA and paid a deposit that day! Lazy Days also said they will hold the RV for us when it gets delivered in March until we’re ready to pick it up in early April.
Doing some rough estimates, that means our build should happen sometime in early March. We plan to go to Tiffin HQ in Red Bay, AL to watch our RV being built, and take lots of photos of the process, and it will be ready for us to pick up in Tampa in April. We’re on our way!!
Making a big commitment, at Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa