Hi All,

I will be renting an RV for the first time for a festival in November. My husband and I are "testing the waters" with this, as it is more cost efficient than a hotel, especially during Florida festival season which overlaps with college spring breaks. I am appreciative for any feedback.

I have a Flourish canopy tent set up with propanels, desk, all the normal festival stuff, etc... I am a painter with with a large inventory, largest painting size is 40"x 40". My husband and I will be sleeping in the RV, but the festival stuff can be transported in the sleeping area. We don't want to trailer and are looking for the smallest possible vehicle to safely transport all my stuff. Also, let me know if there are any trailer "faux pas" I should be aware of. We know we'll have to dolly everything in.

Just for reference, we live in Tampa and I do festivals throughout the state, under 4 hour drive. So we're not state to state (Yet!!!) Again, thanks in advance.




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  • Meredith as a long time travel trailer owner my FIRST recommendation is NOT to do it, at least not ty try to bring an RV onto the show site to load and unload.

    First, disabuse yourself of the idea that it's cheaper; unless you're doing 30 shows a year or more, remember that you are buying an additional vehicle and you have to pay for the vehicle, insure it and, unless it fits in your driveway, store it when you're not using it.  Unless this is a full time thing for you, hotels (if you're careful about the hotels) are cheaper.    We did the math and it's a LOt cheaper, if not as much fun, with hotels.

    Second, RVs are for the most part too big to bring onto the show sites.

    For years my wife and I travelled to about 15. shows a year in a 31 foot travel trailer, pulled by a pickup truck.   We put a camper shell on the back of the pickup and came to the show sites in the truck, after dropping the trailer where we were camping (sometimes on the show site, more frequently at state parks nearby and rarely at commercial campgrounds).  

    This worked, for us.   We configured the camper shell to hold everything for the shows.  For propanels you'd probably want KD's to save storage space.  We, too, had (have; it's getting long in the tooth) a flourish tent and had no issues  storing all the parts in the shell.  We built an infrastruture into the shell to store our show stuff the way we wanted (she's a jeweler so we had showcases and other furniture, but not paintings). 

    YOu'd have to store the paintings flat in a camper shell for it it work for you, or you can pull the trailer with a cargo van (make sure the van is configured to tow, with the right suspension and brakes; we learned that one the hard way).  

    But I definitely don't recommend bringing an RV onto the show sites unless you want to be the first one in and the last one out; they're just too big to maneuver around most spaces you'll encounter and you'll have other artists swearing at you as you encounter their tents trying to maneuver in.  Or you'll be dollying in a lot.  That's usually more work.

    And don't think this is cheaper strategy than hotels unless this is your main vehicle.  For us it was an additional vehicle, with all of the expenses involved.  Plus tolls were higher pulling a trailer and we got about 9 miles a gallon pulling a trailer with a pickup, and about 14 miles a a gallon in the empty pickup between shows (it was an F250).   Motorized RVs on average aren't any more economical.  And you have to store it somewhere if it doesn't fit in your driveway.    That alone cost us over 200 a month. 

    My wife and I miss the camping; that was FUN in between shows.  We could cook outdoors, enjoy nature and the peaceful environment of the (state parks).   But fun and economics aren't the same thing and we decided to economize and sold both pickup and trailer a year ago during covid; we now work out of a minivan and use hotels; it's cheaper..

    I hope this helped.


    Larry  Hering

    • Thanks so much for the response, Larry.

      I am going into my 4th art festival season with every intention of being a lifer, as this is my second career :-) I am continuously navigating festival planning and logistics as my inventory grows, my paintings get larger, my booth set up gets more involved, etc. My husband and I currently drive two SUVs to festivals, and these particular vehicles no longer fit my current inventory and and expanding equipment.

      So we've decided to go into "limbo land" this festival season regarding transportation to see what our options are for a future vehicle. Your post was extremely helpful.

      I don't think we'd ever purchase an RV for festivals. An outfitted van would be ideal. However, we currently own a condo with a low clearance parking garage, so that's off the table as long as we live here. But we're in the process of trying to figure it out.

      The festival I'm renting an RV for is one I've done for 3 years, so I am familiar with the RV lot. We'll definitely dolly, but it's a short easy dolly. So this festival is a good one to experiment with.

      We've been toying around with a lot of different ideas, and again your information is really helpful. We live in Florida and the hotels are brutal, especially during the college spring break months. Hotels are a planned cost of course, but we now need a rental van in addition until we figure out our next step. All part of the process though!

      I may just pick your brain again sometime in the future!!!


      Merideth Carballal

  • I forgot to clarify that we are looking for vehicle recommendations!

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