Recreational vehicles

Canadian travel writers Pam Hobbs and Michael Alger say diehard campers never quit – they just trade up to a recreational vehicle. But in Free to Travel: The Canadian Guide for 50-Plus Travellers (Doubleday), the authors urge anyone who has never camped to rent before making a heavy investment in a self-contained motorhome. Even more important is picking the right travelling companions.

“This mode of travel isn’t for everyone. On even the shortest trip, compatibility with your travelmates is essential. Whether you are two couples or four single adults, all aspects of your trip should be planned together beforehand.

“Are your sightseeing interests similar? Will you take turns driving? Who will be in charge of food, admissions and gasoline money?

“Travelling with another couple, we each put $100 into the kitty for food and admission. I would shop for three days and if someone else wanted to take over for the next three, they could. If not, one person would visit the laundromat and another the liquor or hardware store for essentials while I shopped for groceries. We have always been delighted with our travelmates. But I cringe to think of the csequences had incompatibility come into play.”

Also consider:
– “Choose your motorhome with care. Experience taught us to insist on a rental unit no more than three years old. Twice, we took older vehicles when there was no alternative and regretted it after the first day. Your motorhome is more than transportation. It’s your temporary home filled with your possessions, and you don’t want to have to abandon it by the roadside.”

– “Think about fly/drive programs. These are popular with Europeans visiting Canada and with Canadians touring North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Travel agencies will advise you of airlines, cruise lines and tour companies that offer such packages. Or you can create your own.”

“In San Francisco, a dealer I found in the telephone book invited us to spend the first night on his lot and gave us the option of renting sleeping bags, cookware and dishes. Instead of paying $30 a person for the six of us, we took our own sleeping bags, bought inexpensive cookware and dishes at a discount store and left them in the vehicle when we came home.”

RV fast facts

  • How many Canadians own RVs? – 600,000.
  • Favorite destination for RVers aged 50-plus? – Florida.
  • Average annual mileage of RVers? – 3,000 miles.
  • Average duration of RV vacation? – 30 days.
  • Percentage of RVers who take frequent spur-of-the-moment trips? – 84 per cent.
  • Percentage of RVers celebrating special occasions, such as family birthdays, in their RVs? – 64 per cent.

For more information on the RV lifestyle, contact Go Rving Canada. This one-stop resource centre can supply you with everything you need to know about the RV lifestyle, from renting to buying, a listing of Canadian dealerships, and what to look for in an RV.
Tel: 1-800-GO RVING.