June 5, 2020

2020 is the year to get out and explore your own backyard – there's no better way to do this than in an RV. Camping has always been a favorite pastime amongst Canadians, many of whom purchase their own RV. Others however prefer the rental option. So, what makes more sense – is it cheaper in the long run to rent or buy an RV to experience Canada at your own pace?

There’s no easy answer to this as we are all very different, however you should consider some of the pros and cons we talk about in this blog.

Buying an RV

There’s no question about it – the biggest advantage of ownership is convenience. The RV is available to you year-round and you can leave your camping gear inside – ready to hit the road without too much planning. If you’re able to store the RV at your home, the benefits are even greater – you have an extra room to hang out in or as sleeping space for visitors.

If you’re not a person who’s comfortable using what someone else has used, ownership might be the way to go. You can upgrade and personalize your rig and make it the way you want it and it’s all yours!

Another factor to consider in the buy or rent debate is how often you will use the RV. If you plan to only do 2 or 3 short vacations each year, buying may not be cost-effective but, if you will go out every weekend over the summer or want to become a full-time RVer, buying makes so much sense.

On the flip-side however, there are many costs involved in owning your own RV so, before you buy, you should take these costs into account. These costs however are spread out over a year so it doesn’t seem to be an ‘all at once’ hit on the wallet.

  • Depreciation
    Ownership of an RV means owning a depreciating asset. If you buy new you can expect its value to decline by around 40% in the first two years of ownership. Purchasing second hand will see a lower depreciation but buying second-hand privately means you may also be buying something which needs a lot of maintenance. If you are considering purchasing a used RV, we recommend researching RVs for Sale from reputable dealers of used RVs. CanaDream has a wide selection of previously Guest experienced RVs for sale with a lowest price guarantee.
  • Storage
    If you don’t have room at your house to store your RV, or local bylaws in your neighbourhood don’t allow it, you need to include storage into the cost of ownership.
  • Registration
    The RV will need to be registered before it can be driven on Canadian roads – another cost to consider.
  • Insurance
    Insurance costs will vary depending upon whether your RV is motorized or a towable.
  • Maintenance
    All RVs, regardless of the amount of use they get, require regular maintenance including winterizing and dewinterizing. This is a cost you need to factor into the cost of ownership. If you elect to purchase an extended service contract when you buy your RV, that’s another cost.



If you buy, does a towable or a motorized RV make more sense? That depends on whether you have a vehicle capable of towing a trailer and are comfortable doing so. A towable gives you the option of disconnecting your vehicle from your trailer, leaving you with the vehicle to travel around in. An RV, on the other hand, is easier to maneuver as it’s one unit and you have the added luxury of being able to move from the driving cabin to the living area without going outdoors. Each has its advantages.

Renting an RV

The biggest advantage of renting your RV has to be Peace of Mind. The RV is only ‘yours’ for a brief period of time on each occasion you rent but, in between rentals, you can walk away from the responsibility. Renting makes a lot of sense if you don’t plan to RV many times during the year. The average RV owner uses their RV infrequently meaning that it’s often more cost-effective to rent when you need to.

When you rent an RV, you have the luxury of trying different makes and models until you find the one most suitable for your needs.

On the con side, the overnight cost of renting an RV can seem high and there are many other costs to consider on top of that cost.

Do you need bedding, towels, dishes etc?
The RV company can provide these for an extra cost (or you can bring your own).

How many kilometres are you planning to travel?
Unlike car rental companies in North America, most RV companies charge for kilometres travelled. This can be anywhere from 40c/km up although kilometre packages are generally available prior to pick up to make this more cost-effective.

Is insurance included in the nightly rate?
If not, how much is this per night? What is included in the insurance? What is the deductible should you have an accident?

Renting is a viable option if you want to fly to your destination then explore by RV. CanaDream has RV rental locations in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax and is happy to offer low cost airport and hotel transfers for Guests to and from these locations. It also makes sense if you only plan to RV a few times a year or you are a person who doesn’t want the expense of owning.

Buying an RV makes sense if you plan to use you RV often or you like the convenience of having your own hotel on wheels. If you’ve decided that purchasing your own RV is the best option for you, we strongly recommend you find a dealer who has a try before you buy program so you can be confident that the RV you buy is the right one for you.

How about sampling the best of both worlds? Customers who rent an RV from CanaDream and subseqently purchase their own can have the rental cost (nightly rate) applied against the purchase of the RV – now that’s worth considering!

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