Your own backyard (and we’re not talking about the patch of ground behind your house here!) is waiting to be explored … and with the travel restrictions imposed by COVID19 it’s never been a better time to tick those “I’ll get there one day” places in your own province off your bucket list.
Within a day’s drive of where you live, there is so much to see and explore – so what’s the best way to experience it? In our world, there’s only one choice – RV it!
So, what do first time RVers need to know when booking an RV with CanaDream and planning their first RV road trip?
Private campgrounds in many provinces are open and have been throughout the COVID period. They have physical distancing measures in place and are ready to welcome our Guests. We encourage you to book with CanaDream Club campground partners and enjoy the extra discounts and benefits they offer. Please be aware that private campgrounds are only accepting Guests who have bookings. At the moment, unbooked Guests can't arrive unannounced.
Provincial campsites begin reopening from 1 June 2020 but most have restrictions where only residents in the province can book sites. They are not allowing residents in other provinces to stay, so please check their websites for full details. The opening date for National Park Campgrounds is still uncertain and we recommend you check the Parks Canada website before planning to stay in a National park.
Top: MHA and SVC. Bottom: DVC and TCA
- Consider the size of RV that you need. This is normally based on how many people are travelling. Two people can travel in the smallest CanaDream RVs (TCA or DVC) but you might want more space and enjoy a larger model. A family of 2 adults and 2 small children can easily fit in our SVC but, if the kids are large teenagers, we’d recommend the MHB or the MHA. So, think about the sleeping arrangements as that will help you decide the size of RV you should book.
- Driving the RV. We see thousands of Guests each year who are RVing for the first time. They are often a little scared of handling the larger units, but they all return totally loving the experience. So don’t be too worried. Of course, RVs are much larger than your normal car, but they are surprisingly easy to drive and easy to manoeuvre. Selecting the size of RV to match your comfort level is a good start. We always recommend you use a spotter (someone out of the RV) to help guide you on reversing and parking. We have a useful safe driving video which provides some helpful tips.
- Who is going to drive the RV? Included in the rental charge is one driver (minimum age 21 years), so, if you want an additional driver, don’t forget to add this to your booking. Every driver must be individually listed on the rental agreement for the insurance to be valid.
- How far do you want to drive? For your first trip we recommend choosing a simple, circular-route itinerary or an out and back journey. Plan to drive no more than 2-3 hours each day so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the local area and explore.
- Plan the exact route for your trip using one of our itineraries and book your campsites using the information in the CanaDream Club. Download the CanaDream Club app (It’s free!) and take plenty of time to research the campsites you want to book.
- Research the campsites on your route and select the ones which meet your needs. A few things to consider:
- Do you want power at your site? 15amp will suffice but we always recommend 30amp where possible - this will allow you to use the air conditioning or multiple electrical appliances together.
- Do you want water and sewage at your campsite? Not all campgrounds offer these services at the actual campsite but it’s great if you can get it and is worth paying an extra few $$ each night for. If you don’t book a site with services, most campgrounds offer a central place for filling up your water tanks and emptying your waste tanks.
- Where in the campground do you want to be - near the lake, the beach, amongst trees etc.? You can often select the actual site online - another good reason to book in advance.
- Book your campsites before you travel. We recommend having at least the first few nights planned however booking all your campsites in advance ensures you know you always have a place to stay and you can just focus on the journey.
- Operating the RV. If you're new to RVing and have concerns about understanding and managing the RV's resources, don't worry!. We are experts in this and our RVs are designed specifically with rental Guests in mind. We've made them as operationally simple and easy to use as possible. All resources in the RV are controlled from a central panel and you’ll quickly learn how to read and manage the controls. To make things super easy we've created “How to” videos for each RV category so you can familiarise yourself with everything before you travel. On the day of pick up:
- you’ll watch the "How to" video then take a hands-on self-guided tour of your RV. You'll have a chance to ask our experts for further help and guidance
- We also provide detailed Guest Guides with every RV, to help you trouble shoot as you travel
- We have 24/7 on-road support - our technicians are on hand to help and guide you through any technical queries you have while travelling.
The key areas to watch:
- Battery Power - Our RVs have fully-charged coach batteries at pick up but, if you stay in one place for 2-3 days and are not plugged into shore power, these will eventually lose their charge. Watch the monitor panel and you’ll be guided. When not plugged into shore power the batteries will charge when driving or when running the engine while parked at your campsite.
- Water - the monitor panel will tell you how much water you have in the tank and you will need to refill this as you go. Many campsites have a city water connection – so you can connect to this and avoid using the RV water tank when at the campsite. The fresh water pump, which allows water to flow through the taps from the water tank, is powered by the coach battery. The water heater uses propane to heat the water as you need it so you’ll want to switch off the water heater when not in use
- Fridge/Freezer - you’ll want to ensure this stays cold. Plugging it into shore power will help operate the fridge at its best. Where power is not available your fridge will either run off the coach battery or on propane
- Air conditioner, electrical outlets and microwave will only work when plugged into shore power. All resources are explained in the video and Guest Guide.
- Emptying the waste tanks. This is the delightful side of RVing which everyone loves! There are two tanks - Grey (water waste) and Black (toilet waste). We recommend emptying them both every 2-3 days but this could be more often depending on how much you use them. There are gauges to help you monitor the levels. Plan to empty the tanks when they are no more than 3/4 full. The process to empty these is simple and we cover this in the “how-to” video, Once you've done it, you’ll be an expert in no time. It’s important that nothing other than 1-ply toilet paper is flushed down the toilet and you must use a toilet chemical each time you empty the black tank. This helps to break down the waste material and avoid blockages.
- Plan your food menu and where you’ll do your first shop. There are major supermarkets near all our RV stations that offer click and collect services. We recommend that you do an online shop and simply drive up to the supermarket after collecting your RV to pick up your order. The onsite stores in campgrounds may be closed so it’s important you arrive prepared.
- We recommend bringing your own spices and dry foods, such as pasta/rice and cereals if you have room, and you can then take anything not used home again at the end of your trip.
- Plan simple meals - pasta bakes are easy and simple. Or, if you have brought a simple BBQ with you, enjoy cooking outdoors.
- Bedding and Towels - CanaDream is happy to offer personal convenience kits for an additional cost which include bedding,towels and kitchen equipment. Don’t stress about bringing your own and enjoy using our high-quality products - this means we do the cleaning too! You can be reassured that everything in your RV has been cleaned, sanitized and handled using recommended COVID measures.
- Pack lightly – while there is storage space in your RV, we advise you to pack as lightly as possible. Light layers, t-shirts,fleece sweaters and a rain jacket are generally staple items. A good pair of trainers and walking shoes are a must, as most campsites are in forests or on grassy fields. Many campgrounds offer coin-operated laundries, so you can wash and go as you need. Use soft luggage and avoid hard cases as they are difficult to store. On round trip journeys you can unpack your luggage and leave your bags in our luggage storage areas.
- Parking – if you are driving to our location we have limited parking available free of charge on a first-come, first- served basis. We do not book parking spaces. Guests are required to sign a waiver confirming we cannot be held responsible for any damage or theft to their cars.
- Insurance - Our RV rentals come with $5,000,000 public liability and property damage and Guests must pay a $1000 security deposit on the day of pick up. This is the deductible in the event of any incident.
- FAQ’s for any questions you have please are answered in our helpful FAQ section.
- Online Checkin - All Guests are required to complete our simple online check in process before the day of pick up. Guests of CanaDream can log in any time after booking to view their rental agreement, check in, add or change their booking and pay final balances. They can also access the CanaDream Club booking portal here.
- Airport and Hotel Transfers - Canadream is happy to offer a transfer service from listed airport hotels or the airport for an additional cost.
- RV Delivery and Collection – CanaDream is happy to deliver and collect the RV from your home address – within a specified radius around our RV stations (70kms – Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, 50km for Montreal and Halifax. Not available in Edmonton or Whitehorse). This service has a fee of $150. Talk to our agents for details.
- When can you pick up your RV? - We have set times for each pick up. Call your pickup station to be given your exact pickup time. It’s important for social distancing to get this time right. Pick ups start from 1pm and the last pick up time is 3 30pm.
- Drop off times are between 8-10am in the morning, so this means you must stay close enough to our station to arrive back on time. Late return is charged at $150/hr. so plan your last night's stay so you aren’t too far away.
- Cleaning - Your RV will be cleaned to the highest standards at pick up and small cleaning cloths will be included in your RV. We ask that you return the RV in a clean condition at the end of your trip. This means that:
If you’d like CanaDream to take care of this for you, we offer the CanaDream valet service so you can enjoy your vacation to the last possible moment.
- the cupboards should be empty of any food that you brought and wiped down
- the fridge emptied and cleaned
- the bathroom wiped down and the floors swept
- Bedding and towels gathered and placed in the dinette area
- the waste tanks must be emptied.
- We're Pet Friendly - you can bring a dog or a cat on your RV road trip for a fee of $300. Please advise us in advance so this can be added to your booking.
- We're Bike Friendly – yes, you can bring your bikes and we are happy to rent bike racks. We can fit the racks to our SVC, MHB and MHA RVs so, if you are bringing your bikes, please make sure you select one of these units. We advise booking the bike rack in advance.
Top: MHA and SVC. Bottom: DVC and TCA
Going on your first RV road trip can be a little daunting as there are lots of unknowns – but take it from us (and we know a few things about RVing) - once you have RV’d, you’ll never want to do it any other way!