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 look back.
Top: MHA and SVC. Bottom: DVC and TCA
There are a few things to consider when planning and booking a road trip.
- Consider the size of RV that you need. This is normally based on how many people are travelling in the party. Two people can travel in the smallest CanaDream RVs (TCA or DVC) but they may want more space and enjoy the SVC. Indeed a family of 2 adults and 2 children can easily fit in the SVC but, if the kids are large teenagers, we’d recommend the MHB or the MHA. So, thinking about the sleeping arrangements will help you confirm the largest RV size you need.
- Concerned about driving an RV? - We see thousands of Guests each year who are driving an RV for the first time and 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. If you select the size of RV to match your comfort level, that’s a good start. You do need some self-confidence and we always recommend you use a spotter (someone outside the RV) to help guide you when reversing and parking. We have a useful safe driving video which provides some helpful tips.
- Who is going to drive the RV? You need a full driving license and must be 21 years of age or older. Included in the rental charge is one driver so if you want an additional driver, don’t forget to add this option in. Every driver must be individually insured and listed on the rental agreement or the insurance will be invalid.
- How far do you want to drive? For your first rental we recommend choosing an itinerary that is a simple circular route or an out and back journey. We recommend 2-3 hours driving each day so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the local area and explore. CanaDream offers a wide selection of itineraries to help you plan your trip.
- Plan your exact route for the first 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!) when you first book your RV and take plenty of time to research the campsites that suit your personal wishes. CanaDream Club has a large selection of attractions, activities, tours, hotels and campgrounds to choose from. The Club was specifically developed for our Guests with ease of booking in mind. CanaDream Club members receive special pricing and discounts from our Tourism Partners across Canada.
- Research the campsites on your route and select the one which covers your needs and desires. A few questions to consider:
- Do you want power at your site? We always recommend 30 amp where possible - this will allow you to use multiple elements at one time. If you wish to use the coach air conditioner during your stay, 30 amp is a must.
- Do you want water and sewage at your campsite? Not all campsites 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 this benefit. Most campsites 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, close to the shops etc? You can normally select the actual plot - another good reason to book in advance. Private campgrounds are mostly open and have been throughout the COVID period. They have social distancing and health safety 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. Provincial campsites are reopening from 1 June 2020 but many have restrictions - allowing only residents in the province to stay. Please check their websites for full details. National Park Campground opening dates are uncertain. We recommend you check the Parks Canada website before planning to stay at a National park.
- Book your campsites before you travel. We recommend having at least the first few nights booked so there aren’t any stresses on the first night, but many people like having the whole trip planned. Booking in advance ensures you know where you are going and you can just focus on the road. There are some good options close to all our stations throughout Canada. Visit the CanaDream Club to see all our partner campsites. Additional camping resources are mentioned at the bottom of this blog.
- Operating the RV – If you are new to RVing and have concerns about understanding and managing the resources, please do not worry. We are experts in this. Our RVs are designed specifically with rental guests in mind and we have made them as simple and easy to use as possible. All the 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 very easy we have created “How to” videos on each RV so you can familiarise yourself with your RV before you travel. You'll watch this video, take a self-guided tour in the RV and 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 shot 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 are:
- Battery Power - Our RVs have substantial batteries but, if you are not plugged into power for more than a couple of days, you can drain the coach battery. Watch the monitor panel and you’ll be guided. To recharge the battery, either drive for a couple of hours or run the engine every few hours when parked to boost the battery power.
- Water - The monitor panel will tell you how much water you have in the tank, so you can fill this up as necessary. Many campsites have a city water connection – you can connect to this and avoid using the RV water tank when camped. 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 will heat water as you need it and will run on power when plugged in. You should turn off the water heater when not in use.
- Fridge/Freezer - You’ll want to ensure this stays cold - plugging 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 conditioning, Electric Sockets & Microwave - These will only work when plugged into shore power or when the generator is running.
All resources are all explained in the video and the Guest Guides.
- Emptying the waste tanks – This is the delightful side of RVing which everyone loves! It’s not that bad and everyone gets used to it very quickly. There are two tanks - Grey (used water) and Black (Toilet waste). You will need to empty them both every couple of days, depending on how much you use them. There are gauges to help you monitor the levels. The process to empty is very simple and you’ll cover this in your pick up “how-to” video. Once you have done this, you’ll be an expert in no time. Most campsites have a sani-dump station and we recommend you pay attention to the locations for dumping as you travel. It’s important not to flush unsuitable things down the toilet – only use 1 ply toilet paper and use a toilet chemical every time you empty the black tank. This helps to break down the waste material and to 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 shopping.
- We recommend bringing your own spices and dry foods such as pasta/rice and cereals if you have room in your car and you can then take them home again at the end of your trip.
- Plan simple meals - pasta bakes are easy and simple. Or, if you have a portable BBQ, enjoy cooking outdoors where there are no restrictions.
- Kitchen equipment, Bedding & Towels - CanaDream is pleased to offer kitchen kits and linen kits (bedding and towels) - don’t stress about bringing your own and enjoy using our high-quality products. This means we do the laundry too!
You can be reassured that everything that goes into our RVs are washed in commercial grade machines and are handled with new measures to reduce contact.
- Pack lightly – While there is storage space in all our RVs, 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 campsites offer coin-op laundry, so you can wash and go as you need. Use soft luggage bags 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 do have some parking spaces at each station. These are available on a first-come first-served basis and we do not take reservations for these. Parking is free and Guests are required to sign a waiver. We cannot be responsible for any damage or theft to Guests' cars.
- Insurance - Our vehicles 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. See full details here
- FAQs - Please check out our FAQ section for answers to any questions you may have.
- Online check in and My CanaDream - 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 their final balance. Guests can also access the CanaDream Club booking portal here.
- Transfers & Parking - Canadream is happy to offer a transfer service from Montreal Airport or a Montreal Airport hotel to our station at Mirabel. CanaDream has limited parking at each station, based on a first-come, first-served basis. Transfers are not offered to or from our other locations.
- RV Delivery and Collection - CanaDream is happy to offer a delivery and collection service to or from your home address for a fee of $300 per pick up or drop off. The distance must be within 70kms of our Vancouver, Calgary & Toronto locations and 50km for Montreal and Halifax. This service is not available in Edmonton or Whitehorse. Requests for this service outside of these distances can be requested and will be priced on an individual basis. Talk to our agents for details.
- Pick up times - Starting Summer 2021, Guests will select their own pick up time as part of the online check-in process. Pick ups start from 1pm, with the last pick up at 3 30pm.
- Drop off times are between 8-10am in the morning, so this means you must be close enough to our station to arrive back on time. Late return is charged at $150/hr - plan your last night's campsite so you aren’t too far away.
- Cleaning the RV - You will pick up your RV cleaned to the highest standards and there is a small starter pack of cleaning materials. We ask that you return the RV in a clean condition at the end of your trip This is clearly explained to each Guest at pickup - view the Before you return information here. The cupboards should be wiped down and empty of any food that you brought, the fridge cleaned and emptied, the bathroom wiped down and the floors swept. Bedding and towels should be gathered and placed in the dinette area. The tanks must be empty. If you’d like CanaDream to take care of this for you, we offer the CanaDream Valet Service. We'll be happy to take the hard work on the last day from you.
- Need GPS or Wi-Fi? Good news! CanaDream offers Travel Tab Navigator + which is a smart phone style GPS system which can also be used as a Wi-Fi hot spot on a pay as you go basis or on an unlimited rental basis for up to 2 devices. Keep the kids entertained on the road or keep up with the family or the news!
- Pet Friendly - You can bring a dog or a cat on your RV road trip for a fee of $300. Please book this in advance of pick up day.
- 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 vehicles … so, if you are bringing your bikes, please make sure you select one of these units. We advise booking the bike rack in advance.
- CanaDream offers a wide range of extra products and services which you can add to your booking. View more information here.
- Need any more help? Contact our friendly agents at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1-800-347-7126.
Top: MHA and SVC. Bottom: DVC and TCA
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