Imagine a journey where you do not have to pack and unpack suitcases, go through security frisking at airports and up and down stairs to reach terminals or stations. Yes, this kind of travel is possible and is a luxury in itself. This travel of freedom is possible in a Recreational Vehicle popularly known as RVs. Home on Wheels or RV Travel, apart from all of the above positives also help you avoid spending money on taxis, airline baggage fees and cars rental.
A Recreational Vehicle is a home on wheels. It is a vehicle that combines transportation and living quarters for travel, recreation and camping – suitable for vacations and weekend trips all throughout the year. A RV allows you to bring along all the comforts of home, including your gear, regardless of where the road takes you. A RV allows you to get away frequently, in greater comfort and style than ever before. RV tourism is about taking charge of your vacations and weekends in a whole new world of freedom and relaxation. Go wherever and whenever you want to and make every weekend a memorable mini-vacation trip.
Apart from saving money, RVs give you convenience, comfort and control over your vacations and outings than any other forms of travel. You can be miles away from anywhere and in the middle of a really pristine countryside, regardless of the climate of that area at that particular time. Even if a place is cold and wet, you can always be warm and snug in your RV. If you are in your RV, you can bid good bye to the hard rocky ground in a camping tent, have your own comfortable warm bed in the RV, have home cooked food on the go and you can even sing the night away.
A Recreational Vehicle always comes with extra storage areas, enabling you to make the most of your journey. You can bring along your favourite gear, your racquets, golf clubs, surfing boards, your pet dog and even the family bikes too.
It is not always necessary for you to buy one RV to experience the wonders of RV travel. Many car rental companies in the USA and Canada offer RVs on rent. You can even buy a second hand RV at a much lower cost. However, before you embark on a RV trip, do make sure you have a proper driving license, permit and it is verified and accepted in the respective country. It is advised that you also enquire about the insurance procedure with the car company.
- Starting at just $6,000, there’s an RV for everyone
- 14 per cent of Canadian households own an RV
- There are over 1,000,000 RVs on the road in Canada
- 67 per cent of RV owners are under the age of 55.
- 40 per cent of RV families have children
- Studies show there is up to a 70 per cent saving during an RV vacation compared to a conventional vacation
- Many RVs can be used throughout the year
- Price range of an overnight full-service campground stay ranges from US$ 25 – US$ 45
- 90 per cent of owners say it is the best way to travel with kids
- 90 per cent of RV owners give priority to seeing their own country
RVs types and models range from the very basic to the incredibly luxurious. Most of the RVs offer cooking, bathroom, sleeping, living areas, entertainment systems and all come equipped with gas, electricity, lights and air conditioning. There are different kinds of Recreational Vehicles to choose from. However, these can be clubbed into three broad categories — Towable RVs (trailers), Motorised RVs (motorhomes) and Park Model RVs. Most of the RVs are customizable according to your requirements.
Some regulations to check
Some areas, provinces and countries do put restrictions on the weight, length and size of the RV. These are given only when there is a climatic or road condition for which these precautions are required. However, it is always wise to check those before embarking on your RV trip.
There are separate parking spaces for the RVs to halt. Depending on the country and place the parking charges may vary. Most of the RV manufacturers will be more than happy to facilitate you with a RV parking area map of their country. RV owners usually show great concern over nature and they take care not to spoil it. Hence, some RV owners choose their own parking spot recommended by a like-minded RV owner. Though you can choose your parking lot by a glorious riverbank, a little clearing in the woods or by the seashore, you must enquire with the local authorities and also inform them of your being there.
- Some RV travellers travel nearer the equator during the winter months and return in spring. This is referred to as snowbirding in the USA,
- There are a large and growing number of people who live full time in their RV/motorhome. They are nick named as fulltimers,
- Many families and individuals are starting to adopt the RV travel lifestyle to see places while maintaining their incomes via technologies available from the RV (such as the Internet, phones, faxes, etc.).
- The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA since 1963) is an international organization of families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes.
- The Good Sam Club is an international community of RV owners. Good Sam Club is currently owned by the Affinity Group Inc., also owns Trailer Life Publications, Motor Home Publications, Camping World and Woodalls RV park directories. Members receive discounts at affiliated RV parks and Good Sam affiliated parks enjoy a good reputation.
Camping and parking
There are many campground membership clubs offering good values on a network of well-located, well-run campgrounds. Some RV owners who want to join a club after checking out its campgrounds have searched for the ads of current members wanting out. A club membership originally costing its owner US$ 7500 to join has in some cases, changed hands for US$ 500 or US$ 600.
What’s in a name?
The meaning of the term Recreational Vehicle (RV) may vary depending on the region you are in. In Australia, a RV may also mean a Sport Utility Vehicle or a SUV or a 4×4, in Britain the term RV may refer to a SUV, Dune buggy or ATVs. In North America a recreational vehicle can also be called a camper van or motorhome and caravan. The French call a RV a “camping-car” and it is also named as “Véhicule Récréatif” in French-Canada. In Germany, a RV is called “Wohnmobil” or “Wohnwagen” where Wohnen means to live or reside. Similarly there are many names to this all-in-one vehicle starting from Autocaravana (in Spain), Casa Rodante or Rolling House (in Latin American), Matkailuauto (in Finland) meaning “Travelling car” (Matkailu = Travelling, Auto = Car) to Fáng Chē (in China) meaning a “house car”.
RVing is not just about travelling to places. It is a passion of the RV owners. For some, it is a matter of pride. There are like minded RV owners in different countries who unite through various RV clubs and forums to plan trips and discuss issues. While some of those clubs are formed by the owners of a particular brand, many of the concerns and issues are common to users of all makes. One of the first brand clubs was the Wally Byam Caravan Club founded in 1955 to organise travel caravans of Airstream trailers. Though the Airstream and Wanderlodge forums are dedicated to the brands, they also represent a community of users with experience in RV travel of other brands.