Renting an RV in British Columbia – Advice For the International Traveller
Coming to explore ‘Super, Natural British Columbia’, simply known as BC? Whether your plans include a recreational vehicle (RV) rental for your entire trip or part of it, there are important items to note.
Travelling the province in an RV or motorhome has many advantages. You have a driver’s seat – and rooms – with everchanging views and you can choose to tour at ease or stick to an itinerary. There are hundreds of campgrounds in BC that accommodate motorhomes and all types of RVs and cater to both leisurely and active campers. All that’s left now is to reserve that RV and book a campsite!
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Decide where you want to travel, keeping in mind British Columbia is a huge province with long distances between some destinations.
Once you know where you are flying into, research companies in the area that rent RVs.
When planning your driving route, calculate for a slower travel time. RVs are driven at a more leisurely pace than a regular vehicle. Be aware that highways in British Columbia can be winding and mountainous.
Verify with the RV rental company that your driver’s license is valid (the company may request an international license). Most companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old, and to have held their full license for one year. Verify this if you are a new driver.
RV COMPANY RESEARCH
RV rental businesses offer different types of RVs, price packages, and mileage options.
Find out if a shuttle service (pick-up/drop-off) from the airport to hotel and the RV rental company is included in the reservation.
Many rental companies offer suggested driving routes which will help with your vacation planning and time management. Ask about this; such information may be on their website.
The following RV rental companies are approved by the Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition:
RVs and motorhomes vary in size and layout. Determine your needs such as number of beds required and ease of handling. Compare rental prices and packages. Still unsure? Go RVing Canada has a list of RV types.
Consider opting for convenience packages which ensure that the unit is completely equipped with linen and/or towels, pots/pans and kitchenware, toilet paper, paper towel, and often toolkits and an axe. This will simplify your packing list.
Verify the types of mandatory insurance coverage and accident deductible rates that are offered and/or included to determine if you need to purchase additional coverage.
Reservation fees will vary, but generally all rental charges are due upon vehicle pickup and a security deposit may be required.
ARRIVING IN CANADA
After your journey you will likely stay the first night in a hotel close to the airport or near the RV rental company.
When you arrive at the hotel, information and paperwork for the rental unit may be there for you to review and/or fill out.
Upon hotel check-out, many motorhome companies will provide free transport to your RV rental.
PICKING UP YOUR RV
Prepare to fill out any remaining paperwork. Have your reservation information, license, and credit card on hand.
Be ready for an orientation with operational instructions of the motorhome.
Make sure you understand how to drive and park your motorhome safely and how to use its features, such as the appliances, sewer, water and electrical hook-ups, propane, etc.
If you feel unsure about anything ask if you can test-drive the unit before officially leaving the property.
Confirm that you have the user manual and/or rental handbook. A handbook will have reminders on how to use the motorhome’s equipment and features and will provide handy checklists.
CHOOSING YOUR CAMPGROUNDS
Use the CRVBCC Camping Map, which plots over 1,500 campgrounds in the province. It also gives driving directions and information on nearby sites and spots such as hiking and fishing.
Go to the BC Super Camping mobile app for a comprehensive list of private and government campgrounds and RV parks, as well as other useful camping-related information.
Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers on campfires, sani dumps and propane safety.
Once in BC, visit a BC Tourist Information Centre for a printed camping directory or helpful online information.
Book the campgrounds in advance; busy season for camping in BC is July and August.
DEPARTING FOR HOME
Refuel the vehicle and propane tank before dropping off the RV and empty the necessary holding tanks (refer to the contract).
Check off the checklist! The RV rental company will have a standard check-out procedure for the vehicle.
Verify that everyone has packed up their belongings. (Open the glove compartment, cupboards, drawers, side panels and empty the refrigerator.)
Leave the unit as you found it, or as close to it as possible.
Be prepared to inspect the RV with someone from the rental office.
Double-check you have all personal items and gear before heading on to the hotel/and or airport. If a travel package was purchased, the RV rental company will likely provide a shuttle service.
May your international trip to British Columbia become a treasured lifetime memory. Click HERE for more RV rental tips. Safe and happy travels!