Rent an RV in Canada

RVing in Canada: Resources

customer reviews

Check out our Canada RV Hire Customer Reviews page, where you can both read and post motorhome hire reviews.

your domestic driver's license

The minimum age limit for the motorhome and campervan rentals presented by IdeaMerge depends on the vendor. (Many vendors require that drivers have posssesed a valid domestic driver's license for at least a year prior to the rental.) See the particular Rental Details page presented during our online reservation process.

Drivers must of course possess their valid domestic driver's license. The Canada motorhome and camper van rental vehicles presented on the IdeaMerge website are designed such that relative especially to the laws of Canada virtually all domestic driver's licenses suffice for operation of these vehicles, even in nearly all cases where the inherent limits of the license (i.e. relative to your domestic laws) would preclude the holder from driving the vehicle in his/her own country. Which is to say, standard foreign driver's licenses are translated by the laws of Canada such that these licenses basically function in Canada as standard Canadian driver's licenses. To state this yet another way: In Canada the standard domestic driver's licenses of foreign states are, in connection with foreign tourists, considered equal to a standard Canadian driver's license. Therefore the foreign driver's license allows the holder to drive the same range of vehicle types as does a corresponding Canadian license. This means, for instance, that the 3500 kg permissible-weight constraint that applies to European Union licenses in Europe is effectively raised in Canada to match the Canadian standards, which are invariably so high that all the vehicles represented on IdeaMerge's Canada "Rates & Reservations" page may be driven by a standard-European-drivers-licensed client. … Nevertheless, you might be interested in researching the inherent limits of your driver's license. To do so you can check the back of your license and visit the website of the governmental agency that issued your license. You can also see the following Wikipedia articles: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver's_license and, say, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Driving_Licence_codes.

international driving permit

Canada does not require of foreign drivers an international driving permit.

However, if your domestic driver's license is not primarily or secondarily (i.e. in parallel) written in English, the vendor does require of you an international driving permit (IDP). IDPs are available for a small charge (about the equivalent of US$ 20) from the automobile club offices in the client's country of residence (but not outside their country), and a person need not be a member of such club to obtain the IDP from the club. Basically an IDP is a means by which police in a foreign country can know — in terms of translations in nearly a dozen different languages — that your domestic driver's license is indeed recognized as being valid by the proper authorities in your country. (See the excellent article at Drivers.com.) If you need an IDP, take your license, two passport-sized photos and the requisite cash to the club office. (Though for about US$6 the club may snap Polaroid photos for you.) Web searches will bring up a host of websites selling documents that conform to the international driving permit model delineated in annex 10 of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (1949); but according to Article 24 of that convention, a truly valid IDP is one which is "issued … by the competent authority of another Contracting State or subdivision thereof, or by an association duly empowered by such authority …."

online route planners

The Milepost
Here
MapQuest
Google Maps

apps

Camping Apps for iPhone
RV Trip Planner
Sanidumps
We Camp Here Campground Search

points of interest (POI's)

Points of Interest or POI's are locations that are part of, or can be added to, GPS devices. A POI could be a gas station, a hotel, a restaurant, a shopping mall, a historical location, and so forth. The data for the POI databases is collected from a variety of sources. In some cases mapping companies compile it. Sometimes the data is provided directly by retail companies. Often times the information is gathered by companies that specialize in creating business directories. Sometimes a POI is compiled by individuals with a special interest, like RVers who create POI's of their favorite RV parks. The data typically includes the physical address, name of the location, category of the POI, a phone number, and the geographic coordinates.

Garmin
DownloadPOI.com
USA and Canada RV POI Matrix

gps navigation

Portable GPS navigation technology has undergone some real changes lately. Windshield-mountable units have proliferated and dropped hugely in price. Meanwhile mobile (i.e. cellular) phone based GPS navigation is coming on strong. Yet there is little analysis out there geared toward the globetrotting traveler interested in such solutions.

We therefore presents the following analysis to help you decide which if any portable GPS navigation option is right for you.

beware

Be wary of "free" portable GPS rentals. You tend to get what you pay for. And upon finally receiving such rental unit a day or so before you depart, there's precious little time for you to get comfortable with the device — much less to program it with destination addresses and such. Furthermore, "free" usually translates into shipping and handling charges in both directions, to and from you. In the face of these negatives, you should strongly consider buying your own portable GPS navigation device instead.

analysis criteria

  • Map software: While many GPS units offer optional map software of Europe and/or other countries, a cheaper and easier way to get such software is to buy a model that standardly has it already loaded.
  • Operability abroad: Does the unit function as well abroad as it does domestically?
  • Ease of operation: Is the user interface heuristic enough to be easily operable by a driver in a foreign land?
  • Functionality: Does the unit have audible directions, a programmable points-of-interest database, a traffic-conditions receiver (FM), Bluetooth technology, a travel guide, etc.
  • Value: Is the unit a good value both now and for the next few years?
  • windshield-mountable GPS units

    In this category, we recommend just two off the shelf GPS units that include pre-installed European maps: the Garmin 1370T, and the TomTom XXL 540 WTE. The TomTom XXL 540 WTE (World Traveler Edition) is the newest model of the two, and it boasts a 5 inch screen while the Garmin 1370T offers a 4.3 inch screen which has proven to be of ample size for most drivers. In addition these units both offer many uniquely advanced features such as downloadable city maps, Bluetooth capability, bus and subway transit information, and trafic and speed limit control alerts (by subscription) that can provide an audible warning when you are in the vicinity of a speed control cameras.

    While the TomTom XXL 540 WTE is the newer model of the two and quite relaible and user friendly in it's own right, it has not had the opportunity to be tested quite to the extent of the Garmin 1370T which has been in production for a couple of years and so less is known about the TomTom's real-world performance. The Garmin 1370T has returned very favorable user feedback during the past two years of production. Additionally, the Garmin 1370T is the less expensive of the two models.

    Both of these units come equipped with pre-installed, high-resolution map software of both North America and Europe. There are some potential drawbacks to purchasing these types of portable GPS units. Some users have remarked that these types of GPS units "lose their way" from time to time in smaller European towns, and in some cases the units have difficulties obtaining satellite reception while in Europe. Other users have noticed that these types of GPS units occasionally have difficulty with place names in the voice command mode if not set to the language of the local area.

    It is important to note that while these units are loaded with European maps, and they offer additional features such as downloadable city maps for even more usability in small local areas, they are primarily marketed towards a North American user/consumer, and as such they may not be as functional on the ground in Europe as, say, a built-in GPS like as those that are delivered in some of the French short-term tax-free lease vehicle models.

    There are literally dozens of windshield-mountable GPS models. Between adjacent, sequentially ordered models from a given manufacturer there are only incremental differences. Comparing the top to the very bottom of a manufacturer's range, however, there are big differences.

    The primary factor to consider in choosing a GPS unit is the GPS processor itself. As of this writing (February 2011) the latest GPS receiver is SIRF's Star V high performance GPS chipset. This new chipset allows for more accurate tracking and quicker satellite acquisition, not to mention the ability to better acquire and hold onto weak satellite signals. These capabilities especially prove their worth abroad. What's more, you want the most current hardware so you can enjoy your new GPS for years to come or realize the relatively high resale value. We recommend that you choose a GPS unit with a SIRF III or greater chipset for best results.

    Many of the older Garmin StreetPilot, Magellan RoadMate, and TomTom GO models do not have the new generation SIRF chipsets installed. The models to avoid in this respect are:

  • Garmin StreetPilot i2,i3,i5, c310, c320, c330, c340, 2720, 2820, 7200, 7500
  • Magellan RoadMate 300, 360, 700, 760, 800, 860T, 3000T, 3050T
  • TomTom GO 300, 700
  • merely handheld portable GPS units

    We do not recommend this type of GPS unit for driving the roads of North America.

    The merely handheld GPS units do not come equipped with driving directions and alerts, voice direction or, in many cases, a "driver's-eye view" graphical representation. They primarily feature excellent satellite signal reception which they transform into topographical representations of terrain (some in color) instead of road-based directions. They are tough, most being housed in sturdy, shock- and water-resistant casings. These units are more appropriate for on-foot travel in remote locations.

    smartphone integrated GPS units

    The latest in the evolution of GPS technology is the mobile phone or "Smartphone" integrated unit. For some time, most modern mobile telephones have been locatable by way of GPS. Now most "smartphones" on the market feature GPS signal transmission and reception that can be integrated with a dedicated GPS navigation device discussed above, enhancing the dedicated device's ability to transmit and receive such signal. What's more, many smartphones presently being brought to market feature full GPS navigation functionality. (In case you were afraid to ask, a "smartphone" is a type of cell phone that provides a diverse set of features such as internet browsing capability and GPS functionality among a myriad of other device specific add-ons or features well beyond that of simply making calls.)

    The major mobile phone carriers support such GPS signal processing for these phones for a special monthly fee or per-day fee.

    Some examples of GPS enabled smartphones include the Apple iPhone line, the Blackberry "Bold" and "Curve" models (to name just two from Blackberry), or any of the "Andriod" powered phones available from Motorola, Sony, HTC, Samsung, LG feature GPS navigation as one of their many special features. Each of these offer fairly functional GPS navigation built right in or as an optional service. Check with your phone provider for exact details about specific models.

    Dedicated GPS devices still provide larger screens, better maps, and an overall higher level of functionality than these cutting edge integrated phones; but mobile phone navigation will of course continue to improve, and it already meets the needs of many users.

    Of special concern when choosing to use a smartphone in Europe is the type of service plan or contract that one might have with their particular service provider. In some cases, a smartphone's GPS feature may utilize a "data" connection which is just a way of the GPS attaining its functionality by way of the mobile phone network. Using such a phone in Europe may compile some significant, if not astronomical fees from the service provider. It is critical to thoroughly understand your particular mobile phone plan before attempting to rely on your smartphone in a foreign country. We strongly recommend that you contact your cell phone service provider for full details about the ramifications of using a smartphone GPS in Europe before you leave for your trip. You'll be glad you did!

    Note: Industry experts are working to develop a worldwide satellite network to be used for all mobile phone signals. When this strategy is implemented, the blending of GPS and phone technologies will be complete.

    where to buy?

    Great deals on the GPS units that we have recommended (as well as those we have not) are available through a wide variety of vendors on the internet. We recommend using a reputable seller such as Amazon.com for your online purchase.

    Bricks-and-mortar companies like the USA's BestBuy offer a wide selection of GPS models both in-store and on their websites. Not all of the items shown on their websites are available in all their stores, but it may nevertheless be wise go into the store and speak with the GPS expert there (if there is one).

    maps

    Suitable maps are not provided with your vehicle. We recommend that you invest in a top quality map or maps or a very good atlas — even if you will be using a GPS navigation device. Nothing beats a paper map for general travel planning purposes. Hunkering over such map with, say, a cup of coffee is one of the great pleasures in life. For those reasons, buy your maps before you leave. Once abroad, however, you can buy them in airports, bookstores or auto service stations.

    Everyone wants a free map, but in addition to death and taxes at least one further fact will always be true: free maps are not good maps.

    And no matter what map you get, remember the words of Thomas Ottavi: "There are lies, damned lies, and then there are maps."

    travel insurance

    We recommend that our clients purchase travel insurance and/or trip cancellation insurance to insure against the risks of any unexpected occurrence or loss.

    Travel Insurance Review
    Travel Guard International
    Legend Travelers
    Travel Safe Insurance

    motorhome propane, water, waste, electrics, etc

    LPG, Water, Waste, Electricity, Cooking, Heating
    Dumping Stations ("sanistations," "wohnmobil stellplatz")
    Sanidumps
    Motorhome Electrical Issues
    Roy & Carol's RV Electrical Info

    flights to whitehorse, yukon's gateway to alaska

    Condor offers direct flights from Frankfurt, Germany, to Whitehorse every Tuesday and Thursday, May through October. Air Canada operates two daily flights between Vancouver and Whitehorse, and tickets for these can be appended to Air Canada and Lufthansa tickets from/to Europe.

    border crossings

    USA Customs
    Canada Customs
    Alaska Border Crossing
    Alaska Road Travel Info

    road reports

    Alaska Department of Transportation
    Alberta Motor Association
    Drive British Columbia
    Manitoba Road Info
    Newfoundland & Labrador
    Nova Scotia Transportation
    Ontario Road Reports
    Transports Quebec
    Saskatchewan Highways
    Yukon Road Report

    rv rental videos

    Videos from Fraserway RV
    Videos from Go-West RV Rental
    Videos from Owasco RV Rental
    Videos from Canadream RV Rental

    camping

    Your RV Lifestyle
    RV Parking
    About RVing
    RV Park Reviews
    Access Camping
    Campingo Campground Guide
    Camp Source
    Discover Camping Canada
    Parks Canada
    British Columbia Parks
    Ontario Parks
    Quebec Parks
    Nova Scotia Parks
    Newfoundland & Labrador Parks
    Saskatchewan Parks
    Camping British Columbia
    Camping Manitoba
    Camping Nova Scotia
    Camping Ontario
    Camping Quebec
    Travel Canada
    Travel British Columbia
    Nunavut Tourism
    Tour Yukon
    The Milepost: Since 1949, the Bible of North Country Travel
    Campgrounds Alaska
    Banff & Lake Louise
    US National Park Service
    US National Parks
    US Recreation
    Camping USA
    Go Camping America
    Reserve USA
    Reserve America
    All Campgrounds
    RV America
    KOA Campgrounds
    Passport America
    Camping and Campgrounds
    Free Campgrounds
    Go RVing
    Go-camping.org
    Tracks and Trails
    Woodalls
    Smart Camping Guide

    miscellaneous resources

    British Columbia Ferries
    Automotive Measurement Conversions
    All-Hotels.com
    American Express Travel Services
    OANDA Currency Convertor
    Tourism Offices of the World Directory
    Embassy Web
    Telephone Directories on the Web
    Vector Portable Power Products
    Association for Safe International Road Travel

    general advisories

    With respect to manual transmission vehicles, it is the client's responsibility to know, or to learn how, to drive a manual transmission. The rental company (i.e. the vendor) will likely refuse to deliver such vehicle unless all the drivers listed on the rental contract are expressly or evidently proficient in the operation of a manual transmission vehicle. There are no refunds in such cases.

    Vehicle models and layouts are not guaranteed. Some vehicle accessories, such as an awning or a bike rack, are not guaranteed, because some of the vehicles are delivered from the factory to the rental company so near to the pick-up date that there is no time to install such items.

    Where and when road or weather conditions, and perhaps laws or ordinances or such, dictate the wise or requisite use of specific tires or specifically embellished tires (e.g. tires fitted with snow chains or socks), it is the driver's responsibility to abstain from driving until such tires are installed on his or her vehicle. It is nevertheless the client's responsibility to return the vehicle with the initial (i.e. original) set of tires installed or co-present; otherwise the client will be billed for those initial tires. It is the client's responsibility to research and understand such laws in relation to his or her rental and itinerary.

    Regarding snow chains, it is vital that you check and if necessary maintain the tension of the chains frequently, and certainly after every short journey. Also, with the chains fitted do not drive faster than about 35 miles per hour (60 km/h).

    IdeaMerge suggests that our clients do not plan to rely solely on any one guide nor even on any collection of such guides (whether they be in book form, software form, or online) to determine the location or quality of appropriate hotels and campgrounds. Such a guide — especially if it is provided free of charge by the vendor or another entity — should not be considered suitably thorough and up to date, although in many cases they are very useful. Even if a vendor's policy is to provide such guide with every rental vehicle, they occasionally run out of supply because too many clients lose or abscond with the guide, or for other reasons beyond the vendor's control. IdeaMerge therefore suggests a sort of rule of three: use at least two published guides (in book form, software form, or online), and rely on your own on-the-ground research (e.g. following local signage, questioning local people, and so forth) to complete the picture. Market forces usually take care of the rest because they result in hotel and campground locations per the general demand and thus near where you are most likely to desire such location.

    Neither IdeaMerge nor the vendor is responsible to assist in locating or recommending hotels or campgrounds to clients. Any assistance IdeaMerge or the vendor does give in that respect should not be interpreted as sanctioning or signifying the suitability of the services or products provided at the hotel or campground.

    For motorhome travel soft-sided, collapsable bags are the best sort to use, because they can be stored within the vehicle without taking up much room. See our relevant Locations page for information about whether or not the rental depot will store luggage for you.

    Unless otherwise specified on the IdeaMerge website or by the relevant IdeaMerge vendor, clients should not plan to park their own vehicle at the rental depot. At some rental depots such parking is possible, but only if upon the pick-up occasion there happens to be room on the depot grounds. Typically rental depot personnel can direct clients to optimal parking solutions nearby the depot.

    Check all accessories at the depot to be sure they are in working order. If there is a problem say something at the depot before leaving.

    Ask questions during the vehicle orientation; refused to be rushed.

    You will be held liable for vehicle damage that is deemed to occur during your rental. Test drive the vehicle at and near the rental depot where you begin your journey. If you notice anything unusual about the vehicle, especially the clutch, return it to the depot immediately.

    Drive carefully. The security deposit that you leave with the rental company upon the pick-up occasion will be debited for vehicle damage.

    Please carry a mobile phone with you so the vendor can easily contact you if necessary and in case of emergency. Please confirm that your phone service provider and contract allows you to call toll-free numbers.

    The vehicle should returned with the toilet waste receptacle (e.g. blackwater tank) and the shower/sink waste water tank (greywater tank) empty. Otherwise the vendor reserves the right to charge a waste cleaning fee.

    Moreover, the vehicle should be returned clean inside and be emptied of luggage by the reserved return time. (Typically the vendor will clean the outside.) If the vehicle is not clean on the inside — i.e. not only emptied of luggage but also with clean floors (vacuumed or thoroughly swept), clean seats, clean appliances, clean bathroom, and generally clean surfaces — the vendor reserves the right to charge an interior cleaning fee.

    If proper return (as described above) occurs after the reserved return time, a charge will be levied for each extra such hour (up to the daily or nightly rate); and the customer will assume responsibility for claims made against the vendor by the subsequent customer because the subsequent customer's pick-up is the delayed by the late return.

    Upon returning the vehicle the client should report to the vendor any ticketed parking violations, ticketed traffic violations, and toll-road violations and such that the client knowingly incurred during the rental, along with any documentation thereof (e.g. the ticket itself). The cost of any associated fine or fines devolves upon the client, even if the client was not directly ticketed for the violation or was otherwise unaware of the violation. Moreover, the vendor might charge to the client an administration fee for processing each such fine.

    Also see our General Disclaimers & Notices.

     

     
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