American RVers – How to Plan Your RV Travel to Canada today!

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Planning a road trip to Canada in your RV? Make sure you’re prepared for absolutely everything American RVers need when planning any RV travel to Canada. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of things you need to know before you reach the border crossing and not have any last minute surprises during your trip in Canada. 

Use this guide to prepare for your ultimate RVing adventure in Canada!

Have you started a travel journal recording your campgrounds, maintenance, highlights, etc?  You might want to consider checking out the Ultimate RV Log Book.

Table of Contents

Prepare for Border Crossings

#RV travel to Canada
‎⁨Coutts⁩, ⁨Alberta⁩, ⁨Canada⁩: photo courtesy of Grant Keller

More helpful information for American RVers:

Before crossing into Canada, you need to be aware of the necessary paperwork needed at the border by the Canadian Customs Officer. You will need a valid passport and a valid driver’s licence. Depending on your RV, you may also need other documents such as insurance information, registration and title for the vehicle.

What can you bring into Canada in your RV?

For a more detailed list focusing on traveling with firearms, pets, children, food, and much more find the information here

Become Familiar with Canadian Road Laws & Regulations

When you’re coming to Canada in your RV, it’s really important to be familiar with the laws and regulations that may apply for each province.  I know, it’s confusing because each province may have its own specific set of rules for RV drivers, ranging from speed limits and vehicle size requirements, to towing and transporting restrictions.

Don’t get overwhelmed thinking about these – it’s really not difficult. It’s the same for Canadian RVers who travel into the US – they must ensure their compliant with the US local laws.  

The one difference you’ll find is that the speed limits are posted in Kilometres and not miles. It’s easy to convert – just remember when you see 100 kms it doesn’t mean 100 miles per hour!  You don’t want to get into trouble your first day.  Here’s an easy conversion table to use if you want to know how to convert miles per hour to kilometres per hour.

RV LIFE Trip Wizard

RV Life Trip Wizard:  With over 20,000 campgrounds in both Canada and the US this is one of the most popular trip planning apps. I like it because it’s a visual map and can be customized to our RV – giving us costs of trips and driving times. (yes, I am affiliated but believe this is an excellent app.)

Road Conditions for RVers in Canada

Canada does offer some of the best RVing opportunities in the world, with a vast network of highways right across the country. To view the weather forecast in an area you are researching check out the Canadian Weather Network.

I would like to think our roads and highways in Canada are perfect year round but that would be a lie.  So, I have to admit Canadian roads can be a pleasure or a challenge for RVers, depending on the season. In the winter the roads may be icy and slippery, while in the spring you may have to maneuver around potholes.  

And then come summer, construction and congestion can affect your driving plans but come fall you will be amazed at our beautiful fall colours.  

Prepare for your trip by researching resources like road maps, recommended driving speed limits, seasonal weather patterns and potential hazards along the route. 

My advice:  Follow the signs, be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.  A popular trip planning app is RV Life Trip Wizzard

Weather Considerations for RVing in Canada

Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world – so that means it’s vast! Because of that our weather varies greatly across the country based on elevation, proximity to water and time of the year. For example, temperatures in August may range from as low as 50F (10C) in Alberta, and British Columbia to 86F (30C) in Toronto.

Check out The Canadian Weather Network here!

One thing to note:  Canada uses celsius to measure temperature while the US uses Fahrenheit.  I’ve put an easy conversion tip below if you would like help figuring it outdoing your RV travel to Canada.

To convert temperatures in degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply by 1.8 (or 9/5) and add 32.
 
Knowing what to expect in terms of weather during your travels is essential for planning a practical itinerary and packing the right clothing for your trip.

Shopping & Practical Advice - Buyer's Tips & Currency Exchange

#shopping in Canada

Shopping in Canada

Make shopping an exciting part of your Canadian RVing experience! But before you hit the stores, it’s important that you know what to expect. All prices will be listed in Canadian currency and the best advice I can give you is to use Canadian currency when you shop – either cash or credit card. If you attempt to use US dollars the stores will probably accept it but you definitely won’t get the best rate of exchange.

You probably won’t find many shops, stores or merchants who don’t accept debit or credit. I think Canadians use debit more than in any other country. However, before you leave home – check with your bank and credit card company for advice on the best way to pay for things in Canada.  What are their currency exchange policies? I hate to have to remind you Canada is a foreign country to you and it’s best if you adapt and use Canadian currency. 

Shopping in Canada is very similar to shopping in the US. But, you will soon notice all of our labels are in both English and French – that’s because both are our national languages.  Most typical products you purchase at home in the US can probably be found in Canada, depending on the area you visit. 

Canadian Foods

Different regions may have items or foods that you’ve never seen before – what a great opportunity to try new things!  

I was once asked whether we had pizza in Canada and I can honestly report we have some of the best pizza around so don’t think you’ll have trouble finding your favourite foods to eat.

Almost every town, city or region have grocery stores, banks, hardware stores, restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, churches, bars and all kinds of entertainment.  

Canada offers a variety of options for stocking your pantry while on the road. As noted above grocery stores can be found almost everywhere (even remote towns) and have an impressive selection of local flavours and products. Regional specialities abound in markets and regular supermarkets, offering you a tasty way to explore our culinary riches in Canada.

Here’s a few regional foods to check out: 

Nanaimo Bars: A treat! Delicious made with decadent chocolate, graham crackers, crunchy nuts, rich butter and custard – no baking involved.  So tempting!

Poutine: This popular French Canadian food consists of crispy fries, cheese curds and rich gravy – can be found in most parts of Canada.

Bannock: In the past this was a staple in Canada’s Aboriginal People’s diet. It’s a delicious simple bread.

Health Care for visitors to Canada

Recommendation:  Have travel insurance!  I worked for a major travel company for a few years where our clientele were mostly international travelers.  Accidents and sickness happens and if you don’t have travel medical insurance and need to go to the hospital your expenses are going to be huge!  Protect yourself.

Camping in Canada - Navigating the Campgrounds & RV Parks

When RVing in Canada, there’s no shortage of camping spots and RV Parks to choose from. My recommendation – spend some time researching different campground options before you arrive at your destination. Depending on the time of year and whether it’s the busy camping season (June, July, & August) you should consider making reservations in advance, although it’s not always necessary. It depends on your level of comfort in being prepared.

There are many beautiful Canadian Federal Parks – Parks Canadaacross the country and each province have their own provincial parks (listed below) that are absolutely beautiful with many opportunities for wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation and relaxation.

Most often each town or city have their own campgrounds or RV Parks and there will be private camping facilities as well.  In the major centres such as Vancouver or Toronto finding a spot may become difficult unless you reserve in advance. Most of these towns or cities will have a website listing tourist related information regarding accommodation – campgrounds and/or RV Parks.

Traveling out of the major centres will give you more opportunities for finding good camping or parks spots.

Most campgrounds provide basic amenities for RVs such as access to water, sewage and electrical hookups. Some offer additional amenities like swimming pools, showers, laundry facilities, fitness centres and I’ve seen mini-golf courses!

Finding sani-dumps can be an issue but this resource may be helpful. 

Canadian Wildlife Viewing & Unique Outdoor Experiences

Viewing opportunities from the front seat of your RV is second to none! RVing in Canada is a great way to view some of the most unique and beautiful wildlife and scenery in the world. Not only do we have thousands of beautiful lakes and rivers, our mountains are majestic, our forests are vast and untamed and our our wilderness is rugged.  Wildlife viewing opportunities may include moose, black bear, cougars, elk and much more!

If you’re looking for some truly unique outdoor experiences, why not try bear-viewing or whale watching? We have licensed guides who will ensure your safety and offer you an outstanding experience.

On Canada’s west coast is the Pacific Ocean and on the east is the Atlantic, while to the north is the Arctic. In between you’ll find almost every type of terrain imaginable from semi-desserts to rain forests and everything in between. 

Canada is an outdoor enthusiasts playground! Come and see for yourself what types of activities you can participate in, especially if you’re looking for some truly unique experiences.

RV Travel to Canada won't disappoint you!

Bring your RV to Canada, include your pets, bring your enthusiasm for trying something new and start exploring our beautiful country. I will be surprised if you don’t return many times – there’s so much to see and do!

What information can you share with visitors to Canada? Please comment below and feel free to share this post on your social media accounts.  Thanks!

Please note: There are affiliate links within this post – where I may receive a very small commission if you purchase something but it doesn’t cost you any extra. I only recommend products I like and/or tried.

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