Canada RV Rentals—the perfect combination for an epic motorhome vacation
The pride of North America and the second-largest country in the world in terms of land mass, Canada is hugely popular as a motorhome, campervan or RV rental vacation option. Friendly people, cosmopolitan cities and stunning scenery combine to create a unique destination. Bordering the United States, it features eight forest regions, mountains, glaciers, lakes and a somewhat chilly temperature drop during winter. However, the snow sports on offer more than make up for it. Rent an RV in Canada and explore the beauty of the region at your own pace like you’ve never seen it before!
Get the best deals on Canada RV rentals
Looking for a budget campervan hire in Canada? Motorhome Republic is the perfect place to rent Canadian RV or camper units because we offer you so much choice with different rental brands on offer. Just enter your travel itinerary details and we can compare deals on motorhome rentals. Whether it’s campervan size, price or brand that’s most important to you, we can deliver you the best RV rental suited to your travel needs and budget. Enjoy a hassle-free rental experience with no booking fees and lowest price guarantee with Motorhome Republic. Also, our customer service team is available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.
Secure the best deals from these top RV rental companies in Canada:
Cruise Canada RV Rentals
Fraserway RV Rentals
Browse campers, RVs or motorhomes for rent with Motorhome Republic and explore Canada with your family worry-free.
RV rental in Canada: Where to go in your motorhome hire?
Spanning over 9.9 million square kilometres (3.8 million square miles), Canada is ideal for a self-drive motorhome road trip. Home to diverse natural landscapes, stunning ski slopes and vibrant international cities, this beautiful country offers something for everyone.
The hardest part about planning the perfect RV rental vacation in Canada is deciding where to go first! With so much to see and do, you could easily spend most of a year driving across Canada from coast to coast. Spread across ten provinces and three territories, there’s no shortage of places to visit with friends or family in an RV rental.
Popular locations to rent a motorhome in Canada include:
Tips for safely driving your RV rental in Canada
Get behind the wheel of your RV rental in Canada with confidence. See our handy tips for driving Canada RV rentals, including road rules. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:
Driving long distances
If you are planning to rent an RV, van conversion, truck camper, or motorhome in Canada, plan ahead! Canada is a vast, expansive country, and you may be required to drive extended distances in your RV rental. Here are handy tips to help you during your RV rental Canada road trip.
Always have plenty of water and supplies, and make sure the fuel is topped up.
Unlike fellow commonwealth countries, such as the UK, Australia or New Zealand, people drive on the right in Canada. The roads have an excellent reputation in terms of quality.
Once you get away from the cities, be careful of wild animals—keep your eyes peeled, as it’s not uncommon for moose, bears or deer to venture onto the roads.
Drive to the conditions—especially during winter. If you’re not used to driving in cold, wintry conditions, the best time to plan your Canadian adventure is spring, summer or fall. If you have your heart set on a winter RV rental vacation, plan and be extra careful.
Unless instructed otherwise, the speed limit is 100km/h on motorways and generally 50km/h in urban areas.
Road Rules for RV Rentals in Canada
Canada comprises 13 provinces and territories, all with slightly different road rules. Fortunately, the rules are similar across the country. For this travel guide, we have focused on the general rules that apply across Canada.
If you’re going to travel Canada for less than three months, a license from your home country is what you need. You must bring an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) if your license is not in English. You’ll also need an IDP if your RV rental Canada road trip exceeds three months. International Driver's Permits are obtained from your home country before you leave.
It’s imperative to stick to the speed limit at all times. Limits are signposted on the roadside in kilometres per hour. The highest speed limit in Canada is 120kph, which is the limit for the expressways in British Columbia. While each province or territory governs official limits, here are some general speed zones which apply almost everywhere (with very few exceptions):
School zones: 30kph
Urban zones: 50kph
Rural zones and highways: 80-100kph
All passengers and drivers aged 16 years or older (or 15 in Yukon) are legally required to wear seatbelts—in all provinces and territories across Canada. Passengers under the age of 16 are also required to wear seatbelts. It is usually the driver's responsibility to enforce this rule, but exact laws differ slightly across the country.
Driving while talking, texting or operating a cell phone is illegal in Canada. Hands-free devices are permitted in most provinces and territories. Still, officials retain the right to charge you with distracted driving if they believe your use of said devices is impairing your driving in any way. We recommend making all calls while you are safely parked, and the vehicle is not running. If you’re travelling with passengers, let them handle all mobile communications.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal in Canada. Your blood alcohol limit must not exceed 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. As it’s tough estimating how many alcoholic drinks will exceed this limit, we strongly advise against consuming any alcohol before you get behind the wheel of your RV rental in Canada. There are heavy penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug in Canada, including suspending your licence, hefty fines and a DUI or DWI charge.
Give way rules and intersections
Learning the give-way rules is one of the most essential parts of driving in a new country. In Canada, there are several circumstances in which you are always required to give way. If a school bus is flashing red lights, you must stop and wait (it is prohibited to pass). You must also give way to all police cars and emergency vehicles if they are operating their sirens or flashing their lights.
These types of intersections operate on a “first-come, first-go” basis, where the first vehicle to arrive has the first right of way. If vehicles appear to arrive at the same time, then you give way to the right while driving your RV rental in Canada. In most cases, these intersections are relatively straightforward, but if there’s ever any confusion, drivers use hand gestures or flash their lights to come to an agreement.
Otherwise known as “traffic circles,” roundabouts are common in Canada, especially in Quebec. Before you enter, you must give way to all other vehicles on the roundabout. All traffic flows in an anticlockwise direction.
Traffic lights in Canada use the universal traffic light colour code; green means “go,” amber means “come to a stop if it’s safe,” and red means “come to a complete stop.” These colours are displayed as circles (for moving straight ahead) or arrows (to illustrate when rules apply in specific directions only). Some provinces and territories also feature shapes on their traffic lights to assist drivers who are colour-blind.
Whether or not you can turn right on a red light varies across the country. We recommend asking your provider of Canada RV rentals before you set off on your journey.
You may also come across traffic lights with flashing green lights. In most provinces and territories, flashing green signals mean vehicles can turn left before oncoming traffic can proceed. However, to confuse things slightly, these signals have a different meaning in British Columbia and Yukon. In these provinces, they simply inform drivers that they are approaching a pedestrian-controlled intersection and should pay extra attention.
In Canada, the center line is painted yellow, and lines which separate multiple lanes heading in the same direction are painted white. One-way roads feature a yellow line on the left shoulder and a white line on the right.
Generally, you may overtake another vehicle in your RV rental when the center line is broken or dashed. If the center line is solid, overtaking is strongly discouraged. If a dashed line and a solid line are present, passing is allowed on the side of the dashed line. If there is a double yellow solid line, overtaking is prohibited in either direction.
When multiple lanes are heading in the same direction, vehicles travelling slower than the speed limit should keep to the right. Keep to the left if you are travelling faster than other cars (but within the speed limit, of course!) or overtaking another vehicle in your RV rental. Please be aware that in some regions, vehicles are allowed to pass on the right (otherwise known as “undertaking”). This is something to be mindful of so it doesn’t take you by surprise.
It’s hard to memorize every rule about driving in a foreign country, so thank goodness for road signs! These provide essential information about upcoming conditions, hazards, limits and more. If you’re travelling through Quebec, please note some signs may be written in French or a mix of French and English.
Most prohibitive signs feature the colour red. For example, STOP/ARRET signs are red hexagons with the words in white lettering, while YIELD signs are triangle-shaped with red borders. Circular red signs which feature red bars across a black symbol demonstrate that the pictured symbol is not allowed, such as parking or turning right.
Permissive regulatory signs
Green circles with pictorial symbols indicate permitted actions or situations where certain actions are the only option. For example, “left turn only” signs are a green circle with a left-pointing arrow in the middle.
Speed limit signs
Signs which indicate the maximum speed limit in any given area are black and white. The word “MAXIMUM” is clearly printed at the top of the sign, followed by the number (in kilometres per hour).
Most warning signs are black and yellow and diamond-shaped. These signs alert drivers about upcoming hazards or changes in the road, such as intersections, slippery surfaces, sharp corners or bridges. The changes are depicted with simple pictorial symbols.
There are two main exceptions to the yellow and black colours: black and orange signs, which indicate temporary road conditions (such as construction zones or roadworks) and bright yellow and green signs, which indicate school zones (warning drivers that children may be around).
Information and direction signs
Signs which provide navigational information about upcoming towns, exits and nearby landmarks are green and white. Pay attention to these signs as you drive so you don’t take a wrong turn or miss your exit!
The Canadian Highway System
The National Highway System in Canada is made up of highways and freeways. Routes are found nationwide, except for Nunavut, where no National Highway System connections exist.
Don’t let its name deceive you; the Trans-Canada Highway is not one road but a network of roads! This “highway” covers 8,000 kilometres (around 5000 miles) and includes most major cross-country routes. You’ll probably spend a lot of time on this network if you’re planning an extensive Canada RV vacation!
All roads in the National Highway System in Canada are given a number and a name. It’s important to note that most locals refer to the roads by their names, not their numbers, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with both. For example, highway number 16 in Alberta is also called the Yellowhead Highway.
Service centres and rest stops
The quality of the service centers and rest stops in Canada depends on where you travel. In some areas, such as Highways 400 and 401 in Ontario, the modern facilities feature 24/7 bathrooms, fast food, gas pumps, and more. You might only find a bathroom or picnic table in quieter areas. It’s a good idea to explore your options before you set out on a long drive to ensure you’ve got plenty of places to refresh and refuel.
Canada has toll roads in the following states/territories: British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec. A toll road is a broad term—many are bridges. Some toll roads feature payment booths, and some operate electronically (your number plate is registered, and the bill will be sent later). Most RV rental companies in Canada will have a toll road policy—talk to them about how to best handle toll payments when you pick up your rental vehicle.
Parking your RV Rental in Canada
As in most countries, parking in Canada varies widely depending on whether you are in an urban or rural area. Parking should be a breeze out of the big cities, but you’ll want to plan ahead if you’re visiting any of the major city centers.
Parking differs from city to city, but there are a few general rules to be aware of wherever you go. You cannot park facing the opposite direction of traffic flow, in front of fire hydrants, or on the sidewalk. If it is snowing, avoid parking on the street to allow snowploughs to clear the way.
Road signs can help you determine whether or not you are allowed to park somewhere. If you see a green circle with a black “P,” you are allowed to park; however, parking is not permitted in spaces with a red circle around a black “P” and a diagonal bar.
As mentioned above, it’s essential to be careful where you park when it’s snowing so the snow ploughs can do their thing! You cannot park in any section of the road marked as a “snow route.”
You will likely have to pay for parking in major cities. Keep an eye out for private parking buildings or city-administered roadside parking meters. Many paid parking spots accept credit card payments, but it’s best to always carry coins just in case.
Keeping safe on the roads
Being as prepared as possible for any event is vital when driving in a new country. From jotting down emergency numbers to carrying extra gas, here are some tips for staying safe while driving your RV rental in Canada.
The emergency number in Canada is 911; call this toll-free number if you require emergency assistance from paramedics, the police, or the fire service. If you need the police in a non-emergency situation (for example, minor traffic incidents), phone the nearest police station.
Other useful numbers you might want to jot down include:
Non-emergency ambulance: 727-2400
Poison Control Centre: 1-800-567-8911
Driving in winter
Winters in Canada are not “mild” by any stretch of the imagination—so be sure to pack your best winter woollies! If you are planning to rent an RV in Canada and go on a road trip between November and March, it’s a good idea to take precautions for whatever the weather brings (which could very well be snow, snow and more snow!).
We recommend packing a “survival kit” if you break down or get stranded somewhere while waiting for assistance. Good things to include in this kit are first aid items, hi-vis clothing, non-perishable food, warm clothes, a small shovel, sandbags and some bottled water. You should also ensure you have winter-appropriate tyres—ask the RV rental company for more information.
When on the road, drive to the conditions, slowing down where necessary and taking extra care when braking or turning corners. As visibility is often low, keep your lights on at all times—even during sunlight hours. A local tip—many Canadians add some weight to their boot which helps to stabilize the vehicle. This is an excellent place to keep your sandbags (which, helpfully, can also be used to help free your tyres should you get stuck in the snow).
Watch out for wildlife
In rural regions, wild animals such as deer, elk, moose, bears and coyotes pose a genuine concern for drivers. To minimize the risk of a collision, travel at a safe speed in your truck camper, van conversion, motorhome or RV rental in Canada.
Always keep to the speed limit or lower if weather conditions are unfavourable for driving. Say alert (take frequent rests) and be prepared to stop suddenly, by keeping a decent following distance from other vehicles.
A collision may be the safest option if a small animal runs onto the road. However, if a large animal comes into the path of your vehicle, do your best to swerve and avoid collision (provided you can do so safely without colliding with other cars or objects).