Do you need a special license to drive an RV in Canada?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do you need a special license to drive an RV in Canada? We will discuss the rules of RVing in Canada; when it is the best time to travel in a motorhome in Canada and other tips and tricks. 

Do you need a special license to drive an RV in Canada?

No, you do not need a special licence to drive an RV in Canada. In fact, you just need to have a valid regular driver’s license from your home country to rent an RV in Canada.

Here are the two conditions necessary for your license to be accepted there:

  1.  Your license must use the Latin alphabet.
  1. Main and additional drivers must have obtained their driving license for more than 12 months.

In all cases, rental companies only accept vehicle rentals for people aged 21 and over.

Can I rent an RV in Canada with a European licence? 

For residents of Europe, a B permit is required, whether for an RV rental in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. Unfortunately, holders of a French white license cannot drive a vehicle in Canada. Indeed, the regulations surrounding the white French license are restricted and only allow driving a vehicle for serious reasons or in an emergency.

If you are a resident of Switzerland, you must now hold a pink license, the only valid one.

If you still want an international driving license, remember that it must ALWAYS be accompanied by a national license. Without your original driving license, the international driving license is worthless and you will not be able to take charge of your vehicle.

Note: The customer must present a payment card in the name of the main driver. When picking up the RV, it is therefore mandatory to present a driver’s license and a credit card with the SAME NAME.

In general, rental agencies will freeze an amount on your credit card covering the excess payable in the event of an accident.

Conditions if you own and drive an RV in Canada

Besides having the right type of licence, if you want to buy and drive an Rv in Canada, you must: 

  1. Be the holder of a class 5 driver’s license
  1. Register it with an F plate

Be the holder of a class 5 driver’s license: Before being the holder of an automobile license, you must obtain a learner’s license, successfully complete a driving course, then pass the theoretical and practical exams of the SAAQ.

Register it with an F plate: A motor home owned by a business or a self-employed person must be registered with an SAAQ service point. The procedure for registering a motor home is different if you are an individual.

What is the minimum age to rent an RV in Canada?

The minimum age for renting and driving an RV in Canada varies from one supplier to another, between 21 and 25 years old. Here is the minimum age required depending on the supplier:

  • Cité Caravane: 25 years
  • Fraserway: 21
  • Four Seasons: 21
  • Canadream: 21 years old
  • Cruise Canada: 21
  • Best Time: 21
  • Happy Holidays: 21 years old

Note also that there is always a deductible to pay in the event of damage to the vehicle. This deductible to pay varies depending on the supplier, between $ 750 and $ 4,000. 

Moreover, be aware that the amount of this deductible to pay will be frozen on your credit card when the vehicle is taken over. The amount will be refunded to you only upon delivery if the vehicle is in the same condition as you took it.

When to travel in an RV in Canada?

The season of RV travel is always shorter than the season of road trips when we often sleep in hotels, inns or lodges.

Obviously, cool nights are cooler when camping. Even if you have a good heating system, it is less pleasant to go RVing when it’s cold. In addition, campsites are often closed in the low season.

Here are the ideal seasons for RV travel in Canada:

  • Whether you go west or east, the seasons are relatively the same.
  • The peak season for RV travel is between June and August. However, there are more people and the price of campsites is higher.
  • It is possible to travel by RV in the month of May, especially in its second half.
  • September is a really great month to travel in RVs because the days are still quite warm, there are fewer people and the prices are more reasonable.
  • It is also possible to travel in October, especially the first 15 days.
  • Forget about RV travel in Canada between November and April.

Where to sleep with an RV in Canada?

Of course, the best place to spend the night in an RV is in a campground. However, some travellers are looking to save money by finding free places to park their RVs overnight.

Here are some examples :

  1. WALMART: The Walmart store chain allows RVs to use its parking lot overnight for free. Don’t forget to ask the manager’s permission before settling in. Also, note that you will not have the right to open your extensions (slide-out).

Also, note that not all Walmart will allow you to spend the night in their parking lot. Check out this list of Walmart to find out if they accept RVs or not.

  1. ROAD HALLS: It is important to know that it is illegal to stay overnight in rest areas in Canada. You are entitled to a maximum of 1 hour. You can risk it, but there is a good chance that you will be woken up in the middle of your sleep by the police and have to leave the area. It doesn’t wake up very well and it doesn’t make for a great relaxing vacation.

Aside from these 2 places you can think of, there are plenty of others but all of which are at your own risk.

By far the best way to make the most of your vacation is to book a campsite. There is something for all budgets.

Do I have to book a campsite in advance in Canada?

Planning an RV trip to Canada and wondering how far in advance to book your campgrounds? Depending on the season, the answer is yes.

Indeed, if you travel between mid-June and the end of August, you are in high season. So if you want to ensure availability, it is better to book at least 3 months in advance. Also, it is not very pleasant to look for an available campground during your vacation time. Opt for tranquillity.

Finally, another good reason to book in advance, even if you are not travelling in the high season, is to have access to the most beautiful grounds. The principle of “first come, first served” also applies to campsites. Some travellers book up to 1 year in advance to make sure they get the land they want.

It is true that booking in advance takes away a little freedom at the time, but it also takes away a lot of stress and wasted time on vacation.

In any case, if your itinerary is well studied, you will have chosen the stages well and you will have no reason to improvise.

FAQ on Do you need a special license to drive an RV in Canada?

What license to drive an RV in Canada?

According to the Quebec Automobile Insurance Company (SAAQ), a simple passenger vehicle license (class 5) is required to drive an RV.

How to drive an RV?

Follow these tips to drive an RV in safety:

  • Check the functionality of the RV before the trip;
  • Know your surroundings. 
  • Find Blind Spots.
  • Get out of common places safely 
  • Use a spotter. 
  • Keep Your Distance.

How to get a temporary driver’s license in Canada?

To obtain a temporary driver’s licence you must make an appointment by phone before going to an SAAQ service centre. An automated telephone service allows future drivers to make an appointment for a driving test themselves.


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