Canadian Study: RV Vacations Save Money

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A study released Jan. 14 by RVDA of Canada, the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA) and Go RVing Canada compared travel options, highlighting RVing as a cost-effective vacation.

The study, conducted by The Portage Group, showcased 2020 research that found RV vacations less expensive than vacations including a hotel stay.

“The purpose of the 2020 Family Vacation Cost Analysis is to highlight the fact that there are cost savings when traveling by RV,” RVDA of Canada President Eleonore Hamm said. “First-time buyers often ask our dealer members about affordability, and this study gives concrete examples of what a typical RV trip might cost.”

The vacation cost analysis was based on a hypothetical family containing two adults and two children, traveling by different transportation modes and staying in different accommodation types. The following five trips were analyzed:

  • Trip 1 – Montreal, Quebec to Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario for three days
  • Trip 2 – Halifax, Nova Scotia to Quebec City, Quebec for 10 days
  • Trip 3 – Toronto, Ontario to Sturgeon Falls, Ontario for three days
  • Trip 4 – Brandon, Manitoba to Drumheller, Alberta for 10 days
  • Trip 5 – Vancouver, British Columbia to Banff National Park, Alberta for seven days

Findings showed the lowest-cost vacations were those taken in tent camping and travel trailers. Those vacations were 16 percent lower than driving and staying in Airbnbs. Trailer vacations were 37 percent lower than driving and staying in hotels, and 57 percent lower than flying and hotels.

The savings range was 7 percent to 27 percent compared with Airbnb, 32 percent to 44 percent compared with driving and hotel vacations and 48 percent to 71 percent compared with flying, the study found.

“RV travel can reduce your family’s vacation costs when compared to car and air travel,” CRVA President Shane Devenish said. “One of the trips analyzed was a Vancouver to Banff National Park vacation. This very popular seven-day trip costs about $2,887 with a travel trailer. Doing so with a personal car and hotel, costs would be closer to $4,950.”

Actual cost differences vary significantly depending on accommodation cost in a destination, trip length and distance, RVDA of Canada noted.

“Understanding the affordability of RV vacations and travel is one of the most common searches we see on the Go RVing Canada website,” Go RVing Canada President Chris Mahony said. “RV enthusiasts see that they can not only have a safe and convenient way to travel, but also incur cost-savings. The report highlights that they will spend less per day when compared to other types of vacations analyzed.”


Below is a total cost summary and cost per day for each trip configuration:

Tent Camping Trailer Travel Trailer Class C Motor-home Personal Car/ Hotel Personal Car/ Airbnb Air Travel
Trip 1 – Montreal to Algonquin Provincial Park – 3 Days
Total Cost $1,272 $1,331 $1,518 $2,025 $1,498 $4,321
Cost per Day $424 $444 $506 $675 $499 $1,440
Trip 2 – Halifax to Quebec City – 10 Days
Total Cost $3,918 $4,033 $5,812 $6,670 $4,344 $8,971
Cost per Day $392 $403 $581 $667 $434 $897
Trip 3 – Toronto to Sturgeon Falls – 3 Days
Total Cost $1,142 $1,188 $1,442 $1,740 $1,477 $2,668
Cost per Day $381 $396 $481 $580 $492 $889
Trip 4 – Brandon to Drumheller – 10 Days
Total Cost $3,864 $3,979 $5,710 $6,045 $4,400 $7,662
Cost per Day $386 $398 $571 $605 $440 $766
Trip 5 – Vancouver to Banff National Park – 7 Days
Total Cost $2,777 $2,887 $3,930 $4,947 $3,794 $6,076
Cost per Day $397 $412 $561 $707 $542 $868


In addition to major expenditures required from the vacations’ start to finish, The Portage Group also factored in estimated RV ownership costs.

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