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18 May 2005



Order your copy today  RV Living in the 21st Century 

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 And to read the GREAT ARTICLE FROM 

             THE EDMONTON SUN Spring 2005






  • For valuable travel information concerning crossing the border into Canada  RV WebLinks or click here.

  • For information about United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Italy and New Zealand, visit our RV WebLinks.







  Visiting Canada this summer?

You NEED this RV Travel To Canada  ebook! 


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Click here for details

Seminar Handout for FMCA 2011   


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Table of Contents  


Trip planning

Ministry on the road

High-flying pets

Establishing Canadian residency for fulltimers

To tow behind or not to tow

Military Camping

Misc Books---

              Truck stops, 

            Mountain guide

            Free stays

Radar detectors in Canada

 Buying U.S. prescriptions in Canada

 Bringing your pet into Canada

Crossing the Canadian border with liquor

Gun Control info in Canada

Fulltime problems crossing the U.S. border

Valuable info to know before crossing the border.

RoadLinks - Post A Question/Classified Forum ()


Please post all particular questions on RoadLinks. Send E-mails with private (personal) contents to  All questions that other RVers can learn from will eventually be posted to RoadLinks.


Q.  I am a U.S. citizen and we live fulltime in our RV. We are planning to spend some time visiting Canada. I use a radar detector and was just wondering if they were legal in Canada? 


RV Travel to Canada E-Book 2009 answers all these questions and more

RV Travel to Canada Seminar Handouts 2011



A. We don't really understand why anyone would like to use a radar detector when operating an RV especially if you use it to avoid speeding tickets. But, to the question at hand - according to the RCMP, radar detectors are only legal in British Columbia and Alberta plus in a personal vehicle in Saskatchewan  In all other provinces or territories they are illegal and the fine for POSSESSION or USE can be extensive. 

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Q. I know this isn't an RV question, but we're planning on flying to a vacation resort and want to take our small Peke-A-Chu with us on the plane. Do you know of any airlines that allow pets to travel in the cabin and not in the storage or baggage compartment? 


A. More and more airlines are recognizing that people like to travel with their pets in sight and not caged away in the often unheated baggage areas. There are too many airlines to list but you can visit the Pets section of our RV WebLinks to see what is being offered.



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Q.  We live in the states and we were told that instead of buying all of our prescription drugs in the U.S., we could wait until we get into Canada because it's a lot cheaper. Is this true and will there be any problems buying drugs from a U.S. prescription? 


A. Things could be changing in the near future but as of May 2005 the following applies. I'm sure there is a difference in price, especially because of the low exchange rate ($1. Cdn =.79 US$).  According to the local pharmacists, in Ontario, a prescription must be written by an Ontario doctor. BUT if you have a prescription they can probably direct you to a place for a re-write.  Shoppers Drug Mart is a Canada-wide Drug store and the offer an information service that you can call (1-800-363-1020 - it works in the U.S., too - 9 to 5 EST). Ask to speak with a customer service rep.  They may not be able to tell you where you can (or if you can) have a prescription filled but staff at this phone number should be able to direct you to a store location and general information.

            For all prescriptions, it is a good idea to cary the original copy written by your home doctor. To be on the safe side, it would also be a very good idea to also have a copy of your medical records and listing of other medication that you may be taking. For more information about visiting Canada, my new RV Travel to Canada E-Book answers all these questions and more provides detailed information.


RV Travel to Canada Seminar Handouts 2011


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(If you came to this page through the Destination page, click here to return to Destinations.)



Q.   I am a U.S. citizen and plan on visiting Canada next summer. What papers do I need to take my dog over the border into Canada?


RV Travel to Canada E-Book answers all these questions and more

RV Travel to Canada Seminar Handouts 2011


A.    All and crossing into Canada must have a valid

certificate of vaccination (International Statement of Health). This has to certify that your pet has had its rabies shot within the previous three years. If your three-year limit is close to expiring it is wise to have your pet revaccinated. You must also have a certificate from a practising veterinarian clearly identifying the animals

RV Travel to Canada E-Book answers all these questions and more

RV Travel to Canada Seminar Handouts 2011


NOTE: Be sure to check the regulations on re-entry to the USA at (301) 734-8364 (see our RV WebLinks page for additional websites). If your rabies is not dated it will only be good for one year.  (Two years ago my vet removed the label from the vial and attached it to our 'babies' vaccination records with a note verifying they have three-years of coverage).



     If you are bringing a bird across the border it must 

be in good health. You also must fill in a certificate from customs certifying in writing that you own the bird (maximum two-birds per family).  No other person except for the owner can bring a bird across the border without import forms. The certificate must also state that the bird has been in your possession for the 90-day period immediately preceding the date of crossing and that the bird has not been in contact with other birds during this same 90-day period.

       If, for some reason you can't or won't certify the above in writing, you then need an import certificate. For detailed info and the correct interpretation call the Animal Heath Services at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency---CIFA at (Eastern ISC 1-877-493-0468 Central ISC 1-800-835-4486; Western ISC 1-888-732-6222) See also RV WebLink page under Cross Border Information  




NOTE: If, for any reason, a custom agent suspects that any animal coming from the U.S. has originated from a country other than the mainland U.S., then they may require that your pet be inspected. This is rare, but if it does happen, the inspection fee is $30 for the first animal and $5 each for any other animals.

       Pets usually travel across the border problem free. HOWEVER - visitors to Canada could encounter a problem when returning home. Be sure to check the regulations on re-entry to the USA. The number for the U.S. Department of Agriculture is (301) 734-8364

              Our Travel to Canada page and RV WebLinks page have more customs' information.


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Q.    Last year we crossed into Canada (Manitoba) with our motorhome and were disappointed with the way we were treated. We were asked to take all of our liquor out of our motorhome, then we were told that we had to pay duty on all of our bottles which came to more than the price we paid for the  liquor. I think there were only two bottles not opened. We left all the liquor at the border and we could return that way and pick them up again. We are fulltime RVers so why aren't we allowed to carry liquor in our home across the border? If not, why? If so, how much?


A. Many RVers do not realize that although their RV may be their home, it is also a vehicle and subject to vehicular laws in Canada and in the USA. Every country in the world has laws regarding what is allowed and not allowed in the country. Plus, when crossing the border your motorhome is an object in which you transport goods. In other words, your motorhome is no different than a suitcase at an airport. If the custom agents go through all of your luggage to look for goods, after the search, they do not usually put everything back. Your RV is your suitcase and, if searched, expect to repack it. Most agents (on both sides of the border) will try not to make too big a mess if you are cooperative.

Note: We are living in a period of many diseases in agriculture.  As a result many restrictions are in force about what we RVers can and cannot bring across any border. See the 2005  Travel to Canada EBook  and the Travel to the USA page for more information on this subject.


We have lived all over the world & freely travel between

 Canada & the U.S. Our  unarmed borders are a treat. We RVers must respect the individual laws of all countries. Custom agents are only doing their job and should be treated with respect. At least you were given the choice of picking up your liquor when you returned to the states. This is not always the case - I poured 4 litres of wine down the sink during one border crossing.



In Canada, you may bring in

---1.1-litres (40 ounces) of alcohol 

---OR 1.8 litres (52 ounces) of wine

---OR 24  beer or ale ---355-mL (24 x 12 ounces). 

        Any amount over that can be imported upon payment of federal duty, taxes and provincial fees at port of entry. You must also be of legal drinking age 19 (18 in some province).  Call the province for details ---see RV WebLinks page for phone numbers.


         Regarding tobacco products - Again, you must be of legal age of the province or territory to bring in tobacco products. You may bring 

---200 cigarettes, 

---OR 50 cigars, 

---OR 7 oz loose tobacco, 

---OR 200 tobacco sticks.


      Additional amounts will require federal duty, taxes, etc.




A.       We travel with a hand gun on board and we also like to use a rifle in shooting tournaments.  What are the regulations surrounding transporting guns. 


Q.  Details covering Guns in Canada is covered in the RV Travel to Canada E-Book - (RV Travel to Canada Seminar Handouts 2011 LINKS listed on the RV WebLink Page under Cross Border Information section will also provide more information.

   TIP: If you routinely carry a firearm on board and want a place to store it while you visit Canada---before you reach the border break it down, package it and send it by courier to your home or to a nearby gun shop (for cleaning) with "Hold For Pickup" instructions on the label.  When you leave Canada call and have it shipped to where ever you are.


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Q.   We are Canadians and fulltime RVers and ran into problems 

 from U.S. custom agents when we were crossing into  the U.S. We don't like the way we were treated. Why did we have to answer all those questions? We have heard that our U.S. friends sometimes experience the same treatment.


A.   Quite simply put, the U.S./Canada governments are worried that fulltiming RVers will have no reason to return home again and just decide to stay in the host country. The officials are just protecting the laws.

      These governments are also concerned that you might not have a means of financial support and will have to find a job or apply for state assistance. You can't work in another country without the appropriate visa (known as a Green Card in the U.S.A). Some retirees who hope to immigrate to the U.S.A. or Canada will eventually apply for residency, but there's no guarantee that it will be granted. (Read the next Q. & A.)

     Even when travelling fulltime, all RVers from all countries  should have an official 'permanent' resident address. Canadians need this for their driver's licence, provincial health, insurance(s), voting, etc. The campground where your motorhome (or fifth, or whatever) is parked is most likely not acceptable, neither is a post office box.  Some RVers use the address of their children.  American fulltimers also require a permanent residence.  States like South Dakota, Florida, Texas, Arizona encourage RVers to 'settle in officially'  There are other choices as well. 

NOTE: Canadians should read the story I wrote about Residency and Medical Coverage.

     It is advisable to be able to produce current proof that you do have such a permanent address. When entering the U.S. or into Canada, you may (but not usually) be required to show proof of residence, proof of income plus other financial information. 

     By the way, two points that you might not be aware of:

1. Be honest, custom agents aren't stupid and they've heard it all - Canadian Custom falls under the national revenue department an agencies with a lot of power. 

2. We live in a computer age where everything is referenced and can be accessed at a touch. When you reach the border your licence is entered into the computer. Although the system may not be fully implemented, some borders are linked by computer so that when the info is entered, it is possible for the agent to access all pertinent data concerning you. Using different border stations may not bury your tracks or fool the officials.  On the second and third level of digging into computer files they can discover where and when you last crossed the border, past history and if any problems were encountered.  

      For the most part nothing at the border has changed for the majority of RVers, but since both countries are dealing with illegal entries at all border points, the linking of these computers could become routine in the near future. 

     Have proof of your residency and your home and NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU CALL HOME---NEVER volunteer you're fulltiming but answer all questions asked. Officials think that you've abandoned your country and that you could become a burden on the Host country.




     Canadians crossing the border into the U.S. and into Mexico or women travelling alone should visit the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs at  Extremely helpful tips are the three that deal with travel into Mexico, crossing the Canadian/U.S. border and for women travelling alone.


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Q.  We have sold our house and will be fulltiming.  We understand

(from your book) that you fulltime and use your sister's address. We have the opportunity to use our son's address at his new home. Is that good enough? What else can we do to establish a resident to satisfy custom agents when we cross the border into the U.S. for our winter stay?


A. Yes, we are fulltimers and, yes, we call our nieces home ours as our permanent address. When asked where we live, we offer her address. We also use that address for insurance, medical, taxes, census, driver's licence, voter's list and our business records.

       Do we stay in the room that we rent at my nieces place? Not really but her phone is our home phone, and so on. For all purposes, her house is what we call home.

        You can do the same with your son's home. If you feel more comfortable, you may want to add a listing in your name in the phone book using your son's residence. Mail that goes to your son's address should be in your name - not in care (c/o) of your son. This is usually enough to verify that you have a place to live. If you have a confirmation on a seasonal site for the next year or a business or a landline at your campsite these things may also help verify your residency to your home country. For the past six years we have used Mail Boxes Etc as our main 'mailing address'.  They will send our mail anywhere we want and by whatever means we ask for from postage to courier.  Fee is between $2-3.00 per mailing.

        In Ontario, OHIP regulations require residents to have at least a room available that you can call home. Each province has different regulations and these regulations are sometimes difficult to check. Canadian RVers should read the informative story Out of Province/Country Medical and Canadian Residency Info.

       Many people don't understand fulltiming and that is especially true of officials. See question above as to why you do not admit to border personnel that you are fulltiming.  Answer all questions honestly, but DO NOT volunteer extra information.

       When they ask where we're from, we can honestly say the name of our hometown. When we're asked where we're going, we frequently reply with our first stop such as a rally or to visit John's sister (who lives in the U.S.), or that we're simply getting away for a few months.

One note - Blaine, Washington have several over zealous agents who make an issue with the fulltiming situation (this is on the U.S. immigration side). If you have a choice, you may wish to find an alternate crossing. 

         So far, on this continent, we can sleep wherever we wish. Just make sure that you have an official Canadian place to call home, enjoy your travels.


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 Q.  We are retired from the military (like yourselves) and wanted to know if there is a club or some sort of organization for military personnel?              


A. There is a very informative site for military personnel (retired or active) at that lists military campgrounds around the world. Their home page site address is and we recommend it to all present and ex-military personnel. Many retired and serving military RV members also belong to the military 'SMART' RV Club.  See above websites for details.  Their Military Camping and Rec Area publications are very comprehensive.  



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Q.   We are just starting out and plan on travelling western Canada and the western U.S. first. Are there any books to help us?


A. Well, the first book we'd recommend is our own book, RV Living in the 21st Century the sequel to our first best seller Spirit of the Open Road. Another two books that we consider must-haves are The RVer's Friend (a listing of RV-friendly truck stops in Canada and the U.S.  - see our Book Nook page or click on Mountain Directory for more information and peace of mind travel up and over and down the mountains.   (Author Richard Miller wrote one for the west and one for the east and these books are especially important when travelling through mountains). 

Several more must have RV Books are listed on our Book Nook page

       For comprehensive travel info be certain to call each state and province you plan on visiting to request their Travel Guide, maps and camping info. Addresses and phone numbers are listed at the end of our RV WebLinks page

       Safe travel and welcome to the RV camping lifestyle!


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Q.   Would you have any advice regarding towing a small auto behind a 26-foot motorhome? What tow equipment should we buy and are there any driving tips you can give us?


A.  We have towed a 1979 and a 1990 Honda automatic,  a 1998 Cavalier automatic and now a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. By 2005 there are quite a few models available that can be towed four-wheels down (without dollies or any form of modifications). Most no longer record towing miles either. Our RV WebLinks  page feature under Towing and Safety, several helpful links covering this subject as well as websites that sell modifications for several other vehicles. Remco towing are the leaders in this field.

       Do your research and carefully check the warranty. There is a slight possibility that some warranties could become null and void if the vehicle is towed four-wheels down.

        We use a Blue Ox collapsible ALEXUS tow bar that stays on the motorhome. Our base plate on our Grand Am is also a Blue Ox . This car like our Cavalier is designed for 'flat towing'.  Towbars that rest on the motorhome eliminates any chance of the ball working loose during travel motion. Braking devices for your tow car are becoming very popular especially if you plan on doing any mountain driving. They are a bonus in a panic stop situation as well.  BC is the only province or state where it is law - if your vehicle is over 2000kg or 4400 lbs. Check a local RV dealer, ads in RV magazines,  or U.S. RV supply store  for this accessory plus wiring attachments and safety chains.

            Towing four-wheels down is much easier to hook -up than it is to connect using a tow dolly. However if you decide on the dolly, again, ask questions from your dealer or at  shops that specializes in towing and tow products.



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Q.   We live in Arizona and want to travel to the Canadian west. This will be our first trip in our trailer. Could you please tell us the best route we can take? We also want to know about truck stops and cheap camping while we're on the road.


A.   Sorry, we don't do trip planning. The best thing you can do for yourselves is to buy a good atlas (complete with county listings and exit markings).  Be sure to order the travel guides, maps and camping info from every state/province you hope to visit---addresses are on our RV WebLinks page. Then pinpoint sights that you hope to visit en route (towns, attractions, etc).     

       Some RVers can't live without an on board GPS system but John and I use the very effective trip routing of   When you have your list ready, visit the trip planning section of our RV WebLinks page for additional options.  With  working in short distances results in more accurate planning. Within minutes you will have a comprehensive trip planed tailored to your travel plans.

        There is a mega amount of info on our RV WebLink page addressing everything from  border crossings, to campgrounds, to discount camping and so much more.  


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Q.  I am an independent "Global Religious Science Ministries" Minister. My wife and I are very much attracted to the RV lifestyle and I want to know about the viability of a ministry within the lifestyle.


A.  Sorry, we don't know of any specific organization for RVing ministers. There is a truck ministry called Open Road Ministry and they travel in some form of a mobile unit, but I can't remember what type. They were parked in the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop (in Milton, Ontario, Canada) one time when we were there. We have also met an ordained minister and his RVing family in Hanover, Ontario. He ministered to motorcyclists at rallies and other gatherings.

       John and I are very involved in FMCA, they have near 400 chapters. CallFMCA (Family Motor Coach Association is a club for motorhome owners only) at 1-800-543-3622 to ask for their Chapter coordinator. The FMCA webpage is  The Good Sam club may also have chapters. Don't know if these clubs can help, but it is a start in the right direction. Good luck.


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Safe travelling---Enjoy the experience

RV  Living - the Freedom Adventure

Peggi and John McDonald.