RV tours–planned group caravan trips to specific locations–can be a great way to explore a destination without having to worry about the logistics of trip planning. But are they worth the expense?
The answer might be “yes” for several reasons. An experienced guide or “wagon master” handles everything like route planning, campsite reservations, day trips, and evening activities for you. With a tour group, you may get a vastly greater local knowledge than while passing through an area on your own.
Typically, the tour group assembles at a given rally location and travels together from location to location. A bit like you might envision a boat cruise, only traveling over land in RVs. For many people, this is a good option for “bucket list” destinations like Alaska, Baja, or out of country, where you may want the guidance and safety of traveling in a group.
Although you may find shorter duration tour adventures, many RV tours involve multiple weeks. It is common to see tours that last 30-60 days, not including the time it takes to get to the initial rally location or home from the final destination. For locations that are outside of the contiguous 48 states, however, the longer trips allow you to experience more of what those locations have to offer. The tour company will have key connections to reputable places and adventures that you may not find traveling on your own, which can enrich the experience of your travels.
Spike Fortier, owner/operator and wagon master for Alaskan Discovery RV Tours, has been planning and leading 37-day tours through western Canada and Alaska for over 25 years.
Alaskan Discovery Tours provides helpful features like a traveling mechanic and ongoing commentary on the history and geology of the areas (via radios so you can ask questions as well). Spike and his team incorporate 118 different fascinating speakers, tours, and events along the way, including some very captivating people in the area.
Roughly 80% of his clientele are either retired or full-timing who have the AlCan Highway and Alaska on their bucket lists and appreciate his companies vast experience traveling “where the good road ends.” Spike’s vast knowledge and connections of the area make for a truly unforgettable travel experience.
Look for these things before booking with an RV tour company:
- Company BBB membership and rating
- Years of service (both company and trip leaders)
- Group size (tours should be limited to best enhance travel logistics and tour experiences)
- Possibility of date changes
- Types of activities included
- What costs are included in the package vs. what you are responsible for on your own
- Cancellation policy
- Pet/children policy
- How are mechanical issues handled (is there a pre-trip mechanical check?)
- Amount and location of “free” time to explore on your own (are options and suggestions for side trips provided?)
- Other previous traveler’s experiences and reviews