Packed and fueled up, Candian snowbirds are gearing up to head south as the U.S-Canada land borders reopen.
After a long period of waiting, travel restrictions are being eased at the land borders today for vaccinated Canadian travelers, and Canadian RVers are delighted to hear the news, said Canadian RV Association President Shane Devenish in a CP24 broadcast interview.
“There’s been a lot of uncertainty whether RVers will be able to go down south with their rig this year and they’re very excited when they got the announcement. I’m hearing that they’re all going to a campground right at the border just trying to be the first to cross,” Devenish shared.
Canadians who want to escape the winter typically start heading south in November around American Thanksgiving, said Evan Rachkovsky, the director of Research and Communications of the Canadian Snowbirds Association.
Another group of Canadian snowbirds leave about after New Year, he added.
Devenish agreed, saying that most Canadian travelers prefer to go somewhere warm as Canadian campgrounds outside of British Columbia generally aren’t built to be used during the winter.
“So they want to go somewhere warm, and they want to take their RV with them whether in Florida, Arizona, Texas, or even Mexico,” Devenish said.
He also said that last year was “extremely difficult” for the association. During border closures, Canadian RVers would either go out west to BC trying to find a campsite. Some RVers also tried boondocking in warm areas in the country.
Left without a choice, some Canadian RVers also planned to have their rigs taken across the border by a commercial vehicle while they take a plane to the U.S.
Devenish implied that the border’s reopening today saved RVers from costly expenses just to transport their rigs south. “Fortunately, the border opened and they don’t have to do that… they’re very excited to be able to use their RV as normal,” he added.
According to Devenish, having Canadian RVers back on the road and able to drive south is a good opportunity for the Canadian RV Association.
“It’s huge for us. We estimate [there are] between 50,000 to 100,000 RVers that go down south,” he said. During the interview, the CRVA president suggested that the Canadian RVing and camping industry has been “phenomenal” recently, with shipment numbers increasing by nearly a hundred percent. However, demand has exceeded the supply, leaving a lot of RV dealers with a small inventory.
Yet, Devenish remained optimistic. “We’re hopeful that dealers could replenish their stock,” he said and suggested that more people are interested in buying their first RV as the perks of RVing remain appealing to consumers.
“The opportunity to take their hotel room and restaurant with them wherever they went really caught the eye of new RV consumers and we saw [that] buyers—probably between 30 and 40 percent—were absolutely new purchasers, which is tremendous to see,” Devenish said.
The Canadian Snowbirds Association projects that 90% of snowbirds will take the trip down south this year, with Florida and Arizona being the two biggest destinations. They also advised snowbirds to carefully check and read their insurance policies as most travel insurance providers limit the covid-related claims.
“One thing that we are noticing is that there are some travel insurance providers that are placing caps on the amount of money that they are going to reimburse for COVID-19-related claims. So even though the policy might have an overall health benefit [o] maybe a million to five million dollars, anything COVID-19-related might be capped to about $100,000. So they should read their policies carefully, and if they do notice those kinds of caps, they should absolutely walk away and find a provider that doesn’t put those kinds of caps on their travel insurance policy,” Evan Rachkovsky said.