A Beginner's Guide to RV Caravans

What is a Caravan?

An RV caravan is a group of travelers moving together from one destination to the next. These tours can be professionally organized by a caravanning company, or informal - a large group of friends traveling together from place to place.

Where Can Travelers Go on a Caravan Tour?

The locations are endless when planning a caravan in your RV. The most common countries for this type of RV travel are the US, Canada and Mexico because of the ease of movement from one to another. While North America is the most popular area to caravan, scheduling with a travel company opens up a world of possibilities. Other areas to visit include: Australia, Central America, South Africa, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, The United Kingdom, and Ireland. With international travel, caravan companies take care of the planning, including routes, fuel stops, and places to camp. Typically with overseas travel, a motorhome is provided for each person or couple in the group once arriving in the initial country.

Who Guides the Caravan?

The leader of the group is referred to as the Wagon Master, while the last RV in line is called the Tail Gunner. The Wagon Master and Tail Gunner can be informal names for the first and last RV in a casual caravan among friends, but these roles have specific responsibilities on a professionally scheduled tour. When booking a caravan through a travel company, rest assured the Wagon Master and Tail Gunner will be trained tour guides for the specific location, and will handle the details of the tour. The Wagon Master will have mapped out specific routes to take and where fuel and rest stops are along the way. Arrangements for campground reservations for the group will be scheduled in advance in grounds with appropriate accommodations, as well as planned attractions to visit. The Tail Gunner will follow behind to aid in motorhome breakdowns or other emergencies. Typically the Tail Gunner is a trained and experienced RV mechanic, and if a repair is not possible, will arrange to tow the motorhome for service. Together the Wagon Master and Tail Gunner will facilitate tours at scheduled sites, and will provide participants with appropriate materials such as maps and a daily agenda.

What are the Benefits of a Caravan?

The stress of planning an RV trip to a new city or country can become overwhelming. With a caravan company, they take care of all the details, leaving nothing but packing left to the participants. Reservations are made in advance in quality grounds leaving little room for disappointment over low quality accommodations. Concerns over fuel locations, safety, and worry over breaking down are small because of the planning that goes into the trip prior to leaving and the security in numbers mindset. Social interaction is a bonus on caravan trips, with activities being scheduled with the group in mind as well as social hours in the evening to interact with other caravanners. The design of a caravan gives participants instant travel companionship.

What are the Downsides to Going on a Caravan Tour?

Some of the same things that make a caravan a positive travel experience, can be negative points for some travelers. When scheduling a caravan through a travel company, plan on being on the trip for nearly a month or more. This amount of time may be overwhelming for a first trip of this nature. On occasion there are itineraries closer to 12 days which may be best for first timers. If group activity and lifestyle is not what comes to mind when thinking of RV travel, caravans may not be the way to go. Many people from different backgrounds who have never met before are put in the situation to travel and interact with each other - exciting for some, maybe not for others. The price of caravan tours can range from around $1,500 to more than $15,000 for international trips, with different amenities supplied by each travel company. Typically airfare is not included when traveling overseas, adding to the cost of the trip.

Other RV Articles for Beginners:

An Introduction to RV Terminology

Types of Recreational Vehicles