RV Caravans Tours-Some Considerations - Part 1
by Dan & Lisa Goy
RV Caravans Tours-Some Considerations - Part 1
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Lisa and I have been camping for decades, as children with our parents, later as adults with our own kids and now just us. We have tented, owned a tent trailer, Class B and now we are on 3rd travel trailer. My first camping experience was tenting in White Rock at a public campground near the cemetery, the most memorable was when my Mom and Dad took us to the New York World’s Fair in June of 1964 in a Ford wagon and tent trailer. These days we operate and lead an RV Caravan Tours Service as WagonMasters on Baja, Mexico, however we have never actually participated as guests in such a Caravan. We do know that RV Caravan Tours are in operation around the world including several operators in North America. These include RV Caravan Tours to Alaska and the Canadian Territories, East Coast Canada and US, Mainland Mexico, Baja Mexico and many, many more.
The number one benefit of traveling in an RV Caravan is someone else does the planning! No fuss, no muss, you pay your money and your off! Guests have told how much they enjoy not having to worry or stress about where they are going to stay, get fuel, shop for groceries etc. Folks really enjoy just following along, taking in the scenery without regard to a map or GPS.
A well planned RV Caravan Tour operated by knowledgeable WagonMasters ensures you get the most out of your journey! You see and experience the best of what the region has to offer, which means no crappy RV parks, awful restaurants or rip-off tourist traps. RVers can spend hours researching reviews about different establishments and activities and still be disappointed. As they say, nothing can replace “boots on the ground” that have scouted out everything before hand and having personal and intimate knowledge of the turf, operators including where to go and not to go. Nothing stops any camper from loading up their GPS (or buying a good map), purchasing a good camping book and heading off on your journey. If you continue to return to a area year after year, you will have all of the above sorted out. This was been a great approach when we were 30 with our lives in front of us and limited funds. Maybe not such a good idea when we are 64, when we now have some extra coin, and perhaps we should be a bit more efficient with our time as we are now much closer to the end than the beginning on our journey called life!
Camaraderie is built in! A Caravan experience ensures a group experience which includes Happy Hour, Potlucks, Restaurant Outings, Group Activities and the adventure itself. Often a bond forms on a road trip where many people let their guard down, pretences fade away and lifelong friendships are formed. We find guests continue to travel together on future road trips or make a point to see each other somewhere on another journey. We now have 2 regular stops in the U.S. on our way to Baja with RVers who joined us on a previous caravan, these folks have become good friends and we have visited others long after the tour was over.
Another plus traveling in an RV Caravan are the interesting people you meet and get to know. RVers can have some very diverse and unique personal stories and professional historys that you would never experience seeing folks casually at a chance encounter at an RV Park or campground for a couple of hours. Because everyone shares the
love of RVing and we are together for a month or more, this often encourages folks to share their stories and different life experiences. It is truly incredible how much we have learned about the world, fascinating careers and different locations places people have visited just sitting around a campfire, walking on the beach, playing horseshoes or during happy hour.
A significant benefit of an RV Caravan is the support you receive in the event you breakdown. Larger RV Caravans have Tail Gunners who will stay with you to get your situation sorted out. The WagonMasters and Tail Gunners should be very familiar with reputable local mechanical shops and towing services who can be summoned if required. It is very comforting indeed not be stuck in the middle of nowhere when your RV breaks down. Most often if the issue is minor, like a flat tire, the whole caravan will simply wait and everyone will resume when the repair is made. Generally speaking, this is not the case if the breakdown is major because as they say “The Show Must Go On”. However this does not mean you are just cut loose and left on your own. Arrangements will be made for repair and accommodation; tour contact information and a schedule of potential rendezvous points will be provided; and the caravan leaders will be in regular contact to see how you are progressing and if other support is needed. The Downside
We know with RV Caravan Tours size really does matter! Depending on the size of the RV Caravan can definitely impact your experience. Waiting and sitting as everyone gets fuel, taking body breaks, stopping to buy supplies, lining up at a restaurants, setting up or departing from an RV parks all take longer the larger the RV Caravan grows. The larger the group of people, the longer all of the above will take; this is bad if you are an impatient person by nature.
Some caravans are more flexible than others, but generally speaking the WagonMasters set the pace and everyone follows. This could be too fast or too slow depending on your driving habits and a real potential source of frustration or stress. Your freedom to stop whenever and wherever you want is often non-existent; this can be problematic if your body break schedule is different than the WagonMasters and they are not flexible.
WagonMasters operate on schedule and set the travel environment of the caravan. If they are experienced, confident, and familiar with all aspects of the tour and locations, people friendly and possess good organizing and conflict resolution skills, all is good. Unfortunately this is not the reputation of most WagonMasters, particularly those that are in-charge of larger caravans that can be very challenging to keep organized and on schedule. We personally cannot imagine organizing a group of 40 people and 20 rigs. This would be very stressful for sure and a lots less personal, no wonder many WagonMasters seem more like “Drill Sergeants” than tour guides.
Departure times are usually inflexible, not good if you are a late sleeper or have a morning routine that takes some time before you are prepared to leave. We have seen larger caravans assembling before dawn prior to departure, often idling away for almost an hour.
Larger groups of people travelling together can often lead to the formation “Clicks” which can be very annoying to others and frankly disrespectful to the entire caravan. Before you know it you have been transported to a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and gossip abounds.The HorribleContinue On To Part Two Of This Story