Norway RV
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10 Countries Where They Love RVs as Much as Americans Do

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Way Off the Beaten Path

Americans have long known that RVing is a fun, adventurous, and economical way to travel, and it appears the rest of the world is catching on. Two market research firms, Mordor Intelligence and Zion Market Research, recently released reports showing that the global recreation vehicle market is expected to grow significantly in the next four years, and plenty of nations are positioning themselves to reap the financial rewards of that growth. 

This year, the coronavirus pandemic has only heightened interest in RVs with many travelers seeing them as a safer vacation alternative that allows for social distancing. Still, some countries lag behind in infrastructure to support an increase in RV travel — making it less safe and comfortable. On the other hand, many realms beyond the U.S. borders have long been known as wonderful places to snag an RV rental (or drive your own if possible) and hit the (incredibly scenic) road. Here are 10 places around the world where you can take your RV adventures to the next level when the pandemic subsides and travel restrictions ease.

Related: 17 Tips for RVers Riding Out the Coronavirus Pandemic

Motor Home on Road Trip to Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada
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Canada

Our northern neighbors live in a country jam-packed with natural splendor, with plenty of road trip routes that show that scenic beauty off, so it’s no wonder that both Americans and Canadians love to RV there. RV retail sales support the idea that Canadians are RVing in increasing numbers, too, with the figure rising from $6 billion in 2013 to nearly $8.75 billion in 2018, according to Statista

While taking your RV to Canada is certainly easier than, say, Africa, there are some requirements, so travelers should check with Canada’s Border Services Agency before planning a trip. Or you can rent an RV after arriving with companies like Cruise Canada. Finally, remember that Canada is a massive country with tons to see, so even choosing where to point your rig can be overwhelming. For some guidance, check out 20 Stunning RV Camping Destinations Across Canada.

View of camper van in Norwegian fjord landscape in Besseggen.
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Norway

Norway has long had a reputation for being one of the best countries to RV in, and Statista has noted a steady rise in the revenue of campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks in the country since 2011 — a trend that’s expected to continue through at least 2023 when it could reach more than $250 million. Why? Well, the country, which is approximately the same size as California, has 47 national parks that feature everything from spectacular waterfalls and crystal clear fjords to majestic mountains and vast glaciers. 

The country also adheres to allemannsretten, or a “right of access” put forth in the Outdoor Recreation Act of 1957 that ensures that all residents can experience nature, even on some privately owned lands. Interested in your own Norwegian itinerary? Rent RVs on sites like Camper Champ and Campanda — just note that they are typically much smaller than an American RV, many in the camper-van size range — and check out this top 10 sites list from VisitNorway.com.

Related: What It's Really Like to Retire in an RV

RV France
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France

Europe has something that the U.S. doesn’t when it comes to motorhome travel, and that is a system of Aires, or stopover points, where travelers can park their rigs and stay overnight for free or a small fee. France is largely considered to have some of the best Aires on the continent, some public and some private, and totaling around 4,000 of them. It also has more than 10,000 of the continent’s 30,000 campsites, according to an International Trade Administration (ITA) publication on recreational transportation in Europe, and the same paper noted that there are “five major manufacturers and distributors of RVs” in the country, more than in many other European markets. 

Not quite ready to buy a French motorhome? Travelers can rent a motorhome or campervan through sites like Yescapa. Another reason it’s such a popular country for RVing, and a more romantic alternative to Aires? France Passion is a network of winegrowers and farmers who let RVs park for free on their lands.

Related: How to RV Without Going Stir-Crazy

Holidays in summer at the lake, Germany
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Germany

Other than France, Germany is one of the fastest-growing RV sectors in Europe. The previously cited ITA publication notes that it was the country with the largest number of motor caravan registrations in 2015, totaling nearly 30,000, and the second-largest number of touring caravans (what’s known as a trailer in the U.S.) registrations with nearly 20,000. 

If you want to tour Europe for a few weeks, Germany is also the perfect place to start. Travel expert Rick Steves notes that you can save around 19% by picking up your rental RV or campervan here because German companies don’t charge a value-added tax, or VAT, if you rent for 31 days or more. There are about 3,600 campsites in Germany, according to the ITA. Many campers plan an itinerary that follows the Rhine River, which has a number of adjacent RV campsites.

Camping on shore of lake tekapo, new zealand
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New Zealand

If you’re noticing a trend of countries where the incredible natural scenery equals an enthusiasm for the RV life, you can add this island nation to your list of evidence. After all, about one-third of the country is designated parkland, and that includes 14 national parks and a number of reserves that encompass everything from scenic shorelines and cultural and historical sites to rugged mountains, glaciers, rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls, and fjords. 

New Zealand has recently extended its lockdown and travel restrictions. Last year, however, the New Zealand Herald noted that while campervans remained a popular and more budget-friendly vehicle option in the country, “Kiwi buyers are leading the way for high-tech and luxury motorhomes,” including the futuristic, Christchurch-based Romotow, which sells for around half a million dollars. Don’t have that kind of cash lying around? Motorhome Republic lists some of the many opportunities — as well as rules and regulations — for getting around this beauty of a nation in a campervan or motorhome — something its residents call “caravanning.” 

Related: The Most Outrageous Luxury RVs Money Can Buy

Iceland RV
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Iceland

If you’re a foreigner traveling in Iceland, you won’t be able to pronounce most of the campsite names, but you’ll have plenty to choose from as you make your way around all or part of the country’s Ring Road (not to mention some in the country’s interior). Some camping spots require a camping card, available at many locations throughout Iceland; others do not. Those who’ve RVed in the country say finding a spot is never a problem, finding and dealing with electric hookups is also relatively simple, and that there is a map of dump spots around the nation that's a good idea to download ahead of your trip. Finally, you can book a rig — camper or motorhome — at places like Campervan Iceland, whose blog offers plenty of tips and wisdom on having a successful Icelandic adventure.

Related: Here's How to Visit Iceland Without Spending a Fortune

Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia RV
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Australia

Like in New Zealand, RVing is called caravanning in the Land Down Under, and it is an incredibly popular form of travel there thanks to diverse landscapes like miles of coastline, stretches of rust-colored interior desert, and plenty else in between. 

“In Australia, it is all about getting as far away from the city as possible,” notes Kevin Read of the blog Travel with Kevin and Ruth. To help with that, there are websites and apps like Free Camping Australia and Camps Australia Wide that help travelers find free and budget campsites in each of the country’s regions. And Australia even has a KOA of sorts, known as Big4 Holiday Parks, which operates around 200 locations across the country. 

Finally, sites like THL Online or Britz can help adventurers book a campervan or motorhome and, if you want some advice on where to go and more, this KOA post offers some tips from Australia’s Best Drives team, a collaboration between tourism boards within the country. 

Related: 10 Tricks for Staying Cool in Your RV

Mexico RV beach camping
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Mexico

There may not be a lot of rigs on the road in Mexico, but the more adventurous RVers love traveling here, noting the availability of campgrounds and beachfront public lands to choose from when parking for the night. Americans can take their RVs into the country, but should be sure to check the notoriously fluid rules and regulations. 

There are also camper rental sites like VanBalam. Either way, it might be a good idea to know some basic engine maintenance, too, as RV repair places in Mexico are few and far between. And keep in mind that Mexico’s infrastructure — electrical, water, road quality — isn’t what you’ve come to expect from American camping, so those who are prone to complaining about less-than-pristine U.S. RV parks probably won’t find RVing in Mexico as magical as the more adventurous among us do. 

Related: 15 Memorable Things to Do in Oaxaca, Mexico's Culinary Capital

Etosha National Park RV
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Namibia

Didn’t expect to find an African nation on this list? Namibia (as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, and some other Southern African countries) offers respectable highways and services as well as a surprising number of affordable campgrounds. Travelers who want to experience Namibia’s incredible desert landscapes and free-roaming wildlife can either rent an RV (a four- or six-berth motorhome will cost around $1,000 for a week) or join a guided tour, but should also keep in mind that RVs here are much smaller and less luxurious than what they’re used to back home, and there are options to travel even lighter and cheaper via a camping-equipped 4x4. 

According to those who’ve traveled the country’s vast spaces, recommended pit stops include the wildlife-abundant Etosha National Park, the incredible rock formations of Spitzkoppe, and the red desert dunes of Sossusvlei. 

Related: Tallyho! 12 Tips for an Affordable Safari

winding mountain road and sunflowers.
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China

China, the first country hit by the coronavirus, is another destination with sweeping incredible natural wonders, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that China’s RV industry was growing. Market firm Goldstein Research recently estimated that about 25,000 RVs were purchased in the country by the end of 2017, and that “this number could reach 400,000 by 2025” as “national efforts on the development of tourism, campgrounds and the RV industry” increase. Mordor Intelligence, a market intelligence and advisory firm based in India, also recently noted that “in recent years, China emerged as the largest recreational vehicles market in the Asia Pacific.” 

If you're interested in buying an RV in China in order to tour around when travel restrictions ease, note the experience of Joe and Kait Russo of RVing blog We’re the Russos. In a recent newsletter, Joe wrote about touring a number of RVs manufactured in China while traveling there, pointing out that all were “small RVs (that) had some interesting features, like washing machines and built-in water boilers for tea. Some of them were really cool and affordable, leaving Kait and I wishing we could buy them in the States.” 

Related: Gorgeous Teardrop Trailers and Tiny RVs That Will Make You Want to Hit the Open Road