Photo: AV Wakefield/Travel Alberta

The Road Tripping Guide to RVing and Safety

By Allan Britnell

For summer road trips that could last anywhere between several days and a few weeks, safety and comfort are your top priority. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips and new information for you before you head out for that unforgettable vacation. RVers, AMA members and those curious for insurance tips pay close attention and this guide will set your pre-trip anxiety at ease.

HAPPY CAMPERS

Nothing beats an RV for the ultimate in road trip comfort. But before heading out, do all the standard checks you’d make on your regular vehicle (tune-up, top up fluids, check tires for wear and proper inflation, etc.), plus a few RV extras.

Reinstall any dry cell batteries (topping them up with distilled water) and other equipment you removed for winter storage.

Test all mechanical and electrical systems, including the heater, air conditioner and all appliances.

Check the seals on the top of the unit and around the windows and door; re-caulk as necessary.

Test smoke, carbon monoxide and gas-leak detectors. Ensure you charge the fire extinguisher to maximum capacity. Replace any missing items in your first aid and emergency roadside kits.

If you do run into problems along the way, AMA’s Plus RV and Premier RV plans include fuel delivery, towing and battery boost—along with travel and trip interruption insurance. In case of a breakdown, Premier RV plans include a rental car as well.

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS

One of the most essential things to pack for any road trip is your AMA membership. Vicki Sherwin, AMA’s director of membership and member rewards, shares a few insider tips about finding the right membership and saving money along the way.

Which AMA membership is right for me?
It’s important to consider individual needs. What’s your daily commute? Do you take a lot of road trips? What types of vehicles do you own or operate (car, motorcycle, RV)? Do you have other family members who also require coverage? What membership benefits interest you the most?

Are there add-ons for summer road-tripping?
Yes, Plus and Premier levels of coverage include extended towing mileage, coverage for motorcycles, and more reimbursement options for out-of-pocket expenses should you have your trip interrupted. You may also want to consider Associate memberships (at a reduced rate) for other family members who might be driving during road trips.

How can I save money on my membership fees?
Members can earn reward dollars by showing their membership card at select AMA reward partners or by shopping online through the AMA eStore. When you purchase or reload gift cards at AMA you earn 5% cash back every time. You can put reward dollars towards annual membership fees or redeemed for other AMA products and services, including flights and vacations.

INSURANCE IQ

While preparing for a road trip, insurance concerns are the last thing you want to think about, yet it could be the most crucial part. Brush up on some insurance basics to ensure your coverage from coast to coast.

Keep a Hardcopy
Though digital auto insurance pink cards are accepted in many provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, they’re not accepted everywhere. If you’re crossing provincial borders, carry your paper copy as well.

Check Your RV Coverage
From fifth wheels and motorhomes to tent and travel trailers, you can get policies tailored to your unique RV. Coverage typically includes physical damage, contents, living and travel expenses, and personal liability. Some policies also cover portable and permanent structures, and trailer accessories.

Consider Trailer Insurance
You aren’t legally required to have insurance for tow-behind trailers, but you should consider it. Neither your auto nor your property insurance will cover physical damage to toys on the road or in your driveway.

Is Your Rental Car Covered?
Some auto insurance policies and credit cards offer rental insurance.
Check your policy when renting a car.

Protect Your Health
As Albertans, we’re not covered by the province’s insurance plan when
we’re travelling across Canada. That’s why it’s essential to have health insurance for emergences—from ambulance rides to dental mishaps.

MORE TO READ
The Road Tripping Guide to prepping and packing.

SCENIC ROUTE: SEA-TO-SKY HIGHWAY

As its name suggests, the Sea-to-Sky Highway (officially Highway 99) connects Vancouver to Whistler and offers panoramic ocean views and mountain vistas.

In 2016, The Guardian ranked it one of the world’s five best road trips. The roughly 120-km trip starts by crossing Lions Gate Bridge into North Vancouver. The route ends at the foot of Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, with numerous viewpoints along the way where you can pull over for family photo ops. Attractions en route include the Britannia Mining Museum, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and the soaring Sea to Sky gondola and Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge in Squamish. AMA members can get an exclusive rate when staying at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.