Hundreds of RV trailers sit idle in fields for a large part of summer. Cherie and Chad Ball noticed them and got the brilliant idea to start a company called wheelestate.ca.
The Okotoks, Alta., couple thought that when the owners aren’t using their recreational trailers, they could share the fun that road-tripping and RV-ing brings and make some extra cash from their idle assets.
It’s a bit like Airbnb, where anyone can rent a home, condo or apartment directly from owners for a daily rate. Wheelestate.ca connects more than 600 owners of RVs – and counting.Wheelestate.ca is a new Alberta-based business that connects RV owners to renters, kind of like AirBnB for the camping set. Photo: Wheelestate.ca
Over the past two years, the couple has built an online community of 5,000 members – owners who rent out their towable RVs and the guests who rent them. Membership is free.
Last year, the couple had 2,500 nights booked and by April 2018 they had 1,500 bookings. They call it the “sharing economy,” where owners make cash on their RV investments and renters get the joy of camping in comfort without the hassles and costs of owning a camper.
The process is simple. Just search online for the type of towable RV that suits you – a cute and comfy little Bowler or a spacious glamping-style, 32-foot model kitted out with all the creature comforts.
Prices range from around $65 a night to around $250 for a cushy camper. The fee includes $1 million in insurance and round-the-clock roadside assistance service provided by Coach Line. A $1,000 security deposit is returned when the RV comes back undamaged. Once guests choose their trailer, location and dates, there’s a meetup with the owner, who gives the renter the rundown on how everything works and off they go on their holiday.
Details at wheelestate.ca.
Explore B.C.’s wild West Coast from a luxury catamaran
The wildlife and scenery on Canada’s West Coast is untamed, but a new luxury expedition ship for exploring the region is not. It offers all the creature comforts that adventurous travellers could want.Sunset dinners on the back deck of the Cascadia. Photo: Maple Leaf Adventures
Maple Leaf Adventures, an award-winning eco-travel company, has added a newly-renovated vessel to its fleet, the Cascadia, a 138-foot catamaran. The luxury boat’s spacious cabins and an open-air aft deck lounge can accommodate up to 22 guests – thanks to a $1-million refit.
The boat’s small size allows it to unobtrusively navigate small coastal inlets and communities that bigger vessels just can’t get to, allowing guests to see such coastal wildlife as bears, whales and wolves.
Cascadia sailings will begin in July. There are five itineraries:
- Haida Gwaii
- Great Bear Rainforest
- Vancouver Island
- Fjords of southern B.C.
- A wine cruise in the Gulf Islands
The company also has in its fleet the MV Swell, a comfy and sleek retrofitted tugboat and a 92-foot schooner with similar itineraries.
Maple Leaf Adventures has been a leader in sustainable eco-tourism for many years. It has received the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award and has been called “Best in the World” by National Geographic Travel as well as a “signature experience” by the Canadian Tourism Commission.
Cost of the all-inclusive expeditions range from $3,999 to $11,450 per person, depending on trip length and destinations. Book the fall trip to the Great Bear Rainforest aboard the MV Swell tugboat by May 31 to take advantage of free flights from Vancouver to the launch point in Terrace, B.C.
Details at www.mapleleafadventures.com.
Travel Insider’s Skyscanner summer airline deals
Here’s a sample of recent domestic and international flight prices from major cities across Canada on Skyscanner.ca. The search was done through the “cheapest month” option for one economy flight for an adult in the past 15 days. All prices are in Canadian currency and include taxes and fees. As always, prices are subject to change.
- Vancouver to Toronto for $417CAD in June 2018 – 27% savings
- Vancouver to Seoul for $734CAD in September 2018 – 33% savings
- Calgary to Vancouver for $142CAD in June 2018 – 57% savings
- Calgary to Hong Kong for $618CAD in June 2018 – 32% savings
- Edmonton to Manilla for $817CAD in May 2018 – 26% savings
- Edmonton to Toronto for $303CAD in May 2018 – 39% savings
- Toronto to Vancouver for $400CAD in June 2018 – 29% savings
- Toronto to New York for $273CAD in May 2018 – 26% savings
- Winnipeg to Vancouver for $169CAD in June 2018 – 24% savings
- Winnipeg to Los Angeles for $360CAD in September 2018 – 14% savings
Troy Media columnist Lisa Monforton is an award-winner Calgary-based travel writer. Follow @lisamonforton on Instagram and Twitter.
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