RV Retirement Travel – buying a US RV

cross borders

So this is quite a subject, bring stuff across the US border doesn’t normally seem to be a problem if you follow all the rules. The length of time you are out of the country along with the value of the goods you want to bring back to Canada.

Heads Up

There is a little known fact that the CBSA (the guy in the booth can pull), if you have bought something that is worth more than your allowable limit, you cannot combine it with your wife’s, or who ever is with you. You have to pay duty on the residual amount.

Buying an RV in the US

Anyway back to the topic “buying an RV in the US”. If you read my last post, ‘RV Retired Travel – taking your toys,’ click here to read it if you like, I had mentioned that our motor home broken down outside of Palm Springs. In the end it was and engine design problem with the Trident V-10 (1999). I’m not sure if the problem still exist with the later models.

motor home image

After the break down we decided it was time to get rid of the motor home. A travel trailer was our next choice. We researched travel trailers in the US and Canada and decided we would get more bang for our Canadian dollar in the US.

canada sign

I consider myself a good Canadian and I know I should shop at home, but the difference we pay for items in western Canada (not sure about the east) vs in the US is criminal. The average price for most items I have checked out is 50% more in Canada. An example, I bought a Ryobi skill saw in the US at Home Depot Phoenix for $39.99, when we arrived home after our winter vacation, I went to Home Depot in Langley and the same saw was $59.99, 50% more.

There should be a law…


I have found the same with many other products. I would not mind paying 10 to even 20% more but not 50%. I really don’t understand. it seems most of our products are manufactured in China, so shipping is not the issue.

Another example was brought to my attention by a neighbor. This man was a top executive (retired) of Honda Canada, one particular model that was manufactured in eastern Canada, was priced higher in Canada than the US. Why is this? He didn’t know why either.

definitly dirty pool

One more example. A couple of years ago I was considering trading in my pick up truck, so when we were on our annual winter vacation in Arizona I dropped  in at a few dealers to check the prices.

I have a 3500 (1ton) Chevy Silverado duramax diesel. I couldn’t find a 3500 so I was considering a 2500 duramax diesel. The advertised price was $47,000. US (our dollar was pretty close at the time). The price was advertised in the newspaper but when I went to find it there was none there at that price but close, around $50k. the Canadian price was of the identical truck bare bones $65k.

they got you buy the…….


I was choked, so I phoned Chevrolet Canada and asked why there was such difference in price, the explanation was, “different economic situations”, in other words we have to pay more. So I asked the person what I would have to do to purchase a new truck and bring it home. I cannot believe what she said quote, “there is no problem bring the new truck back to Canada but the warranty would not kick in for 6 months or 12k miles”, that’s how they get you. Not only that but many of the dealers will not sell to Canadians because they get fined by the manufacturer.


So the bottom line is they think because our wages are higher that we can pay more, even though our cost of living is more.

Back on subject. In 2013 we bought a new 36′ Winnebago one travel trailer for $34k the only 2 comparisons in Canada I could find were 47k & 50k. If you are considering buying an RV in the US, after our dollar recovers, sell your RV in Canada, they don’t give you much for a trade, used RVs are a dime a dozen these days.

import sigh

Your next consideration is bring your RV back to Canada. First you need to escape paying sales tax in the US and some of the dealers will look after this for you. You just have to take possession across the state line. There are also various documents you need to file. It is probably a good idea to get all your ducks in a row before you start out, Check out ‘importing a vehicle’ on the internet.imprt doc In the end it’s pretty easy. When you get to the border you will need to pay the sales tax, etc and then have the vehicle inspected. We went to Canadian Tire and paid $25. for the eco-fee on the tires, that was it. I believe a used vehicle is easier than a new one and I believe the vehicle need to be manufactured in the US

I hope this article helps you if you are considering buying a vehicle in the US. If you have any questions or comments on this article I would love to here from you, please leave them below.

Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.



7 thoughts on “RV Retirement Travel – buying a US RV”

  1. Thanks for this great information. As a kid I always wanted my parents to get a camper or RV so I could easily entertain myself on road trips.

    Now as an adult I know I’d be the one driving so it doesn’t sounds as great as before! lol

    But anyways, Thanks for the info


  2. Gord, Thanks for the post. I do feel that Canada marks up a lot of their products. Even houses are so much more expensive than in the U.S. Hope things can be brought to justice soon.

  3. Your article on RV travel is outstanding. Wrote a post on taking vacation and taking an RV trip for skiing, camping, and just traveling within your state over the weekend in a great way to take a break.

    1. thanks so much for your feedback, it’s very encouraging, if you could pass along my link to anyone you know who is into RVing I would appreciate it. I have plenty of help full info.
      thanks again

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