The Top International Destinations for RV Camping
The US Isn't the Only Country Where RVing is a Popular Way to Travel
RVing may seem like a quintessential American pastime, but that doesn’t mean the US holds a monopoly on camping in a motorhome or travel trailer. In fact, it is a popular activity in many corners of the globe, including some places where you might not expect it.
If you’ve been struck by a case of international wanderlust but want to explore new landscapes in an RV, these are the destinations to have on your bucket list. Each has a thriving camping community with vehicle rentals, established campgrounds, and plenty of online resources to help you plan your escape.
Get your passports ready; you’re going to need them.
For American RVers, visiting Canada is the easiest way to experience another country in a motorhome or travel trailer. Because we share the longest and most peaceful border in the world, crossing back and forth is usually a quick and easy affair, allowing travelers to bring their own vehicles.
Much like the US, Canada has an excellent network of highways and roads that are well-maintained and easy to navigate. It is also home to an array of fantastic national parks and other stunning outdoor landscapes, with not shortage of campgrounds. If you want to dip your toe into international RV travel before taking the plunge elsewhere, Canada is a great place to gain confidence and experience.
Australia is a massive, wide-open country with diverse landscapes and thousands of miles of coastline to discover. Here, caravaners—as RVers are known Down Under—prefer to get as far away from civilization as possible, leaving urban settings behind for the wild and remote Outback. Renting a motorhome, camper van, or towable is very easy, and there are plenty of options for free camping throughout the country. You’ll also be blown away by how friendly and accommodating Australians can be, welcoming adventurous travelers with open arms.
Like Australia, caravanning is extremely popular in New Zealand, with even more beautiful and dramatic landscapes to explore. Camper van and Class C rentals are common on both the North and South Island, with some companies even offering pick-up and drop-off services. RV parks and campgrounds are strategically located close to some of the most popular tourist destinations, and “responsible freedom camping” is a possibility for experienced and diligent travelers.
Another country with no shortage of stunning landscapes, Norway has become a top RVing destination over the past decade or so. That’s because, despite being relatively small, it is home to 47 national parks connected to urban centers by excellent roadways. Most of the country—including some private lands—is open to free, dispersed camping, making it easy to find a place to park your vehicle at the end of the day. Camper vans are an especially popular way to travel here, with rentals available in most large towns and cities.
Iceland’s famed Ring Road takes travelers through some of the planet’s most remote and beautiful landscapes. Naturally, that makes it an excellent option for exploring in a camper van that serves as the perfect base camp for your adventures. You’ll find more than 150 campgrounds located throughout the country, most of which do not require an advanced booking. This makes it easy for travelers to drive as little or as much as they like, adding flexibility and spontaneity to their itinerary.
Iceland has worked very hard to create an excellent tourism infrastructure, making it easy for visitors to explore everything the country has to offer. The Ring Road route is well documented, with great places to stop for fuel, supplies, and information throughout. You’ll also find plenty of attractions to keep you busy, with options to soak in hot springs, hike on a glacier, spot waterfalls, catch the northern lights, and much more.
While Europe as a whole offers many excellent options for RV travel, France is especially outstanding. From the Alps and the Pyrenees to the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, there is much to see and do there. Along the way, you’ll find quaint villages, countless historical monuments, and some of the best wineries in the world.
Best of all, France has a fantastic infrastructure designed to support RV camping. That includes offering more than 4,000 “aires de service,” which are low-cost or free camping areas scattered throughout the country. These locations usually have a designated area for RV parking that is perfect for stopovers while in transit to your next destination. Alternatively, check out France Passion for a list of more than 2,100 wineries, farmers, and other locations where RVers can stay for free.
Car, tent, and RV camping is a popular pastime in Japan, with friends, families, and couples often renting small camper vans to take on their outdoor adventures. Most use these vehicles as a means to escape the hustle and bustle of busy metropolitan areas and reconnect with nature in peaceful rural and mountain areas.
There are thousands of campgrounds to choose from across the country, but many book up well in advance. This is especially true from mid-July to mid-August when much of the country goes on vacation. Some beaches and tourist destinations offer free camping, but depending on your location, they can be challenging to find and fill up quickly. Camper van rentals are easy to obtain just about anywhere, making it easy to get out on the road in a compact, easy-to-drive RV with a surprising number of amenities.
Traditionally, RViing hasn’t been especially popular in China, but that is rapidly changing. The country’s middle and upper classes have grown steadily in recent years, as has the interest in traveling by motorhome and travel trailer. To accommodate this increase in popularity, camper van rentals have become increasingly easier to obtain, and more and more campgrounds have opened.
That said, the RV boom is still in its infancy throughout most of China, making finding a vehicle or a place to camp challenging. Those who love a good adventure will appreciate this aspect of the experience, but others may find it a bit frustrating. Still, as vehicle-based camping continues to grow in popularity, these challenges will get ironed out quickly, opening the door for more travelers to visit this ancient and fascinating country.
We’re going to cheat a little and put several countries into one category. That’s because the experience of RVing in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe are all quite similar. All four nations offer options for RV rentals, and crossing the borders between them is fairly straightforward. Each has its own designated campgrounds as well, with options located close to popular tourist destinations and wildlife preserves.
Unlike in the US, camping of any kind is prohibited in national parks across Southern Africa. Because most of those locations are home to some of the most endangered species on the planet, access is tightly controlled at all times. Visitors can often find campgrounds just outside those parks, and private landowners often allow guests to stain their property.
Like China, the RV camping infrastructure is still evolving and growing in this part of the world. It is also a place where many of the comforts and modern amenities we take for granted simply aren’t available. That can make it a daunting destination for some travelers, but those who make the journey are rewarded with beautiful landscapes, incredibly friendly people, and wildlife encounters that are unmatched anywhere else on Earth.
This is just a sampling of some of the best places to go RV camping in other parts of the world. As this style of travel continues to expand and grow, expect infrastructures across the globe to develop to support the lifestyle. In the meantime, any of the destinations above make for unique experiences for anyone looking for a new RV adventure.