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Canadian snowbirds find creative way to get RVs across the border despite it being closed

If you think the pandemic has made life rough for snowbird RVers in the U.S., just think about what it has done to full-time RVers north of the border who want to again travel south to the sunshine.

The U.S. has extended the closing of its side of the border with Canada until at least October 21. Currently, no non-essential travel by Canadians is allowed into the United States, regardless of vaccination status. In August, Canadians began allowing in Americans for non-essential travel who can prove they are vaccinated.

Canadians who live full time in their rigs and who regularly travel to the southern U.S. for the winter now face a dilemma. Many have expensive standing extended reservations at RV parks in Florida, the Gulf Coast, Texas, or Arizona. Most of those reservations start in October or early November. But they currently have no way to legally cross the border driving their own rigs.

Last fall, many full-time Canadian snowbirds were forced to scramble to the coast of British Columbia to garner a spot in one of the few campgrounds that stayed open all year. Most want to return to their down-south winters, regardless of the cost.

A way around the rules

Some Canadian snowbirds and at least one transport company are getting creative. Laura Fordham and her husband, who are currently based in their RV at a park in Puslinch, Ontario, told CBC News they are prepared to pay a commercial driver to transport their RV across the land border in Michigan.

A new service being provided by Transport KMC, a Quebec-based company, has a deal that flies snowbirds from an airport just outside of Montreal to nearby Plattsburgh, New York, just 64 miles south. A certified Transport KMC driver then drives their RV to the Plattsburg airport for “delivery,” and the Canadian snowbirds are free to continue their journey to warmer climates.

Snowbird loophole

The snowbird loophole so far seems to be working. Since Canadians are still allowed to fly into the U.S., Transport KMC devised the plan to charter the plane, fly the snowbirds just across the border, then deliver their RV as a commercial delivery to the American airstrip.

Snowbird RVers are paying $500 a seat for the flights, and it costs about $1,000 to transport the RV across the border. “Every commercial transaction at the border is considered essential,” Transport KMC owner Michael Couturier told CBC News. “We’ve got to have all of the paperwork, and then we are allowed to do it.” He said KMC flies two flights to Plattsburgh each weekend, and the flights are always full.

If you’d like Transport KMC to bring your rig all the way to your final southern destination, it can be done for about $4,300. Catering to the current needs of Canadian snowbirds has allowed Transport KMC to keep all of its 35 workers employed.

According to the Canadian Snowbird Association, more than a million Canadians make the trek south in a typical year, and most cross the border in a vehicle.

Canadian snowbird RVers Bernard Loiselle and Sylvie Charbonneau were happy to use the service to be able to continue their trip to Florida.

“It was great to see – from the plane – our RV down there waiting to us,” Loiselle said.

Related:

U.S. border delays may clip the wings of some Canadian snowbirds

##RVT1021

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Tammy
7 days ago

Very smart business people. Good for them. None of us should have ever had government lock downs. The governments all stepped over the line on their authority. Give the people the medical professionals recommendation and then let the people think for themselves, PERIOD.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago

Doesn’t cost anything if you drive it through the Rio Grande, just maybe a McDonald’s Big Mac to any driver you find along the shore.

Steve Barnes
14 days ago

I call the Canadians who transport their RVs to the U.S. then fly in, cheaters. But then, they are legal. Whose at fault? Perhaps the law. We spent 5 months travelling the U.S. for 12 years but RVed last year and soon this year on Canada’s Snowbird Capital, Vancouver Island. Most of our RVing friends will not go south. Like them, we fear the lower vaccination rate and the political climate. The cost of a commercial carrier and flight does not deter us. This loophole is against our integrity.

Steve Barnes
Kamloops, BC

Ann
15 days ago

I know a lot of people are saying it’s crazy that people can fly here but not drive. I think if you fly here you have to show proof vaccination. If you were to drive here that would not be the case at this time possibly? Either way it’s close to the date of the ban being lifted. I wouldn’t be in any hurry to go to FL, TX, right now with them having the highest cases of Covid ever. Upcoming holidays more surges. Hope you’re vaccinated.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Ann

Not true. The Wuhan is low in FL, TX, as of this post. As for Canadian Citizens. Their Goverment ordered them back some 18 mo. Ago, or their health insurance would be cancelled. Sounds like a nice thing to do, doesn’t it.

Then, we the US Govt bared them from entering by fossil fuel driven transportation, until sometime in Mid November. But, they could hop on a jet and enter the US. If this sounds like baloney, well you Havnt seen anything yet my friends.

Phil Barrow
15 days ago

As an American, I am very thankful that people from other countries come to visit us. Canadians are very polite and responsible people and we should be proud and consider ourselves fortunate to have good individuals like the Canadians visiting our country.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
15 days ago
Reply to  Phil Barrow

That’s a very nice comment, Phil. Thank you! I agree 100%. Have a great day. 🙂 –Diane

Leonard D Rempel
15 days ago
Reply to  Phil Barrow

Thanks for this, we try!
Unfortunately as one of those Canadian Snowbirds, I will not travel South this winter until I am allowed to drive my RV across the border. Fingers crossed!

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
15 days ago

Thanks, Leonard. Our fingers are also crossed for our Canadian friends to be able to visit the States again soon. (Although it makes it a little difficult to type. 😆 ) We miss you, and we hope to see you all down here in the very near future! Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Joe
15 days ago

We wintered in Naples Florida last year and the park usually has about 30-40 % Canadians. Last year there were many empty spots and about 10-15% of the occupants were Canadian. The Canadian people next to us leave their 5th wheel on the spot and flew in from Canada and had their truck delivered to them. I asked how they were going to go back since they could not drive back into Canada. They told me that they will drive to the border put the truck on a transport to take it just across and then take an Uber across the border and pick up their truck and drive home. That made total sense to me!

Rob Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe

WELCOME to AMERICA!

Such BS… to have to do this.
Glad you have a way to keep on living your life.
Innovation is born out of necessity.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Joe

How come all this nonsense is tolerated. Look at it objectively for a moment. All the rules the govt put in place were CIRCUMVENTED. Yet, those with the economic means found a way to beat the system. How do you square that with “oh we have to protect the people from the Wuhan virus” I mean it all makes no sense, does it?

Anne
16 days ago

Maybe they should come around thru our southern border which seems to be open to anyone and their mother to just walk on in… no questions asked and not check ins? Like I “fear” the Canadians coming thru our northern border than I do what is welcomed each day coming thru the southern border. Our government again is screwed up on priorities but oh, then the Canadians can’t be potential voters can they?

Robert Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  Anne

Someone paying attention.

Your right.

J Jay
15 days ago
Reply to  Anne

The southern border is not open to vehicular traffic either. There are certainly thousands of asylum seekers who have made their way to the border, with many crossing by land or river, only to be stopped and processed, even deported. It’s definitely a sad spectacle that speaks only to the misery that so many people endure difficult treks to come north. That Canadians can fly in unfettered but not drive is hugely puzzling, given that Americans can in fact drive across the border.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  J Jay

Deported? Turn the channel my friend, your getting bad information.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Anne

Settle this nonsense at the polls, or forever hold your peace, I Say!

Thomas D
16 days ago

I have friends that couldn’t come to usa last season. They have very expensive property in AZ. Maybe they could get a deal where they don’t pay rent or taxes because of non use. That might straighten out our government. Nah.

Debra Rohm
16 days ago

So, Canadians can fly here but not drive here? What the heck?

tom
16 days ago

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Robert Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  tom

Glad you showed up..
Thanks for cleaning out my house and bank accounts.

JEB
16 days ago

On my way home this past week, driving south on I 95 was passed by two car transporters carrying Quebec license plates. Getting an early start I guess.

Mel S
16 days ago

I guess the US Government doesn’t care about all the money Canadian Snowbirds spend in the Southern US States every winter. They obviously don’t need or want our money.

Tim.kyfl
16 days ago
Reply to  Mel S

No they don’t care about the snow birds, they have all the new “citizens ” from the south to fill the economic gap.

Joe
15 days ago
Reply to  Tim.kyfl

You mean recycling the free $$$$ the US Government is giving them!

Robert Collins
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe

True.

J Jay
15 days ago
Reply to  Tim.kyfl

Tim, you’re missing the point. Canadian snowbirds are generally not trying to move to the US permanently, rather they’re trying to steal our sunshine and warmth during the cold winter months 😁! It speaks volumes that Canadians want to go home when the weather improves, while those at the southern border – well, those poor souls are mostly just trying to survive.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  J Jay

Might I just add a small tidbit here. They are REQUIRED to return within 6 mo. of entry to maintain benefits. Also, Canadians, like us Americans are both way down the “list” of who is prioritized to become citizens in the respective country. Just thought I’d add a bit of facts to the discussion. Go RVing

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Tim.kyfl

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but they have, NO MONEY, NO JOB, NO SKILL SET, NO HOUSING, NO EDUCATION. So, how’s that going to work out?

Kate
16 days ago

Another shining moment illustrating how our government is run by a pack of idiots. (Both sides of the aisle) Allowing people to flood the border to the south without COVID testing, but restricting vaccinated/negative tested people from the North is pure stupidity.

Rolling Coal
16 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Idiots on both sides of the border! Still don’t understand why it’s OK to fly across, but not OK to drive?

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Rolling Coal

It’s simple. Then you don’t look so oppressive!

Bob P
16 days ago

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Mel S
16 days ago

As a Canadian Snowbird, I am very frustrated at the US Gov’t and DHS for not re-opening the border to fully vaccinated Canadians. Canadians are far ahead of US Citizens in terms of the percentage of us being vaccinated yet the US Gov’t will not let us drive across the border. I guess they feel that if we fly into the US, we aren’t high risk in bringing Covid in to the US but if we drive, then we must be high risk. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!! How can it be safer for me to go to a Canadian Airport where there are hundreds or maybe thousands of other air travelers and then get on an airplane (in confined quarters breathing in everyone else’s air) with a few hundred other people and fly into the US instead of us just getting in our vehicle and driving across the border. Makes no sense. And why is the US tying the opening of the border for Canadians to the opening of the Mexican border. What the hell has the Mexican border re-opening have to do with the Canadian border re-opening.

Angela Carberry
16 days ago
Reply to  Mel S

Nafta agreement. And no Canadians aren’t allowed to cross at the southern border either. I have several friends that were turned back trying to drive home to Canada.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago

Silly. Walk across the Rio Grande.

Bob M
15 days ago
Reply to  Mel S

If your frustrated with the U.S. government. You should be in our shoes and see how some of us are frustrated with our government. I can’t understand why Biden and company won’t open the border to Canadians. Who many business in America rely on Canadian visitors money and are medically healthy and vaccinated . But than leave illegal immigrants in from the southern border who aren’t vaccinated, have diseases and no money. Than we have to support them. American is a great country, but our politicians are taking it down hill. Resurrect American.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

Be patient Grasshopper. Oh it’s coming.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Mel S

Respectfully, you left out that it was your govt that ordered all you guys back some 18 odd months ago, or your heath insurance would be cancelled. I mean at the time, that in the eyes of Americans was beyond the pale. Now, we here are seeing just hkw out of control a govt can get if you let them (referring to US) Then, everybody got all worked up about the Wuhan, and honestly didn’t know, at the time, if it was a real threat to the health and safety of the respective countries. In any event, you are at the mercy of your govt, as we are now down here finding out in real time. But, we shall see how this shakes out, because our rights are stated in our CONSTITUTION, and it will be decided there.

Right now, we, the US, are fighting our own battle with the likes of the ********* in the WH. I mean you couldn’t write this in a book. Oh wait, George Orwell already did!

Tommy Molnar
16 days ago

What is really STUPID is how Canadians can fly into the US but cannot drive in. How in the world does that make ANY sense?

SPM
16 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Since whenever did Gubmint ever make sense?

Stephen Malochleb
16 days ago

Again (MONEY RULES). This is great for the ones who can afford it. But what about the ones just getting by and live in their RV. As all things these days, money gets you whatever you want and the rest just survive.

Bob P
16 days ago

Again if you had the money, wouldn’t you do it? I fault no one because they have the money, as long as they make it legally, it’s theirs to do with as they please. You sound jealous to me. Reminds me of a few brothers in law that were always jealous of me and another brother in law because we had good paying jobs at GM. I told them they had the same opportunity to join the service, become a veteran, and get job preference upon discharge that I did. Instead they partied, got drunk, thrown in jail etc., then sat back and complained because they couldn’t get jobs that paid more than minimum wage.

Bob M
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

I agree with you on joining the service, becoming a veteran. Than getting a good paying job and working our whole life and being able to retire with a good pension. Best decision I ever made. Unfortunately it seems like those that didn’t want to work. Had a hard time holding jobs, Get taken better care of than us.

BILLY Bob Thronton
10 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Do those guys work in government now?

Servo
15 days ago

If you are “just getting by” you probably aren’t snowbirding between Canada and the US.