<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> How to Ship an RV (US or Overseas)
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International RV shipping

By Ricardo Gonzales

If you need to ship your RV within the US or overseas, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. While it seems complicated, shipping most RVs is not much harder than transporting a large car. If you allow yourself plenty of time to prepare in advance it should be a very manageable task. 

Before deciding to import an American RV overseas you need to be well aware of the customs regulations, as well as the challenges you could face in your home country. In Europe in particular, there are different rules and regulations regarding Recreational Vehicles, from the size to the type of wiring, and you will want to make sure that the RV you are considering importing will meet these standards.

Once you understand the requirements and costs of importing an RV you will need to go about finding an international carrier.

Choosing a Carrier

When shipping your RV overseas you have a few options. The most common method for shipping vehicles is Roll-on/Roll-off. Your RV is driven on and off the transport vessel via ramps. The RV will need to be in working condition in order to use this method.

 Another option is a flat rack container. A flat rack is similar to a flat bed truck, and allows the ship to carry many more items by stacking the racks.  Your RV is placed on the flat rack, and then loaded onto the transport vessel. These racks can hold up to 88,000 pounds, and should be more than sufficient to carry your RV.

When shipping your equipment overseas, you will need to arrange transport to the warehouse or port where your equipment will leave from. For motorized RV’s in working condition, the most affordable option will likely be to drive them to the dock, or hire a driving service to do so. Any towable RV that can easily be attached to a hitch will also be relatively simple and inexpensive. For large motorized RVs that are not in working condition, you will need a specialty transporter to tow your RV to the port.

When choosing a carrier, make sure you inquire about their US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier (MC) numbers, which confirm that they are legally licensed to carry your RV. You can use these numbers to check the company safety records and other information on the website www.safersys.org . Be wary of unusually low estimates as these could suggest hidden fees or lack of insurance, so make sure to ask the details.

If you are not concerned with cost, you can contact a freight broker that will help you arrange all of the details of your shipment, for an additional fee. Using these services can help take some of the legwork and guesswork out of getting your RV shipped, but they will have additional costs.


All legal carriers in the US are required to have insurance coverage. Make sure you enquire about your carrier’s insurance policy, and are familiar with the process of making a claim. The carrier will inspect your vehicle before taking it, and make a pre-trip report. Be sure to compare this report with the condition at delivery and make any claims as necessary. Note that carriers will not be held responsible for improper preparation of the vehicle by their customers, so make sure you take care in preparing your RV for transport.

Preparing your RV for Transport:

When preparing your RV for transport, make sure that you ask the carrier for any special precautions he may want you to take. You will also want to:

·       Remove all loose and personal items from the RV to prevent damage

·       Close and latch all the doors and windows

·       Disconnect any non-essential electronic devices

·       Ensure that tires and wheels are in good condition

·       Check the tow bar and hitch are properly installed, latched, and in good shape

·       Check that the signal lights are working properly (turn signals, breaks, headlights, and indicator lights )

·       Check fluid levels, including transmission, power steering, brake fluid, coolant, and also check for leaks

·       Prepare a full set of keys and a list of special instructions and for your carrier that he can reference in the odd case that it is necessary

Driver’s License

You will be able to drive or tow the majority of RVs without a special license. However some cases require a “type-A Non-commercial” license for particularly large RVs. If you do not have an American driver’s license, you will also need an international driver’s license and your passport while you are driving in the country.

While it seems like it would be a daunting task, shipping an RV overseas can be made a lot easier if you are prepared in advance, and give yourself plenty of time.

+++Ed Note: Ricardo Gonzalez is a writer living in Texas. He contacted us to share his knowledge on preparing to ship an RV. Ricardo is currently working on uShip.com’s RV Shipping portal We also found this further bit of information of interest:

"uShip isn’t a carrier itself, but we should be able to help most of your readers. uShip is a platform for customers to connect with transporters in order to get the best deal on their shipment.

It may be an option for your readers to consider. They list the shipment on the site, with their timeframe, origin, and destination, and then transporters place bids for their business. The transporters will have feedback ratings, comments, and US Department of Transportation information that can be easily reviewed so that the shipper can choose a carrier that they are comfortable with.

uShip can also handle international shipments, although this is a much smaller part of our daily traffic than US shipments."