Sierra Nevada Airstreams: Owner's GuideParticipating

Jack Rabbits: "Jack Rabbits" (or those who jump out ahead of the Caravan) have always been a source of argument of previous tours. This practice confuses the parking committee, works havoc with our Mexican hosts, and at recent Meeting Times has been voted against by the majority as a practice that is against the interests of the Wally Byam Caravanners. Therefore, it is requested that no one pass the parking chairman or "Wagon Boss" on this tour unless it is a definite emergency. Those who for unusual reasons must travel faster than our schedule are requested to start out at least a week ahead of the Caravan and not become a part of it. - Wally Byam from the 1957 Caravan to Mexico instructions

It used to be that convoys weren't a problem but rather an experience!


When it is more than just a few folks who are traveling together, a planned caravan is a path to a successful and enjoyable experience. For those who want to plan and conduct a caravan, the first step is the make sure that you are able to plan and manage rallies effectively. When you are confident of your skills and capabilities at creating successful rallies, then you can proceed to planning caravans with confidence. The caravan is essentially just a sequence of rallies at separate locations that need to be coordinated to allow travel between them and to provide a coherent travel experience for participants.

Why do people join a caravan?

  • Camaraderie of others with shared interests and values

  • Ability to participate in experiences and events not normally on an individual's agenda

  • Oftentimes a group can plan and enjoy special experiences not normally available to individuals or ad hoc travelers.

Prime Directive for Caravan Planners

You want to make absolutely, positively sure that there are no surprises of any sort for anyone participating in the caravan in any way for any reason.

When you plan a caravan, you must account for all aspects of every participant's day to day living on the road. This includes food, fuel, maintenance, waste disposal, shopping, personal necessities, and special needs. Incidental participants must also be considered and these include others on the road, service providers, and the businesses or entities that provide facilities or materials or other things your caravanners will need for a successful trip.


Many of the skills and capabilities needed for a successful rally are also needed for caravans. At rallies, you need to schedule a campsite and plan for events. You will need staff to provide parking guidance and see that all of the necessary things get done.

Differences between rallies and caravans also provide for comparison and contrast to assist learning. The business side of rallies is usually a part and parcel of the sponsoring organization whereas a caravan tends more towards its own business structure due to its more complex and comprehensive financial and governance needs. Communications also needs much more emphasis on caravans to provide coordination on the road and over time. There are special staffing needs for caravans, too.

The business of a caravan

A caravan is a small business operating for a defined period of time. A good plan for the business will define a focus, theme, or common thread, sources of capitalization, budgeting, marketing and publicity, staffing, agreements and contracts, and other business issues. See also the rules guide and caravan application guide.


People are needed to do things to make sure your caravan is a success. Odds are that most of these people will be volunteers. They will need to have defined tasks to accomplish and agreements where the volunteers agree to be held responsible for getting them done. There will need to be backup plans to take over in case someone becomes unable to carry through due to illness or other problem. The management and oversight of this staff is also a job that needs to be well done. The caravan staff can make or break the caravan and serving on this staff can also be one of the more rewarding experiences for the caravaners.


A key to avoiding surprises is extensive, redundant, and efficient communications using any media or method possible.

On the road

(See also the Rules Guide)

Courtesy rules - This means that participants need to spread out while on the road and avoid convoys. See Courtesy on the Road.

Relax - Plan on no more than six hours on the road in one day. Plan on no more than one thing to do on any particular day. This means stopping for at least two nights at special places so visiting and touring don't mix with getting from place to place.

Coordinate - Let the camp or event host arrive at the planned overnight stop first to make sure you don't cause confusion by failing to coordinate your needs with those of the group at planned group stops. Travel in small groups of two to four rigs and make sure that the Caravan Boss knows of any special activities or excursions you plan to take.

Individual preparedness

Each person and each rig needs to be ready for the caravan else they will be a drag on everyone else. See the Preparing section page on checklists.


The caravan leadership needs to be sure that the proper structures are in place to get the job done, to provide for contingencies, and to provide the feedback necessary for smooth running.


The Wally Byam Caravan Club International can assist in promoting and publicizing a caravan conducted by its members, provide a source of expertise, and provide benefits such as liability insurance.

Caravan Documents

Caravan Basics, Planning Guide, and Medical Supply list written and presented by SNU members Milan and Eloise Wight WBCCI

Early WBCCI Caravans

Photo galleries of WBCCI Caravans in the 1950's

MBCU Caravans

Photos, drawings, and diaries of Monterey Bay California Unit caravans and rallies

Other Resources

The Sierra Nevada Airstreams Rallies Participating Guide - What you need to know about creating a successful camp-out of RV enthusiasts.

Association Leaders Resource -

Taking the guesswork out of RV travel, caravans are package tours where recreational vehicle owners drive in groups (usually no larger than 25 units). The campground sites are reserved, activities are planned, and participants tour a region with enough freedom to allow for their own interests, but enough organization to keep them fairly busy. []

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