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Logistics of long-distance car rental

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Hello all,

I live in western Washington, and am interested in traveling to and around Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

(and as this is a logistical question, and NOT directly a Canada-related question, I am putting it in USA category, where there is more 'traffic' at Fodors, and where I would ideally rent a car)

In my ideal world, I would just go down to my local car rental company and admit to them my interest in driving a long distance, and get a car from them, and go off on my trip.

I mean, people from other continents write every month at Fodors about planning to rent a vehicle in some random American outpost before driving that vehicle several states and time zones away from that place of origin, over a few weeks (or a month) of time.

The rest of us are more inclined to know territorial restrictions on cars we rent at various spots in our own country, or in the one next door. (such as: "this car may not be taken outside of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or California" )

I went to my local rental company and inquired as to just how foreign visitors to the U.S. are able to rent cars and drive them all over the place... and was told that "they have "vouchers" (of some sort, obtained overseas and relating to their travel reservations/plans)" and that "we don't have the means to really track where they go, so we just let'em rent the car and go (wherever they want)".

Meanwhile, I don't even know where to look to find lists of "territorial restrictions" covering all of the nearby rental companies in my area, and/or even those placed on cars rented in, say, Winnipeg, Canada.

It seems to me that with all things rental car done on a contractual basis, that this stuff should be written down somewhere, and not just bantered about when somebody from far away happens to call a local rental agency.

Ideally I would be able to pick-up a rental car in my area and drive it all of the way to central Manitoba, and travel on either side of the border on the path to and from there.

It would be much easier to just (accumulate a bunch of travel-related souvenirs and things) to throw in one rental car, and clean it out upon my return home, than to condense down to a single carry-on bag for a flight to Winnipeg (most likely) before picking up a car there, and driving all around Manitoba and nearby provinces, only to have to condense down to a single carry-on bag for a flight back from Winnipeg, ( I know the single carry-on part is not realistic).

Can someone tell me what I'm missing in terms of how to arrange such a journey??

I get that rental agencies don't wanting people putting trillions of miles on their cars, but how do people go about long driving trips when they don't have their own vehicle or when said vehicle isn't reliable enough to make long road trips?

I could never stand for a mileage expense, but would be somewhat open to a higher per-day/per-week rental charge for the right to travel from western WA to Manitoba and back. But... just... how do I learn what options are really available to me??

(furthermore, if I rented in the USA, it would surely be much easier to arrange a side trip to visit a relative in northern Minnesota than if I were a U.S. resident trying to bring a Canadian rental car into the USA)

Does anyone out there in Fodors land know the answers I seek?

Thank you in advance!

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