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Can rental cars be driven over the border?

Can rental cars be driven over the border?

Old May 14th, 2002, 04:05 AM
  #1  
Alex
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Can rental cars be driven over the border?

I keep hearing, from friends and this forum, that rental cars cannot always be driven over the border from the US into Canada.
Yet, when I called a company {Budget, I think}, they said that they never disallow such a trip - never had, never would! Mexico, they said, is another mattter.
Do the rental companies differ widely in their travel limits?
Thanks!
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 04:43 AM
  #2  
Susan
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We've driven rental cars from Canada into the US many times and never found a problem. Since we use the usual chains (Budget, Avis, etc.), I'm assuming the reverse is true as well.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 05:47 AM
  #3  
A.M.
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We have never had a problem either. We have even driven a rental car one way from Seattle airport to Vancouver and dropped it off without a problem AND no drop off charge.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 08:16 AM
  #4  
Louis
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Done that dozens of times. Never had any problems in any direction.
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 09:02 AM
  #5  
Alex
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Thanks, everybody for your extremely reassuring responses!
 
Old May 14th, 2002, 09:23 AM
  #6  
Bob Brown
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I flew into Calgary in the summer of 2000 and drove south into Montana in a car rented from Hertz at the Calgary airport. The situation was that of an American driving a Canadian rental car.
The border official gave me a brief, but hard time of it with a barrage of questions such as: "Why is an American driving a Canadian car? How are you going to return it? Where are you going?
How long have you been in Canada? Why were you in Canada?"
Fortunately I had my passport and I had almost fully out of my passport case, and my wife had pulled the rental contract out of the glove compartment when the official waved us on.
He never actually looked at the passport, but he saw I had one, and the rental contract was in full view.

So if your trip involves driving a Canadian car into the US, you should have the rental contract ready. If you have a passport, I think taking it is a good idea. I have found that the de facto rules at airports for entering and returning are different than for highway only crossings.

I have never had to show any documents to a Canadian official, but I have always answered them very politely with no joking around.

The only time I had a problem was upon entering British Columbia. We could not bring in any fruit. As a result, we had to eat about a dozen plums before we could get in.
 
Old May 27th, 2002, 06:59 PM
  #7  
Joan
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Spend a few minutes reading the fine print on the web sites of the rental agencies. We rented a car last September for 16 days in BC, Washington and Oregon. Some of the rental agreements fine print stated their rentals could not be taken on the ferries or they have a daily mileage limit out of the states instead of unlimited mileage. That matter the most to me to get that unlimited daily mileage. Have fun traveling.
 
Old May 28th, 2002, 03:48 AM
  #8  
Claire
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If you are a Canadian citizen and you rent a car in the US, you aren't allowed to drive it into Canada! If you are a non-Canadian citizen, it's fine. I can't remember why, but that is most definitely true and rather bizarre to boot. I am British and my b/f is Canadian but we live in the UK, we have flown into the US and driven up to Canada on many occasions and they always say that I have to drive the car whilst in Canada. I don't think we had the same problem when the rental originated in Toronto, though.
 
Old May 28th, 2002, 06:47 PM
  #9  
Alex
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Thanks, Bob, Joan, and Claire, for sharing your very interesting experiences. Claire, That's a bizarre rule! I am forewarned, Bob - I plan on keeping our rental contract and ID on hand at all times! I recently had a problem bringing fruit from California into Oregon!
And wow! I never even considered that there might not be unlimited milage offered if a rental in the US is driven into Canada! Thanks, Joan - this is definitely something to check out!
 
Old May 28th, 2002, 07:04 PM
  #10  
Sherry
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A Canadian cannot drive ANY car with American plates across the border. It has something to do with import issues I believe. My mother, who owns a car in Florida, cannot bring it to Canada when she comes home, as it is registered in the US, in her name, but she cannot bring it here. When she finally realized she could do it if she showed her green card, she started showing that each time she crossed into Canada and no problems now at all. Again, some import rule about bringing American cars into Canada by Canadians. They want to know for sure the car is going back to the US. And not being imported to Canada.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 07:09 AM
  #11  
traveller
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We had a major breakdown in Montana about 5 years ago and had to rent a car to get home. What a hassle at the border. They did finally let us cross but not after a lot of questioning etc. It was either let us drive home or drive us there. I know the companies don't disallow it, it is something to do with the border.

Have you checked the government of Canada web site? You may find out more about it there.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 08:23 AM
  #12  
Alex
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I'm from the US {I should have made this clear}, so it looks like, aside from possible problems with milage constraints and limitation of using the ferry, for us, driving a rental car into Canada SHOULDN"T be a big hassle. It's beyond me why Canadians driving a car with a US plate are given such a hard time though.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 10:00 AM
  #13  
Louis
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OK. Here's the reason.

You're a Canadian citizen and you drive a car with US tags. The Canadian custom officer might think that you are trying to smuggle the car for permanent use in Canada, without paying the federal and provincial sales tax. He could let you in but will ask that you post a bond until you bring the car back in the U.S.

I guess the same would be true for a U.S. citizen re-entering the U.S. and driving a car with Candian plates.

In summary: Canadian with Canadian plates or American with US plates: no problems.


(Why would anybody do that is beyond my understanding, since cars are cheaper in Canada than in the U.S.).

 
Old May 29th, 2002, 06:59 PM
  #14  
Alex
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Louis, I agree. All things being equal, it's probably more cost effective for a US citizen to rent a car in Canada. Practically however, this doesn't always make sense. For example: My husband and I want to travel for several weeks through Washington and Canada, making our way to the Rockies and then back east to Vancouver Island. We may elect to catch a flight to Seattle as opposed to Vancouver if the airfare to Seattle is still the much cheaper option next year. Add to this the hassle and money spent in manouvering around and jocking transportation, and possibly hefty drop-off fees, and the cheaper car rental is no bargain in the end. Of course, as our trip draws closer, maybe this will not prove to be the case, but from a year ahead, this is the way it looks!
 
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #15  
betty
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When I rented a car for my trip to Canada this July, I was told by the car rental company that they are going to have a higher rate if I drive to US. Such policy can be found from travelocity.com website under car rental. It might be vary from company to company though. Check it out. Betty
 
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