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car rentals in canada

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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:21 AM
  #1
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car rentals in canada

So we booked our flights and hotels for a trip to Banff and Jasper this September. We were planning to fly into Calgary and out of Edmonton because my husband has a work meeting in Edmonton at the end of the trip (I am scheduled to fly back to Chicago alone). The hotels cannot be changed because I booked a nonrefundable deal with Fairmont. The only thing we hadn't booked was our car rental. Checked Enterprise today to book the car and it was over $2,000! Budget was $1,000. Apparently to rent in one city and drop off at another is hugely expensive. If we fly in and out of Calgary, it's only about $300.

We had no idea it was so pricey to rent cars in Canada if you aren't returning it to the same city. Don't know why this is so, we've never experienced this in the states or Ireland, where we've done that.

Any suggestions? It would have been better to fly in and out of Edmonton and start our trip in Jasper instead of Banff, but because of Fairmont restrictions, I don't think we can rearrange. The flights are frequent flyer, so those can probably be changed. In which case I would fly out of Calgary and we will have to drive from Jasper to Calgary at the end rather than Jasper to Edmonton. And then my husband will have to drive from Calgary to Edmonton for work after he drops me off.

This really threw off our plans.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 01:02 PM
  #2
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Are you trying to rent an SUV or a luxury car? You should be able to get an intermediate for about $600, including the drop-off charge.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 01:03 PM
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I should have added "$600 a week"
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Jul 24th, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Rent the car in Jasper. Return the car in Jasper and one or both of you ride the Canadian (ViaRail) to Edmonton.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:17 PM
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Rent the car in Jasper. Return the car in Jasper and one or both of you ride the Canadian (ViaRail) to Edmonton.

And how do you suggest they get to Jasper to pick up the rental car in the first place?

The reason that rental car drop-offs in different cities are so expensive is because the shops are independently owned and they have to send someone to the other city to pick up the vehicle.

Driving back to Calgary from Jasper isn't such a bad option as the views you get going back down the Icefields Parkway are different enough than going up to make it worth it IMO.

Once in Calgary, instead of flying to Edmonton, you/your husband could take the Red Arrow bus (http://www.redarrow.ca/red-arrow-bus.html). This bus is geared towards business travellers and is roomier than Greyhound with nicer amenities (and considerably cheaper than flying). The 3 hour ride from city centre to city centre) would be about the same time (or less) than flying Calgary to Edmonton once you factor in airport checkin times and the fact that Edmonton's airport is actually 30 minutes south of the city.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:28 PM
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Sorry, I've never flown into Canada. I have rented a car in Jasper after getting off the Canadian. A bus is a better option than paying a big drop off fee.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 06:57 AM
  #7
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We are not trying to rent an SUV or luxury car, those are typicaal prices for intermediate size cars at the 7 agencies we checked.

We ended up reserving one through Avis that is around $1,000 for the 10 days. We found an online coupon that says we can get another 25% off the price at the desk, so hopefully that will be accepted when we pick up the car (my husband has it and I still need to read the fine print.) We decided to do this rather than try to rearrange our flights, since even though I am flying on frequent flyer miles, there would still be some kind of fee to change, plus we'll have a lot less driving.

So we learned a lesson. I'm just surprised this wasn't mentioned in my copy of Fodor's Canada, and I don't see much on it when I searched the forums. I usually do the car rental planning last when I arrange a trip, but will do more research next time I"m traveling out of the US.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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It's been a lot of years since I did this in Canada, and I remember it could be pricey but not that pricey. However, I seem to remember that drop off charges could be quite variable depending on the specific rental agency and the cities involved. Check out a number of other agencies. I just did a quick google search for "drop off charges car rental canada" and Hertz came up as offering some plans (guess you'd also have to compare rental rates).
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Jul 27th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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We checked Hertz and every other one we could think of, 7 total. Avis, Hertz, and Budget were all about the same, but Avis was the cheapest, especially with the coupon. This is for 10 days, not a week, so that explains it somewhat for those who mentioned weekly rates to me.
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Jul 27th, 2011, 08:21 PM
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This is not just a "Canada thing", although the fees seem to be much higher in Canada.

For example, to rent a car from Avis at Dulles Airport (DC area) and return it to the Richmond Airport (about 130 miles away) a week later adds around $200 to the rental. It used to be that there was no fee for the one-way rental.
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Jul 28th, 2011, 09:41 AM
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I have good news for you. We just made reservations for a rental from Vancouver with a return in Calgary -one way rental free! Canadian Affair is the only company I found that has this. I checked everything and have already received our invoice and it's the real thing.The rental is from Hertz. Hope I helped you as others helped me.
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Jul 30th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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I looked at Canadian Affair's website but it seems to be for British only? Says you have to have a UK driver's license. The page for car hire doesn't allow you to click on anything that shows prices. It looks like it's in conjunction with purchasing airfare packages only. Maybe if I contact them directly I can get more info...
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Jul 30th, 2011, 09:37 AM
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BTW, we are American
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Jul 30th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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OK, I talked to a guy at Canadian affair (they do not take online bookings). He quoted me about $670 for the 10 days, which includes an extra 50 pounds for not booking air with them. This is definitely the best price we've seen (it also includes a free upgrade to a full size car). It's through Hertz.

Thank you so much for the info, tzvia. I haven't booked it yet, I am a bit nervous because I would be required to pay the entire amount at booking, which I am not used to doing with car rentals.

Anyone else used Canadian Affair for car rental?
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Jul 30th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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I did a search on these forums for Canadian Affair and came up with some reviews. The ones relating to air travel were pretty dated. Many of them were complaining about getting bumped or other problems. I did find some about car rental elsewhere online and they seemed pretty positive though.
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