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Bugler Mar 5th, 2004 08:28 AM

Rental car prohibitions??--Other Questions--Seattle to Vancouver
Hi guys,

I have been told that some rental car companies do not allow someone to rent a car in Seattle and drive it into Canada. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, which companies do not allow rental cars to leave the US to enter Canada?

I have a conference in Vancouver in July. I plan on taking the wife and kids. We had always wanted to see Seattle, and now I am extremly excited about seeing Vancouver. Originally, I figured I would add a few extra days to my trip and see Seattle too; however, now after reading some of the posts, I am wondering if I may be better served to spend the extra, non conference days in Vancouver and surrounding attractions.

I know that some have indicated it might be a pain to fly into Seattle and then drive to Seattle, but since I am taking the family, I will save $1000 by having Seattle as my airport as opposed to Vancouver.

I figure that either way, I will need a rental car to get around. Is hotel parking expensive in Vancouver? The conference is at the Fairmont Hotel, but at $231 per night Canadian. Since the extra nights will be at my expense, we will probably stay at a more reasonably priced hotel after the conference concludes.

Thank you for any insights you can provide and hello from Kansas City, MO (USA).

BAK Mar 5th, 2004 09:14 AM

Rental car rules vary from company to company, but generally, the "problems" are these.

Car rental companies and/or the Canadian government don't want Canadians to drive US-registered cars into Canada. So for a Canadian to fly to Seattle, for instance, rent a car and drive to Canada, may be (but not for sure) a problem. I used to work in Washington State and Vancouver, and we had several company cars, and I couldn't bring the US-registered Bronco into Canada, but I could drive the Canadian-registered cars from Canda into the USA and then back into Canada.

But our US-resident Seattle manager could bring his US-registered car to Canada and back to the USA.

In the rental world, there are US rental cars, driven by US citizens, coming into Canada, driving around, and returning to the USA every day. So if your plan is to rent in Seattle, come to Vancouver, and then return to Seattle to drop off the car and fly back to Kansas City, you should be without a problem. Canada Customs may want to see your return airline tickets 9weverything's weird with both Canada Customs and US Customs since 9/11)

If you want to rent in the US, and leave the car behind in Canda, and fly home from Vancouver, the rental company may not allow this, because it then needs to find someone to drive it back to the USA and drop it there.

As for your travel schedule; allow about half a day to get from the Seattle airport to Vancouver. SeaTac is south of Seattle so you'll have to drive through Seattle's traffic (highway, but usually crowded)

Vancouver is expensive in the summer; that's a good room rate and a great hotel.

Hope this helps.

GaryA Mar 5th, 2004 04:14 PM

BAK is right - as long as you're returning the car to the Seattle Airport where you rented it there should be no problem. But it's a good idea to tell the agency in advance that you will be taking it accross the border.

Which Fairmont are you staying at? There are two downtown but $213 is a good rate in either case. But there are better rates at less upscale hotels and if you do some searching - maybe even with priceline or the like - you will undoubtably find something more reasonable. Hotel parking can indeed be expensive especially at the hotels right downtown. Figure on $20 extra per day but since you have no option except to return the car to the states and keep it while in BC it's a cost you'll have to absorb. Hotels not as close in to the downtown core like those in the West End or on the south side of downtown will charge less and those further out much less or nothing at all.

Have a great time in Vancouver. You've made the right decision to concentrate on Vancouver over Seattle which is a very nice city but not in the same league, (i.e tourism wise), as Vancouver.

Bugler Mar 8th, 2004 07:00 AM

Thank you for your responses.

maryann Mar 8th, 2004 03:25 PM

We rented an Avis car in Jacksonville, Fl and drove it to Las Vegas - then picked up another and dropped it off in Vancouver-This past Sept.

There is a difference with going from Canada to US and back, maybe the insurance.

I called them all back then and Avis gave me what I wanted. Good luck.

MD Mar 9th, 2004 11:24 PM

The time I rented in Vancouver, the "unlimited kilometers" deal only applied if you did not take the car across the border. Ditto 2 years ago in Winnipeg.

I suspect the transfer of vehicles between provinces or between states is not as big a deal as between one country and another. Otherwise, if the car doesn't go back right away, it's "impirted" and duties/sales tax are payable?

Also, there are rules I thought I heard once about i.e. Americans coming to Canada, renting a car, and taking it to the US or vice versa. They're worried about the disparity of prices and duties and such payable between the countries.

dmcmom Mar 10th, 2004 05:21 AM

we flew into seattle in january and drove to whistler using advantage car rental( we needed a 15 person van). we told advantage what we were doing when we placed the rental and they said its fine as long as you have certain amounts of insurance coverage. when we got to seattle the rental clerk didnt seem concerned or even ask to see our proof of insurance. there was absolutely no problem coming or going across the border. it was a very easy, beautiful drive. we got great airfare and rental rates in seattle. i dont think you'll have any problem.

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