Logistics of long-distance car rental


Apr 11th, 2017, 07:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2
Logistics of long-distance car rental

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!
AspiringTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2017, 07:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,516
The last 2 or 3 times I was in Winnipeg I arrived on the ViaRail Canadian either coming from Toronto or from Jasper.
My style is to take a train to a city where I can rent a car.
I make a loop with the rental car and then take the train onward or go back home by train.
Take the Amtrak train or bus to Vancouver. See that city (beautiful). Take the ViaRail Canadian which only runs 3 days a week to Jasper. Rent a car in Jasper and spend 2 or 3 days seeing Jasper NP. Get back on the next Canadian and go to Winnipeg and rent another car after you have seen the city.
I have ridden the ViaRail train twice from Winnipeg north to Churchill on Hudson Bay. The first time was in October 2001 on a solo trip. The second time I was with my wife and we did manage to see a polar bear in the wild.
On my solo trip in 2001, I was carrying a big backpack that weighed 40 to 45 lb. On a train they don't care too much about the weight of your bag if you can lift it over your head to put it on the rack.
See if your relative can come visit you in Winnipeg. The Forks is a great place to meet.
tomfuller is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2017, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,516
If your relative in Northern MN could meet you in Grand Forks ND about 1AM you could take the Empire Builder from Seattle King St. station (about 30.5 hours).
Take I-29 to the border and Manitoba 75 north to Winnipeg.
You could come back home through Canada to Vancouver.
Insurance regulations are the main problem with cross border car rentals.
tomfuller is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 11th, 2017, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 60,455
I dont know why this is such an problem for you/confusing. Just rent a car with unlimited mileage (and one you can take in to and back out of Canada)
janisj is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 02:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 21,851
I have always been able to find in the rental agreement any geographical limitations of that rental - and you can read it before renting. It is on-line. Not on the easy purchase page, but by clicking on one of the tabs - which varies by company. Have you tried that? It has nothing to do with foreign nationals renting cars. And I can't remember the last time a rental did not have unlimited mileage.

What is a "local rental company"? Do you mean a local office of major car rental company or some local on-site joint. Try a major car rental company and look on-line.
gail is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 03:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,611
Maybe an aspiring creative writer also? LOL
Gretchen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,285
Odd post - I can't remember the last time I rented a car that had any mileage restrictions - I'm guessing the last time was probably 30 years ago - but then I always rent from one of the major companies.

As for taking the car from US to Canada and back - I'm pretty sure many of the major car rental companies allow that too.
RoamsAround is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30,758
I have rented cars with mileage restrictions but those rentals have inevitably been in more "out of the way" places like Deer Lake in Newfoundland, as just one example.

But that was CLEARLY evident when I reserved the car.

When I've rented cars in the US which I was planning to drive into and out of Canada that ability was also evident during the reservation process.

As much as I have enjoyed "The Canadian" the six times I have taken it I am not sure I would take it from Vancouver just to get to Jasper. Admittedly the SECOND DAY would be a lot more scenic than the overnight to Kamloops but it is a great ride for sure and a hell of a lot better service, food, and equipment than our unfortunately neglected Amtrak counterpart.
Dukey1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 9,516
I did once rent a car in Jasper that had the kilometers restriction. I drove it west and turned around at half my restriction and got back to the rental place with 1 km to spare.
There are several car rental places in Jasper within walking distance of the station.
tomfuller is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 19,738
>>I get that rental agencies don't wanting people putting trillions of miles on their cars,<<

That's why most of them have clauses that mandate you can't drive the car at all. Really saves on wear and tear.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,759
I don't understand this at all. Why are you not using the internet? Who goes down to a rental company to talk about renting a car?

Rental car companies don't care if you drive a lot, that's why they are renting them. I have had a couple car rentals in the last decade or so that did not have unlimited miles but it was plenty of miles for me to drive locally, more than enough. I can't recall which it was, a typical big name. I think after that limit, you got charged a large amt. per mile or something. It could have been just one rate possibility and I chose it as it suited me, I don't recall.

But really, the contract tells you where you can drive the car and it is in writing. I have never seen a US car company that did not allow you to drive the car to another state. However, I have seen contracts that say you may not drive the car to Mexico, and you have to notify them if you intend to drive it to Canada. This is due to insurance issues (Canada). I don't know if they allow it or just require different insurance as I've never done it.

I have never seen a US car rental agency that forbids you to drive to another state if you plan to return to the same location. Why would they even do that?
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
I have rented cars in the US, driven to Canada, and driven back to the US. You do require written permission (forms, not longhand) to take the car over the border, and you will require a special insurance endorsement. I honestly can't remember if this costs more or negates insurance coverage by your credit card. Ask. If it's your own car, you get a "Canada Card" from your insurance company, but you gotta have it.

Ast to your other point, Americans get much better deals on car rentals in Europe than the locals do, and our British friends can go to Disney World for f-a-r less than Americans pay.
Ackislander is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 01:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2
No one is addressing the direct concern in my post.

So, here, let me link to a typical part of a modern car rental contract:


Scroll down about 2/3 of the page to read the "Territorial Restrictions":

IF, for example, you rent a car in Minnesota from this company, you are allowed to travel only to the listed states for Minnesota. They being both Dakotas, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

If they learn that you have driven outside of their territorial restrictions, the charge there, as listed, is 50 cents per mile you have put on the car during the whole rental.

So if a person were to drive 4000 miles, that would be an additional $2000.

The restrictions mentioned above are similar for most of the largest auto rental companies in modern times, and those are things which truly show in the contracts.

Most of you haven't landed anywhere near to the crux of the questions here.

Gail is at least thinking about the questions I have, but once I decide to fly to Winnipeg, to be standing there at a rental counter and only then read the rental contract is pointless if I learn only then that I can't take the vehicle into Ontario or Saskatchewan or the like.

And a "local rental company" is merely the local office of any of the major car rental companies in North America.

And Christina, how is it you don't understand this at all.

This IS the internet.

With this being the internet and all, and the subject being contracts, will any of you share just exactly where these contracts can be viewed online for the major auto rental companies in the USA:


Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, Budget, Alamo, National

Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide serious and relevant information.
AspiringTraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 21,851
I did just what you asked. I went to Hertz.com and pretended I was going to book a car for 2 week period beginning 6/21/17. Pick up and drop off at SeaTac. You must go through a couple of pages pretending to rent (I picked "pay later option to avoid problems".

At the bottom of the second page, there are many little things one can click on - I picked "Rule and restrictions". It speaks of having a passport to enter Canada. It speaks of requirement to notify if taking car to Canada. It does not speak of distance or mileage restrictions. In fact, the rental category I picked (which was somewhere around $500 for the imaginary 2 weeks, specified unlimited mileage.

I just re-read your OP - and am still a little confused. Are you talking about a 1-way rental? I do not think you can rent a car in 1 country and leave it in another.
gail is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 12th, 2017, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,431
A-T: your second post is a large bit clearer than your original. Don't bang away at the others if they misunderstand you and point out why.

You may have to do what Gail did to figure out which rental companies will be most useful. So start with renting at Winnipeg or Regina or wherever and analyze from there.
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 13th, 2017, 04:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 369
Your posts are a little hard to decipher so I can't tell if you've tried this or not but why not search for a one way rental? Fly to the beginning of your road trip, rent a car, drive to the end, and fly home. That definitely solves your concerns about mileage restrictions.
Hobbert is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:02 PM.