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e_t Feb 16th, 2005 07:38 AM

Seattle car rental and drive it to interior BC
It seems like most car rental companies allow the car to be taken into Vancouver (metro) BC or Victoria (metro) BC. But, can the car be driven beyond those two cities w/o violating the rental fine print. I'm thinking of driving the renatl to Whistler BC this summer. Thanks!

happytrailstoyou Feb 16th, 2005 08:07 AM

The best source of an answer to your question would be from the car rental company--Hertz, Enterprise, etc.

Gardyloo Feb 16th, 2005 08:14 AM

I hardly think Whistler qualifies as so far beyond metro Vancouver that any "fine print" would apply. Are you planning to drop the car at Whistler, and if so, how do you plan to return to Van/Sea? Sure, call them, but I doubt they'll give you much grief. Or, take the train to Van. and rent there - probably cheaper and more relaxing, too.

e_t Feb 16th, 2005 08:29 AM

Forgot to mention. The rental will be returned to SEA since I'm flying in and out from SEA. I'd prefer fly direct into YVR but it costs almost 2x (a saving of $300/person). I did look into train/bus to Vancouver, but it's not as convenient as driving a rental. Oh, forgot to ask: How is the land border-crossing these days? Is there an alternate land crossing with less wait time? Last time I did the crossing was pre 9/11.

Gardyloo Feb 16th, 2005 10:37 AM

Northbound the border can be anywhere from 15 to 60 min., depending on time of day, day of week, phase of moon, status of union negotiations between Canada Customs and the workers.... 'tis a mystery. You might do better using the "truck" (aka Pacific Hwy) crossing, which allows all vehicles, not just trucks. Sometimes it's way faster, others not.

Southbound is a major crapshoot. I wouldn't plan on anything less than an hour durring summer; you might be surprised in either direction . Our record was 3 1/2 hrs. on a holiday some years back, and to make it worse it was at the Truck Crossing. That's the one with no loos available from the mile-long line of cars. Oooh dearie me... Plan a head ;)

ojoy Feb 21st, 2005 10:19 PM

That drive to Whistler is one of the prettiest drives in the world. If you have the time, cut off of I'5 near Mt. Vernon and go over to Chuckanut Drive into Bellingham. This is a windy road overlooking the San Juan Islands, with steep bluffs along the Sound. That truck route entrance into Canada is definately the way to go (and return, by the way). It's best if you don't do either on a weekend. Earlier in the day is better also.

Al_LaCarte Feb 22nd, 2005 09:23 AM


Did this twice last year and the answer is "yes", you can take the car to Whistler (or anywhere else in BC for that matter). What the rental agency may not tell you (but your insurance carrier will) is that you need to have a complete copy of your auto insurance (not just a card) with you at all times you are in the vehicle while in Canada. If you're an Amercan, that is.

Two other things: Your best bet (most of the time) is definitely the truck route for entering/leaving Canada and, as ojoy stated, take the Chuckanut Drive if you can possibly make the time.

Have a great trip,

AL ((d))

NorthwestMale Feb 28th, 2005 05:36 PM


Don't hesitate to take your rental car into Canada, and any part of canada that offers a "paved roadway". (which is still most of where anyone travels up there)

Whistler is a piece of cake for rental cars, so it isn't even worth stopping to fear or ponder.

Not sure if you've had experience with rental cars on the opposite (southern) border of the USA, and neighboring Mexico, but I assure you that Canada is regarded with much greater respect by rental and insurance companies.

Good for you for taking the reduction in air fare and making it work for you. The drive from Seattle to Vancouver and beyond can be quite enjoyable.

Regarding the border crossing, which I travel fairly often (3X each way in February, etc.), JUST DON'T even think of returning FROM Canada to the USA between roughly NOON and 9pm on Sunday (or holiday mondays). And likewise I would tryyyyyy to avoid going northbound on Sunday afternoon as well.

Going to Canada is almost always quicker than the return, but as I drove southbound at about 5pm on Super Bowl Sunday there wasn't a soul in line at the border. (somewhat predictable, mind you)

If you simply HAVE to get to Seattle by Sunday night, for commitments (departure?) on a Monday morning... simply STAY in Vancouver until 8pm or after and then set sail for Seattle (2 1/2 hours on a good night).

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