Seattle or Vancouver

Old Feb 12th, 2009, 01:14 AM
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Eze
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Seattle or Vancouver

Hello,
We are french and ready to visit British Columbia. Apparently, it's cheaper to fly into Seattle than Vancouver. So choice is easy, but...
If we rent a car in Seattle, are there any restrictions to cross USA/Canada border with the rented car ? Would we have the same insurance protection when driving in Canada as we would have got in USA ?
Thanks for your replies.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 01:33 AM
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Driving a rental car across the US-Canadian border is usually not a problem, so long as you have made this arrangement with the car rental company. Make sure you have a copy of the rental agreement with you, and that is states you have permission to take the vehicle across the border.

Bon Voyage!
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 02:16 AM
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Merci beaucoup !
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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<so long as you have made this arrangement with the car rental company.> Good advice.

Also, I pay for car rentals using a Visa or American Express card so I can decline insurance offered by the car rental agency.

My insurance covers me in Canada.

If you rely on insurance provided by your credit card, you need to check with your insurer to find out if you are covered in Canada.


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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 04:41 PM
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Bonjour---You could also take the train from Seattle to Vancouver, and rent your car there. It is a very pleasant and scenic ride.

And if you are spending several days in Vancouver you might wait to rent your car until you are ready to depart the city. We find it quite easy and fun to get around downtown on foot and the ferry system:

http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/home.html

but check the schedule; some routes operate only weekends and holidays in the winter:

http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc...mmerfares.html
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 08:26 PM
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You could also take a boat from Seattle to Victoria, BC. We used Victoria Clipper Vacations www.clippervacations.com to book our trip. There were lots of options at varying prices. We chose to go to San Juan Island, then to Victoria, then to Vancouver, all by ferry, and then took the train from Vancouver back to Seattle. We booked both hotel and transport with Victoria Clipper, but you could just book transportation. This is flexible so you could then rent your car in Canada only.
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Bonjour, Eze!

Where are you flying from and how long of a flight will it be?

It is about a 3-hour drive from Seattle to Vancouver depending on the traffic at the Canadian border crossing. It might be challenging to do this after a long international flight.

Train or ferry are alternate ways to get to Vancouver but they will take longer! I would also calculate the cost of fares & add to your airline tickets to see if it will be economical for you to travel this way.

I suggest you think about flying directly to Vancouver and renting your car here! It may be more expensive but I also put a value on time!

Good luck with your planning!

2010
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 11:59 PM
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Thanks vm for all those interesting replies and advices.
Flying from Nice, Seattle flight is cheaper than Vancouver's or Calgary's.
At the moment, the idea is to drive, from Seattle, towards Banff, through Okanagan valley, visit Rockies, and drive down to Vancouver.
We would stay one night in Seattle airport area in order to rest before driving. We plan to leave early as due to jet lag there is a good chance that we shall be awaken at 2 or 3 a.m.
We shall spend three or four nights in Vancouver before joining Seattle and fly back home.
Car renting in Seattle is also cheaper than renting in Vancouver, with Budget company.
Our idea is to see Rockies, Vancouver, bears and orcas.
May be it exists an other ways to achieve this goal ?

thanks to you all anyway !
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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I think you will have a good chance to see all that you want---including the bears and orcas---on your trip. It sounds lovely.

For orcas, you can check the website for recent sightings around the whole area:

http://www.orcanetwork.org/

or the map:

http://orcas.mapmate.com/maps/471

In the summer, your best chance of seeing them is around the San Juan Islands, either US or Canadian. You might want to book a "whale-watching" boat trip from Vancouver.


May I suggest that you spend your arrival night in Seattle downtown rather than at the airport? Most flights coming from Europe arrive here in the afternoon. There will be lots of daylight left for you to enjoy a walk along the waterfront, and then a nice dinner. The downtown area is much, much nicer than the airport area.

Staying up until bedtime local time is the best way I know to combat "jet lag".

Also, in many cases it is less expensive to pick up your rental car downtown iinstead of at the airport.
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Old Feb 18th, 2009, 12:38 AM
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How much time do you have?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 11:28 PM
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Hi Eze -
This sounds like a wonderful road trip. I live in the US closer to Vancouver than Seattle and yes, it's much, much cheaper to go through Seattle. I don't know why but it is.

But that gives you a great starting point for your trip. I've been on all those roads. If it were my trip, this would be my route:
From Seattle north on I-5 to Arlington, where you take highway 530 to get on Highway 20 going east. Take the North Cascades highway across the mountains, this is the most scenic of the mountain passes and one of the most beautiful drives in the US. If you get a start in the morning in Seattle, have lunch in Winthrop. There are lots of restaurants, we like the brewpub (turn left at the main road in Winthrop.) Twisp, just beyond, also has a great lunch spot.

At Omak, head north to Osoyoos and Canada. In BC take highway 3 east through Grand Forks, Castlegar, Nelson and Cranbrook. Interesting religious history in this area - you'll see very large abandoned brick buildings in the middle of nowhere. Near Kimberly BC is a place well worth stopping at for a few hours: Fort Steele. It's a restored pioneer town. It feels (and is) very authentic and gives you a feel for what it would be like to be a settler in the west. http://www.fortsteele.ca/ We've been there a couple of times - it's fascinating.

North from Fort Steele go to Golden and then east to Lake Louise. That takes you through Yoho National Park. It's stunning plus I've seen bears several times there. I've seen moose along Highway 3 near Creston and bears near Fernie BC, Banff and in Jasper National Park. You may even see Caribou near Cranbrook - they're endangered due to habitat loss.

Banff is very built up with all the shops like Bennetton, etc. Absolutely FULL of tourists. Depending on your budget there are wonderful places to stay in the area and the mountains there are incredible! You will really feel that you're in the Rockies. And you'll see great wildlife.

When you head to Vancouver from there Highway 1 will be a good route. It's more direct, but also still fairly scenic. You do have another option - to go west from Kamloops through Lillooet to Whistler to Vancouver. Whistler is the site of the 2010 Olympics and there's a lot of road work happening in the area. Lillooet is still a frontier town. Very different from most places in the world.

Hopefully this wasn't too much information. If you have questions do ask. I've been on all the alternate roads in Washington and BC over the years. It's hard to pick a route as so many are stunning and there are so many options. But this route gets you into the best of them and maximizes your wildlife opportunities. It's a thrill to see the big animals!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 12:36 PM
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My question is also "how much time do you have"?

Hopefully at least a couple weeks? That's a lot of territory you're hoping to cover.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 04:34 PM
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Well, it's a road trip, so you cover a lot of ground in a day. After you leave Seattle it's just 2 normal days of driving, or 3 if you take your time and see more things along the way.

I would add that 3 nights should be good in Vancouver. We go there often and it's a great city but it's not like a European City - there's just not that much for tourists (in my opinion.) For hotels in Vancouver - Priceline is a good way to go. There are nice downtown 4 star hotels on Priceline for good prices.
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Old Feb 27th, 2009, 02:15 AM
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Thanks to you all one more time.
As time goes by, air tickets are cheaper...
So we are now on the idea to fly into Vancouver, stay three or four nights (three according to rosetravels). Ferry to Nanaimo, rent a car in Nanaimo, spend two nights in Campbell River (orcas)drive to Tofino, spend three nights there, drive back to Nanaimo, drop the car, ferry to Vancouver, rent a car in Vancouver to be dropped in Calgary. Not yet choosed which way to reach Mount Robson but, as suggested one more time by Rosetravels, could pass through Lilloet.
Three nights in Jasper area, three nights or more in Lake Louise area, and drive to Calgary airport, the very day we'll fly back to France.
I would personnaly have been tempted to visit Seattle area but i really have a pblm renting the car in US. I do know that i cannot drop it in Canada without paying a fortune in drop off costs in the case i would leave it in Calgary.
Renting the car in Seattle makes a very long road trip, and moreover makes me pay twice for the ferry travel for the car.
So too much complicated.
Thanks to you all again for time spent answering my message.
Au revoir !
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Old Jan 3rd, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Vancouver to Seattle and return by Train would be a good choice if you are willing to spend little more time and enjoy the scenery.

Take the Amtrak Cascades train from Vancouver to Seattle to save money on your flight and to enjoy a pleasant 4-hour trip. The train leaves daily at 6pm and arrives at approximately 10pm in Seattle. Get to the train station at about 5pm to check-in and go through customs. Be sure to have your tickets purchased in advance. Book business class for the bigger and more comfortable seats (the additional cost from coach is only about $9). The trip goes through some spectacular Northwest scenery. Much of the trip is right along the coast, and travels through many quaint towns.

There are many more perks... not to mention about skipping the line up at the border, especially going back into US from Canada.

There are many online booking sites available like Expedia http://www.expedia.ca or TripAdvisor http://www.tripadvisor.ca . I use the local Vancouver Travel Agency http://www.personaltravel.ca To get everything organized, it would be best to talk to a live person, but if you are good at organizing, online booking is a great tool
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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bookmarking - thank you! Planning a trip for late July/August period to visit Portland/Seattle/Vancouver areas and gathering ideas!
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