Train or Car

Dec 31st, 2002, 07:22 AM
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Train or Car

WE are planning a weeks vacation with our kids(14 and 12) to Seattle and Vancouver in March. Are we best off to rent a car for a day or two in SEA and then return and take the train to Vancouver? Alternatly we could keep the car for a week and drive. Any suggestions are appreciated on this post or things to do with teenagers. Thanks.
Dec 31st, 2002, 09:01 AM
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It's easy to drive from Seattle to Vancouver (make sure you have passports for everyone however to get into Canada). I have never taken the train from Seattle to Vancouver but have heard it's OK.

Why would you not drive a car? Do you like trains? Are you afraid to drive to Vancouver (don't be)? Vancouver has a good bus system, but if you want to get around, having a car is sure helpful.

Dec 31st, 2002, 09:02 AM
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it depends on your feelings about train travel..We have taken a train across Canada to Vancover. Your children might enjoy the train trip... Have you thought of not renting a car in Seattle, since it is a large city and you could use a taxi. Another option would be to take the train to Vancover and then rent a car and take the ferry over to Victoria. Victoria is a "must see"... It is a beautiful city, two great gardens, wax museum and things your children would enjoy.
Dec 31st, 2002, 10:44 AM
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Hate to admit it (cause I live here), but it's very difficult to get around this area without a car. Which probably explains why we have such awful traffic.
Dec 31st, 2002, 11:40 AM
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Andrew, what are you talking about passports? I guessed that loro is an American and they only need driver's license or birth certificates to go into Canada. I started to hand the guy my passport going into Canada and he wouldn't even take it, asked for a drivers license instead.
Dec 31st, 2002, 12:00 PM
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It depends on what you want to do/see. If I were spending a week in Seattle and Vancouver I would not rent a car. It's less hassle and cheaper to walk, use public transportation, and taxi where needed than renting a car and paying for parking. If, on the other hand, by "Seattle" you mean the Seattle area, the answer might be different. (In my opinion, there is plenty to do in the city and no need to leave- especially in March when the mountains will be snow bound.) The train trip from Seattle to Vancouver is beautiful. Also, you don't have to worry about sitting in a car at the border in a queue that can be an hour or longer. That stop and go experience always puts my family on edge. The Vancouver train station is a short walk from the elevated transit system there, or taxis are plentiful. (As for the passport issue: If you are U.S.citizens you may not need a U.S. passport to get into Canada, but it helps to have it to get back into the U.S.)
Dec 31st, 2002, 01:31 PM
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It's funny how Canada customs only wants driver's licenses, yet I know people who have been screamed at by US Customs agents for not having a passport! The system both ways is very different, I would bring my passport if you have one. They will let you in on the way back into the US, but you might get a speech.

As for renting a car or taking a train, if you hate driving in new cities, then definitely take the train. I personally find that I get lost more easily with public transit and that taxis end up costing more than parking sometimes, so I prefer to drive, but that's me.
Dec 31st, 2002, 05:06 PM
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No aversion to driving- we are staying in Seattle- downtown and wonder how much we will need or want a car. I would think maybe a day or two to show our kids around and maybe take it to one of the islands by ferry.
We have passports and my husband and I have drivers licences but not the kids. We'll be on the safe side and bring our docs.
I will look forward to more replys-I used the talk board to get great advice for our Italy trip this past summer- now that was indeed a wild driving experience(Florence at rush hour!).
Thanks for all of your input
Dec 31st, 2002, 06:39 PM
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Passports: Perhaps Canadian customs was being more cautious right after 9/11, but in October 2001 I drove from Portland to Vancouver. The customs agent said I could not enter without a passport!!! I had never needed a passport (or presumably a birth certificate) before upon entering BC - I don't even remember if showed a driver's license before 9/11.

Anyway, after this customs agent lectured me like I was an idiot for not bringing the correct ID, she told me I needed to park my car and go into the customs office and "see if they can find out who you are". Fortunately, it wasn't busy, and the agent inside was much more friendly and helpful and ID'd me and I was on my way in about five minutes. Maybe the agent I first encountered was just being nasty, but it could happen to you - and if you don't have passports, at worst you could have to wait a while in long line at customs if it's busy.

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