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US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

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united kingdom
posts: 34
reviews: 40
US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

We are planning a trip in the summer to fly to Vancouver and spend a few nights exploring. We then intend to fly to Honolulu . I see that although there are some flights available from vancouver - if I was to fly to airports over the boarder, my return trip would avoid an overnight flight. The question I have is as a British passport holder and esta , would it be quicker to hire a rental car , catch the coach or train to travel over the boarder . Cost is not an issue but time is.

Edited: 3:51 pm, November 16, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,529
reviews: 52
1. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

I believe that you are asking about flying to Honolulu from either Bellingham or Seattle. As it is summer, there are far fewer flights to Hawaii from YVR, BLI and SEA, so looking at multiple departure points would give you more options.

Your British passport is irrelevant.

You can't rent a car in Canada and drop it in the US.

Amtrak is a prettier trip but would be really complcated for your purposes. You would have to get off the train and take a taxi to the airport.

This shuttle bus will stop at both the Bellingham and Seattle airports.



Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,953
2. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

Are you returning to Vancouver, or would you plan to return to the US airport from which you departed?

(Are you heading back to the UK after Hawaii, or traveling elsewhere?)

There are buses serving both Bellingham (BLI) and Seattle (SEA) airports from Vancouver, departing both from the downtown area (and cruise terminal) and from Vancouver airport.

Or, yes, you can hire a car for a one-way trip. Generally the car hire option is cost-effective only if two or more people are traveling. Flying, of course, is quite easy (to Seattle.) Most major car hire companies will be glad to rent one-way; we do it all the time in both directions.

There are two trains daily, departing Vancouver in the morning and early evening, and the same from Seattle. Of course that only gets you to the train station, which is still a taxi ride from the airport in both cases. The bus service - Quick Coach - http://www.quickcoach.com/index.htm - has more offerings, but it's less pleasant than the train (or, IMO, driving.)

With ESTA and VWP you shouldn't have any difficulty at the border. Crossing will probably take a bit longer in a car as you might have to go into the border patrol building, but possibly not. Border waits in the summer between Canada and the US can be very lengthy at times, occasionally over an hour. With both the plane and train, you "pre-clear" US border controls in Vancouver before departure.

Edited: 5:37 pm, November 16, 2012
posts: 505
reviews: 269
3. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

If I understand your question correctly, you are wanting to make a roundtrip from Vancouver to Honolulu and back, and avoid an overnight flight on your return to Vancouver?

I think the fastest and easiest way is to fly, whether you do a nonstop or make a stop south of the border. Driving will involve an unpredictable border stop and may involve more scrutiny with a British passport. Bus or train would be better, but it's a very short flight from YVR to SEA.

You can easily check out various itinerary options on http://www.rome2rio.com - I see Westjet has a direct flight from Honolulu to Vancouver that is not overnight (arrives in Vancouver at 11:21 pm). It also shows you various possibilities connecting through SEA or SFO, which will add 2-3 hours to your trip.

Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 15,764
reviews: 84
4. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

its the easiest from Bellingham to take the Quick coach as it goes right from downtown to the airport. Its way faster to fly to Seattle but in summ er a one way fare is sometimes as much as $195. Look at


western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,770
reviews: 14
5. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

I've crossed the border many, many times with internationals from all over the world. Only twice did we have to go inside, both times with students from France. We were not hassled in those cases and crossed quickly.

With everyone else, a quick look at the papers, a few questions about out travel plans and we were on our way.

Washington State
posts: 470
reviews: 59
6. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

The fastest way to go, may be to fly one way from Vancouver to Seattle. You should check flights as well.

Gig Harbor...
posts: 661
reviews: 9
7. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

I see this comment ( "You can't rent a car in Canada and drop it in the US.") every so often and I am not sure if it is accurate......We rented a car in Halifax, October, 2011, and returned it to Portland, ME. The rental company was Hertz. The car had Nevada plates - maybe they were just eager to get it back to the USA? The drop fee was less than $100.00

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 16,182
reviews: 53
8. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

history - yes, I'm reasonably sure you can get cross border rentals, but I think you are correct in that you were actually returning a car to the US and doing the rental company a favour. I believe that the drop-fees for a one-way cross border rental can be very high, but it is possible.

However, under these particular circumstances, I think the OP has other options that will work as well or better.

Edited: 1:24 am, November 20, 2012
Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 3,953
9. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

Thousands of people, many of them going to/from cruises, rent one-way cross-border cars between Seattle and Vancouver or v.v. annually. In the past it was difficult/impossible for Canadian residents to rent US-registered cars in the US and drop them in Canada, due to some silly tax laws in Canada, but this problem was solved last year.

We have done both ways on numerous occasions and it is very easy. However you will pay more for the one-way rental, either in the form of a drop fee or a higher daily rate.

Edited: 11:02 am, November 20, 2012
10. Re: US boarder Vancouver to Vancouver

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