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Driving in Canada

West Sussex, United...
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Driving in Canada

Hi - we have booked our road trip for end of may and into june 2014, we are driving from Vancouver to whistler, then onto clearwater, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and finally Flying home from Calgary.

What is driving in Canada like? Is there good signage? And can anyone recommend me a really good road atlas for these destinations?! I think getting out of Vancouver airport is going to be the most complicated bit by the looks of things....I am quite happy driving on UK motorways, I just get lost in cities...!!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Driving in Canada

Do you have any days in Vancouver prior to setting out on your road trip? If you are spending any time in Vancouver first, then I would recommend you put off renting your car until you are ready to head to Whistler. This will save you 17% on your rental (a tax charged on car rentals taken within 24 hrs of arrival and on rentals taken from the airport) and about $30 a night on your parking in the city.

Getting around Vancouver is very easy, but once you get on the 99 north to Whistler, you don't have a lot of choices anyway, so its pretty hard to go wrong. Which way are you going to Jasper? Via Kamloops or via the Lone Butte-Little Fort road? If via Kamloops, you need to pay attention to the signs to make sure you end up on highway 5 heading north, but its not a big deal to just back track and fix the problem if you end up heading to Sorrento.

A good tip is that there is almost always a road sign as you head out of town that indicates the distances to the next towns on your route. If you are familiar with the names of the towns you are heading to, you should be able to tell pretty quickly if you are on the right road or not and make a correction as needed.

But seriously, in this terrain, there's really only one main road, so you can't go too far wrong. If you have any concerns, you can "pre-drive" your route on Google Streetview. I did this for getting through Melbourne a couple of years ago and it was SO helpful when it came actually do the trip. I recognized all the landmarks from Streetview and was able to tell DH when we were approaching our turn.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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2. Re: Driving in Canada

tripadvisor.com/…52675359

Post 12 above may help those who come along to respond. There is one road out of the airport which leads on to Granville St. However, I like to recommend exiting the Arthur Lang Bridge (right after leaving the airport) east on Marine to Cambie St and heading north into downtown that way. Granville can get very congested in a couple of areas.

One tip I picked up from a forum somewhere, is to drive to "keep your passenger in the ditch." This way, the car will always have the passenger properly at the edge of the pavement or the sidewalk and on the correct side of our roads.

Edited: 7:00 pm, December 09, 2013
Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Driving in Canada

If you have a GPS, that can't hurt.....be prepared for a drop-off fee by dropping off your rental at a different location, the fee can be quite pricey....

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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4. Re: Driving in Canada

Actually if you use a company like Canadian Affair you can get a very reasonable one way rental with minimal drop fees. Vancouver to Calgary is a common route for many rental companies and they tend to not mind the cars getting back and forth

Penticton, Canada
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5. Re: Driving in Canada

hi

I did some scenarios on drop off prices between Vancouver YVR and Calgary YYC to find out what "quite pricey" was since it is often mentioned. Used June 10 to 17 and then June 10 to 24, 2014 to compare prices.

it turns out on Enterpise web site the cost looks like it is a percentage of the cost of rental rather and a fixed fee. e.i for 1 week rental it was an extra +/- $1000. for the same car but a 2 week rental the cost showed up as an extra $2,100 for dropping off in Calgary.

then went to look to Hertz web site (no CAA) - looks like the drop of fee is "not pricey" at all at +/- $50.00 for a 1 or 2 week period . I have not read the fine print for either site.

CONCLUSION Entreprise is very pricey Hertz in not pricey at all.

Advise then should be "Choose the rental co. wisely there are very BIG differences for drop off fees" between Vancouver and Calgary.

and, on Entreprice site Calgary to YVR showed "sold out".

.

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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6. Re: Driving in Canada

Often for province to province drop you need to call the agency. They will show as sold out even if they aren't. There are lots of past references for Canadian Affair and their reasonable rates if you are from UK....but yes you really want to do your homework on the rental aspect.

Greater Sydney...
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7. Re: Driving in Canada

As T47 said, often websites for car hire companies will show 'sold out' or 'not available' for some trips,when in fact they actually are available. I recently struck that problem here in Aust for a one way from Alice Springs to Uluru.

Also, give serious consideration to Canadian Affair. They are a UK company and I have never seen any complaints of problems with car hire through them being posted - they only use the major hire companies. This is the relevant web page:

canadianaffair.com/en/car_hire/#car_oneway

We have even had Ozzies and Kiwis using them.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Driving in Canada

Yes, instead of drop fees, some companies will charge a much higher daily/weekly rate for the rental with no drop fee. This works to your disadvantage if you're taking a leisurely scenic drive between the two locations.

www.expedia.ca/car-rental lets you search all the major car rental agencies at once, and does show Hertz as the lowest one-way option for the locations and dates cbaarch mentioned. It wouldn't include Canadian Affair, so you'd need to check them separately.

West Sussex, United...
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9. Re: Driving in Canada

Hi all - thanks for the replies. We have booked fly drive through Trailfinders - a UK based travel company and they have found us Alamo Gold car hire with no one way drop fees between Vancouver and Calgary, that was one of the first things I asked!

We have 3 nights in Vancouver before we pick up the car, as I didn't want the hassle of parking fees and a car in the city, we pick up at the airport (much cheaper than collecting downtown) on the 4th morning and head up to Whistler..

Can anyone recommend a good road map to buy before we leave? And any special advice regarding driving in the city - Rights of way at signals I think may be different from the UK?

SE Ontario
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10. Re: Driving in Canada

BC Tourism will send you a free one:

hellobc.com/british-columbia/…maps.aspx

Travel Alberta will likely do so also:

http://travelalberta.com/