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car rental

Sydney, Australia
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car rental

I'm enquiring if anyone knows of any car rental companies that do not charge exorbitant drop off fees when returning the car to a different location. I'm wanting to rent a car from Ottowa to Halifax and later Toronto to Winnipeg. Thanks

Ottawa, ON
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2,448 posts
63 reviews
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1. Re: car rental

Paul, why do you think the drop fee is exorbitant? The Ottawa franchisee rents you the car and you leave it at another franchisee 1450 km away. As long as he has parking space, the Halifax office has no problem keeping the car until the Ottawa office makes arrangements to collect it. The Halifax office has no particular incentive to rent the car out while it is there, since he would get more revenue renting his own cars out than he would renting out someone else's cars.So, it sits idle, earning no revenue for anybody. I'm glad they have the exorbitant fee; otherwise they would have to raise the price of normal rentals to cover the money lost on long distance one ways.

I suspect the fee is the cost of getting the car returned plus a "hassle" fee to discourage people from making the car owner go to the trouble of arranging all this.

The only people that seem to want to do this are visitors from overseas like yourself. Most Canadians "know" that this is an impractical way to organize a holiday and don't do it.

Ottawa, Canada
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1,257 posts
112 reviews
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2. Re: car rental

paul c.... I understand your frustration and can only suggest to try all the major chains and ask individually. I rarely rent cars in Canada, but have done exactly what you want to do in other countries with mixed success.

The large chains often have enough traffic between major centers to allow some sort of "car sharing"... though I doubt Ottawa <--> Halifax would fit into that category. Ottawa <-> Toronto <-> Montreal would probably be a better bet... but doesn't get you very far :(

In spite of the rant above, many Canadians very much enjoy the type of holiday you are thinking about.... I sometimes wish it was easier myself.... and wish I could help further.

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
47 reviews
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3. Re: car rental

Hi Paul C,

Welcome to the OTTAWA (Canada’s Capital City Region) TRAVEL FORUM

And I see that you are a Brand NEW Member of TripAdvisor… so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

Don’t know how much research / reading you’ve done so far about Canada… but hopefully this info on WHY your plan may not work for you will be beneficial.

I agree, that Road Trip holidays are great in Canada… they are indeed the BEST WAY to see this country IMO.

BUT one has to have the time to do so… driving across this HUGE Country requires a significant amount of time… bearing in mind that we are the second largest country in the world, only behind Russia, and over 5000 Miles (8000 Kms) from coast-to-coast. A trip that takes well over 10 Days of HARD Driving to complete… and that is just driving time, with no sightseeing along the route.

Generally speaking we suggest that Travellers look at allowing aprox 2 or 3 weeks as a MINIMUM to discover any of our many of our Geographic Regions … and we have about a dozen such regions.

It is not realistic to expect to see ALL of Canada, or even a good portion of it in one visit.

As for the WHY there are Drop Fees for Car Rentals in Canada… it does come down to the VASTNESS of our country (about the size of ALL of Europe) and our extremely SCANT Population (Europe has about 731 Million Residents, we a mere 34 Million).

So you’ll find that our major cities are anywhere from 2 to 8 hours apart by car… so a car rented in one city, has to some how make its way back to its point of origin… even if that means being towed. Hence the HIGH Drop Fees that are charged.

For example… Ottawa to Halifax is aprox 1,435 Kms (or about 16-1/2 Hours of Driving Time*) and Toronto to Winnipeg is aprox 2,063 Kms (or about 27 Hours of Driving Time*). All route estimates solely running thru Canada.

*NOTE – Driving time is just that… time spent driving. It doesn’t account for Stops, Breaks or Sightseeing. Nor for Delays, caused by things such as Border Crossings (incase you choose to pick a US route), Ferry Waits (if applicable) or for Traffic Congestion, Road Construction or Weather Conditions. It is estimated using GOOGLE MAPS for the shortest most direct route (unless otherwise noted), and driving under ideal conditions at posted Speed Limits.

As stated by my colleagues RONW and TRAVELINMAN314 in their posts, this just isn’t practical… as even the BIG Chain Car Rental Companies here in Canada are locally owned and operated. And there just is not enough demand to move cars around over these large distances for a relatively few rentals per year that would be going the distance in any one direction. Most Canadians here opting to fly between these cities… or if one is lucky enough to take such a road trip vacation, then they'd be taking their own vehicles.

Even flying can be time consuming… when everything is taken into consideration, many times you’ll discover that it can be an all day affair (Pre-Arrival Requirements - Check In – Baggage Drop - Security – Flying Time – Debarkation – Luggage Retrieval – and making one’s way to a Hotel / Destination)… not to mention that we have 6 Time Zones here, so one is always fighting the clock when flying.

If you have 4 weeks or longer then flying from one region to another would be your best use of time if you wish to see more than one Geographic Region (or pick regions that are adjacent to each other)… ie the Maritime Provinces plus Newfoundland & Labrador =OR= The Maritimes and Quebec =OR= Quebec & Ontario =OR= Ontario Great Lakes Region etc.

With say 2 Weeks, you truly can only do very little more than one region. With your expressed interests, I’d say look at either the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick – Nova Scotia – Prince Edward Island) or The Great Lakes Region. To be honest though these are fabulous scenic destinations… and one could easily spend 2 or 3 weeks just discovering Nova Scotia !!

If you only have 2 or 3 weeks, then you’ll want to fly into the region, and then rent a car for your explorations… try to plan out a circle route (easy enough to do in The Maritimes for example)… so that you fly in and out of the same city, and thereby avoid the Drop Fees.

Hope this is helpful, if you have additional Questions please post again,



Edited: 5:34 am, May 18, 2012
Buffalo Grove...
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12 posts
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4. Re: car rental

Have you tried Budget? I paid just over $50 for a one-wat rental from Toronto to Niagara Falls for 24 hours... not sure whether or not you'd be able to find such a good rate though, as the distance between Ottawa & Halifax is (obviously) much bigger...

Edited: 9:23 pm, May 27, 2012
5. Re: car rental

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