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Boston-Montreal-Halifax

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Boston-Montreal-Halifax

We plan a trip early Fall 2013 to sight see NH, VT and the Maritime Provinces. I'm thinking a rental car from Boston through NH and VT would be the easiest way to get to Montreal. From there, I am intrigued by the overnight train to Halifax. So here are a few questions:

1. Is it possible to rent a transnational OW trip, and if so, is the drop charge excessive? I know the Greyhound is a faithful option, but I wonder about security and being able to see foilage along the way.

2. How about a rental car for getting around NB, Nova Scotia and Pr. Edward Is? Also, how does one get to Newfoundland and Labradour? I had seen on an old Via Rail brochure that indicated ferries travel out there. If we’re lucky enough to score that cruise, what would we see in NF and Lab? Would rental cars be readily available?

3. Finally, I assume the optimal way to get back to San Francisco would be a flight from one of the Maritime Provinces through Mtl.

Many thanks in advance [and sorry if this redundant, as my first vanished.

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1. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

Several points need to be made. You didn't mention the length of this trip but what you are suggesting is actually two or three separate trips.

First of all I would forget Newfoundland for this trip. It is considered a separate destination as it requires 2-3 weeks to see properly. Also it doesn't have many deciduous/maple trees so there are only a few parts of the province that have a short early fall color season.

I would forget about cross-border car rental as the drop fee could be in the thousands. I would rent and return cars to the same location.

The trip from Boston through NH, VT, and on to Montreal and the trip through Nova

Scotia , NB and PEI are like two separate trips as they are in opposite directions and you may not have time for both.

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2. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

Hi Rob ~

I agree that your trip is a big one and requires time, which we don't know as yet.

The Atlantic provinces you mention need about 10-12 nights for NS, and 3 nights for PEI. There is a choice of bridge and ferry to PEI. For Newfoundland, I spent 12 nights there and it wasn't enough. You really need 14-21 nights to experience it. All the outports are on the shore because people got around by boat and still do. So to get to the interesting towns, you really need to go up a few "fingers" to the coast, then drive back to Hwy 1 to continue on and up the next "finger." Newfoundland is a special place, it needs time and it needs to be experienced and savoured.

There is a ferry from North Sydney, NS to two ports on NL. 6-8 hours by ferry to Port Aux Basques, or 14-16 hours to Argentia. It's not a cruise!! it's a sailing across the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, ocean water. Here is the ferry website:

http://www.marine-atlantic.ca/

Please open "Before you Board >>> Other Essential Information"

My suggestion would be to visit the States you mention and return the car. Fly to Montréal. Take VIA Rail "Ocean" to Halifax. They are cutting back on how many times a week so check the schedule carefully. Or just fly to Halifax. Rent a car for your time in the Atlantic provinces, including taking the ferry over to NL and back to return the car to Halifax. Fly out from Halifax.

www.viarail.ca

A trip like this might need about 5-6 weeks do well.

Edited: 3:39 am, December 17, 2012
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3. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

The rental drop off fee could be crazy, you may want to look into that closely....

I think NFLD is out of the question.....

I think some of the timelines given may seem a bit scary, I think if you want a "complete" provincial experience of each province, then they are right, however, there is nothing wrong with getting a decent taste of each province...you just have to be more selective in what you see and where you are going, just do the research and see what interests you...

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4. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

I just want to comment on the overnight train ride from Montreal to Hailfax which we've done. While the food for a train is pretty good, and the wine tasting is fun, there is very limited scenery. Early in the morning there is some shoreline near the mouth of the St. Lawrence river, plus some tidal pools near the Bay of Fundy, but that is it. Very limited. The overnight compartment is fine, though sleeping can be a bit tough.

If seeing more of the Atlantic provinces is your plan then then you might want to reconsider the train option.

JDP

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5. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

1. The only valid answer to the one-way rental question is "it depends". Yes, for some dates and/or city pairs they are very expensive, or simply unavailable, and going cross-border increases those odds. But in some cases it can be done, and it looks like yours is one of them. And it sure beats the bus.

www.hertz.com quotes a drop fee of $100 for your scenario.

As always, I started at www.expedia.ca/car-rental , because it can search for one-way rentals across all the well-known rental companies (and a few others that are best avoided). For dates in September, picking up at Boston airport, dropping off at Montreal airport a week later, it quoted me a total price (incl. all taxes and fees) of $470 for a compact car from Hertz. You might be able to pick other locations, but airport locations often work best for one-way rentals because they're typically company-owned (not franchised).

You're better off booking through the rental company directly. Hertz.com shows the drop fee in its booking details, but it still wouldn't hurt to give them a call to confirm that there are no hidden fees, conditions, or computer glitches in play, and to get a sense of how early you need to book.

3. You'll probably see connections through either Montreal or Toronto; the latter has more flights to California. Make sure to allow a connection time of two hours before your US-bound flight as you'll clear US customs and immigration during the connection, while still in Canada.

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6. Re: Boston-Montreal-Halifax

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