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Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Brisbane
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Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

I have posted similar questions in other forums, someone suggested me to post it in Road Trip forum to see if anyone has better ideas.

My husband and I are planning holiday in USA and British Columbia. We are planning a road trip from Vancouver - Vancouver Island - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Whistler - Vancouver

Our originally plan is to hire a car in Vancouver and return it to Vancouver to avoid drop off fee. This plan fits in our other itinerary better. We need to back to Vancouver at the end for our Alaska cruise trip. However we have learnt most of car rental companies only have unlimited kms within neighbouring areas. We will definitely drive over the neighbouring areas,

I posted my questions about hiring unlimited km car in some forums. From the responses I have received, it is most impossible to hire a car with unlimited kms. We are considering to hire a car either Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco if we can't hire an unlimited kms car, perhaps have to hire a car twice through the trip. We don't want to pay big $ for drop off fee.

My questions are:

- if anyone know any rental car companies (can be in Vancouver , Seattle or San Francisco) offer unlimited kms car hire?

- if not, any suggestions that suits our plan.

Appreciate for any suggestions.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Check out www.traveljigsaw.co.au How long is this roundtrip before the Alaska cruise.? And what do you mean by "The Rockies" What time of year are you coming?

Oregon Coast
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2. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Nearly all the the car rental companies in the USA have unlimited miles. You cannot rent a car in one country and return it to another though, as far as I know. You can take a train or bus between Vancouver BC and Seattle.

We use miles in the USA ;-)

Newtown, PA
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3. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Michelle, The Rockies are located on the Continental Divide which runs from northern New Mexico into Canada on the Alberta-British Columbia border. Are you thinking of the Sierra Nevada's or the Cascades which are the primary mountain ranges on the west coast?

Do you plan on going to the Canadian Rockies? If so, that's some of the best scenery in North America, if not the best.

Edited: 01 November 2013, 22:40
Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

You can certainly rent a car in Canada and drop it in the USA or v.v.; I've done it numerous times. Not all pick-up and/or drop-off points will allow this, however, but major ones, e.g. Vancouver airport and Seattle airport (or car agencies in the downtown areas) do so. Unlimited km/miles are typically included in any rental EXCEPT specialty vehicles like sports cars, or with RVs.

I just did a trial booking using Hertz's Aussie website for a 4-week rental picking up in Vancouver and dropping in Seattle. No problem - several choices with unlimited miles. MUCH more expensive than returning it at Vancouver (big drop fee) but certainly doable.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

The OP is planning to start and finish in Vancouver, so the one-way drop fee is not the issue. What she has found is that for cars rented in Canada, if you cross into another jurisdiction, then there is no longer unlimited miles included in the rental.

Michelle - I suspect you may need to play around with renting and returning cars at different points. So, if you drove a car from Vancouver to Seattle, then rented a new car from Seattle to drive through to somewhere like Whitefish, and then rented another car to get to Calgary, then switched cars again to finish the trip to Vancouver, that might also work. I think you'll have to weigh the cost of the km fee vs the cost of the one-way drop fee.

Brisbane
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6. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Thanks for the info. Will have a look different options.

We are planning the trip for late May to June for 4 weeks. At this stage, our plan is to go to the Rockies via Nevada and then head north to Canadian Rockies. It depends on whether we have enough time.

Uden, The...
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7. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Prob you also want to visit Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP. But from Vancouver all the way to San Francisco to Yell and also Canadian Rockies and back to Vancouver will be a mightly long trip in 4 weeks.

Lewes, United...
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8. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Hi Michelle

Just to some random but relevant comments on the car rental aspects:

If you rent the car from one of the foreign consolidators often recommended on this forum, the car you are likely to get will come with unlimited mileage, whether you rent it in Canada or the USA. A loop from and to Vancouver will avoid incurring any one way drop fee, indeed. However, car rental in the USA is often much cheaper than in Canada. You can rent from Canada to USA or v.v. for a one way trip but the International drop fee is likely to be horrific, but it can be done. From recent comments on this forum, it seems cars rented in Canada can sometimes be smaller than those rented in the USA, seemingly in the same size category.

Now to more specifics: Please read the car rental topic within the Top Qs section of the full screen version of this forum. It mentions several different companies for your to consider. The only company that may not be mentioned that I'd suggest you get a rental quote from is Canadian Affair, if you rent in Canada. I've not used them myself but have heard that they are very competitive and sometimes offer fee free one ways within Canada.

Whether you rent in Canada or the USA, if you plan to take the car into the other country, please make sure you tell the company you book with, to ensure you get insurance for both countries. If it's a loop trip, it's unlikely to affect the price much if at all, and it seems border checks on car insurance paperwork is pretty cursory or absent at the moment, but you still need the correct insurance and travel documents with you anyway.

How long do you have for this trip (unless I'm being stupid, I can see no mention here). It seems your plans are pretty extensive, hence asking, to check whether all your grand ideas are viable within the time frame. Why Whistler? It's out on a limb, to me. Also, with all the other places on your list, it doesn't add much, but that's my personal view.

SWT

Uden, The...
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9. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Post # 6 says 4 weeks SWT ;-)

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: Road trip Vancouver - Seattle - SF - the Rockies - Vancouver

Gotcha! I only saw up to post 5 when I started my reply, lol! Got way laid and sidetracked and forgot to refresh my screen! And actually also forgot to ask time of year, but that also got answered!

In which case I agree with your comment, Tet, in post 7 that it's a lot to squeeze into a 4 week trip!

SWT