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International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

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Lewes, United...
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International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

I'm after general information:

We frequently get travel plans posted on the Road Trips forum that include renting a car in Vancouver, whether from the airport or elsewhere, with the intention of dropping it off at a location somewhere in the USA.

I think I saw a post which said, as long as you are a Canadian or US citizen, you can rent from YVR and drop off at SEA. Is this correct? I would expect it to be expensive, of course. Why just US and Canadian citizens, or have I got that wrong?

Are you aware of any company that allows folk from overseas to rent a car in Vancouver (or BC in general) and drop it off somewhere on the west side of the USA? Lots of visitors wish to combine a trip of the Rockies with say Yellowstone NP and then leave the car somewhere in that area, before flying home.

Thanks for any info on this subject, I'm just trying to keep my advice correct and current.

Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

G'day SWt,

To get things started until the locals come on the board, I recall that when similar questions are asked on this forum the general advice is to travel from Vancouver to Seattle and rent from there for travelling further into the US. I may be wrong though. I do know that when asked about Canada to Alaska the answer is "not possible" and this is consistent advice on both the BC and Alaska forums..

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

Hi Frommy

Thanks for your comments. As a Road Trips DE I usually offer the advice to use public transport to cross between Vancouver and Seatle and rent on one side or the other, the USA being the cheaper, usually. However, the reason for my post is that I relatively recent saw comment which suggested that you can actually do cross border rentals between those cities, so wondered if the locals had more info. Also, was this a new change, or just something we on the RT forum never knew about.

Alaska is a whole different can of worms, and I wasn't asking about there, per se. It seems there's a perceived view that any car taken to Alaska will be trashed so you do need to rent within that particular state, and stay there. My enquiry was for 'the lower 48' as they call it!

SWT

Edited: 04 June 2013, 11:45
Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

It depends on your exact dates and destination. One-way rentals are most likely to be available between airport locations, but rates and fees vary wildly.

My advice is to go to www.expedia.ca/car-rental and put your info in there. Expedia is handy because it searches all the major car rental agencies at once, and shows all-in pricing. You may still want to book with the individual agency for maximum flexibility.

My own quick search got no offers at all for cars from YVR to either Boise, ID or Billings, MT. One alternative would be to do two rentals -- YVR to SEA, and then SEA to somewhere else.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

I did appreciate that you were asking about the lower 48, but Alaska is the US ...... :) There are actually some one-way rentals from the lower 48 to Anchorage for RV's early season to have them delivered up there there for summer hire, but there is a set delivery time involved and no time allowed to 'smell the roses' along the way as such. As a DE for the Road Trips forum I thought you might like to know that. Oh, and many of the roads in Alaska are extremely good, but there are a few that rental cars are not allowed to travel.

Matt, the traditional problem with online sites is they seem to seldom show if a one-way is allowed, although it may be. I struck this for a rental from Alice Springs to Uluru last month which came up with nothing, even on the rental company websites, but phone calls to the local agencies confirmed they were available.

seattle
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5. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

apparently the law changed but it used to be prohibited to have a CDN do a one way rental however that seems to have changed. I don't think ther is a problem woth anyone renting one way. The problem is the costs involved. Do suggest the Amtrak train as its scenic and avoids the delays at the border. Many times you can find a car rental close or at Amtrak stations. Hotwire.com now shows the costs for a one way rental which is an easy way to get a figure.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

this is an interesting one, because the discussion on our forum was always that the rental companies would not allow you to drop off internationally. Then I was down on the WA state forum where people were saying that they did it quite often.

I think the big thing is that the one-way drop fees are astronomical when trying to arrange an international one-way rental, and when people start to research their options, they find they are MUCH better off to find another way to get across the line and then do their rentals from there.

As with all one-way rentals, the pick up and drop off points can make a substantial difference. Was advising someone recently who wanted to start in Calgary and end in Victoria, but the rental for the entire trip was outrageous. When they dropped the first rental in Vancouver and then got themselves across to the island to pick up a second rental, it all became much more affordable.

I do think it seems to be on a case-by-case basis and depend on what cars they are trying to move around from where to where, leaving people to just do the grunt work of contacting each rental company to see what can be arranged.

I do agree that people who are trying to arrange one-way trips seem to get no satisfaction at all from the online aggregator sites.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

A one way rental across the line has been allowed, with related one way drop fees, EXCEPT for Canadians renting in the US and returning to drop the car in Canada. That changed last year. See link:

tc.gc.ca/eng/…releases-2012-h048e-6704.htm

It seems the rental points are airports and if the website gives no results, it means contacting the rental company by email or phone to have a rate quoted. As mentioned above.

Additionally, in case you get questions about one ways within Canada, one way rentals between the Rockies and Vancouver and Vancouver Island can be handled quite nicely by Canadian Affair, for visitors from overseas countries, e.g. the UK, Aust and NZ, possibly others. An email response to me from CA said "they are licensed to rent to people in UK and Europe" but visitors from Aust and NZ, and one other overseas country that I can't remember at the mo, have successfully posted that they contracted a one way cars with no drop fee. No cross border rentals with CA though.

http://www.canadianaffair.com/en/car_hire/

Renting in any city in Canada and dropping in the USA can be done. Some rental agencies will do it, some won't. Restrictions may apply. In some T&Cs I've read while researching for a poster, the renter is restricted to WA, ID and OR states. The car has to be got back to point of origin complete with border bureaucracy and that cost is down to the renter.

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8. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

Hi SWT;

Anyone, of any nationality, can rent a car in one country, and drop it in the other.

There was a law that didn't allow a Canadian citizen to rent a car in the US and leave it in Canada. That law has been rescinded.

One-way rentals may be possible on the west coast between two large centres, IE Vancouver and Seattle. The problem is when travellers are trying to leave the car in a remote location, or a great distance from the border.

Best Regards

Lewes, United...
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9. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

Thanks everybody for the various different explanations and suggestions.

I was aware about one way rentals within Canada with Canadian Affairs; I even suggested it to a poster only yesterday.

Perhaps it was the Canadians not being allowed law that confused matters.

Anyway, I will let folk know if they're just travelling between Seattle and Vancouver or vice versa, then they either rent a car or use public transport to suit their budget and need, and that folk need to call the renter for other cases.

It's always good to check with other DEs for updates and changes to be able to give best advice. Thanks again.

SWT

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: International one way car rental - Vancouver to USA?

The old law was not actually specific to one-way rentals. A Canadian resident (not necessarily a citizen, but a resident for customs purposes) could not bring a US-plated rental car into Canada regardless of where the car was being dropped off. So a Torontonian visiting Seattle couldn't rent a car to drive up to Vancouver, unless they got one with Canadian plates.

You may get better results by calling the rental companies directly. But for bigger cities, you'll often get some results on Expedia, which can be the quickest way to disprove the "you'll never be able to do this without paying thousands of dollars" posts.