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Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

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Singapore, Singapore
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Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

Hi TA,

Checking google map, I see that the driving time from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson Airport is about 8+ hours, assuming light traffic condition.

Has anyone taken the same route but on a Saturday morning? How fast are the immigration/custom clearance on a Sat? We plan to leave Washington as early as possible to catch our flight at around 6pm.

Once again - many thanks in advance! =)

gxp
Niagara
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1. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

With that long of a trip and potential problems on the highways, I would leave a day early and stay the night in Toronto. You could run into weather, closed highway or even car problem.

detroit
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2. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

I took the bus from DC to Toronto and stayed awake the whole trip. Left DC at 10 pm. Accidents are a worry even late at night. We took a detour during the trip, got off the highway and took the secondary roads for about 45 mins. We made no stops either and once back on the freeway I seen traffic back way up on the other side. The bus must have had something that alerted them of the problem and why we took the detour--instead of sitting in traffic for hours.

Different states have different laws, I seen the big semi trucks just pulled off on the freeway shoulders in large numbers. Here in Michigan the trucks need to go off the freeways and pull into rest stops which are like every 30-40 miles so the drivers can sleep but I guess in some states they can just stop on the shoulder cause it was truck after truck off the freeway shoulders. We even switched bus drivers pulling off on the shoulder.

I say its doable but you have to be a good driver, have GPS or something-CB radio and maybe a second driver to take turns driving. We had 3 different drivers for the whole trip-which took over 12 hours but we made stops and one half hour break at 4:30 am

Customs, lol, anything can happen. Usually its under 30 mins but it has taken me over an hour and it doesn't matter what they claim the wait time is, if you get flag over to secondary inspection its going to take longer. I've been in very short lines and ended up taking 50 mins to be on my way and other times I have sat in line for 20-30 mins and get pass the custom booth in one minute.

Another point is weekends might not be as quick as one thinks. Yes there is less traffic on weekends but the road crews also do more work on the roads on the weekends, that means lane closers and traffic back ups. Its far worst during the warmer months vs right now.

Since you are catching a flight, I be worried...why not fly out of Detroit Metro Airport ? Well what ever the reason, its a long ways to go. You should make it in time BUT I sure would not bet on it

Edit, no hold on, they say for international flights get to the USA airports 2 hours early so customs can screen the passenger list. By leaving at 8 am you are leaving yourself with no time to spare and being you never done the trip before, well good luck, you might well need it

Edited: 05 January 2014, 07:32
West Grey, Ontario
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3. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

Hi doverproperty;

The time estimate on Google is for perfect, non-stop driving. You will still need to factor in additional time for road conditions, weather, traffic delays, meal breaks, re-fueling, etc. I presume that you're driving a rental car, so time to return to the car will need to be added, as well.

The Toronto Pearson website suggests that all person's for an international flight, check-in a minimum of 3 hours prior to their departure, additional time if your departure is during "peak times".

(•Peak Hours: 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.)

torontopearson.com/…

This is a trip of almost 500 miles / 800 km. Many things can go wrong over such a large distance. I too would suggest leaving a day earlier and spending the day in Toronto.

Best Regards

Edited: 05 January 2014, 10:36
Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

Absolutely a terrible idea to drive all the way from Washington DC to catch a flight from Toronto at 6pm and hope to do it in the same day. You have not said what time of year you plan doing this..if winter, don't do it. Even in summer, I would not do it. To me , there is no way to make that trip in 8 hours allowing for traffic, customs..Washington DC highways can be very busy on weekends (construction and maintenance) and the drive from NFalls area to Toronto can also be very busy on weekends.

Much better idea to leave Friday morning. A better idea would be to fly from Washington DC to YYZ (you can fly from DCA as well as Dulles)

Customs/Immigration -could be hours (if a long weekend) or could be shorter.

Edited: 05 January 2014, 13:52
Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

Thanks so so so much everyone - guess I underestimated the journey by quite a bit and all your comments really get me worries on the do-ability of my plan! *gosh* - imagine sticking with my perceived 8-hour plan and missing my flight!!? That would be awful!

Certainly - looks like we may need to fly from Wash to Toronto then - or arrive 1 day earlier. Would be great to explore Toronto again - and yes - I will be arriving in June! =)

Everyone - you are amazing - I cannot imagine not checking with you guys - thanks A LOT!!!

West Grey, Ontario
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6. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

You're Welcome !

Toronto
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7. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

It takes 12 hrs to drive from Toronto to NYC (including the border crossing), on good day. I have done this drive a few timse both ways. So I can not imagine DC to Toronto drive being any shorter.

detroit
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8. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

It is, I'm getting over a nasty cold and missed read the direction last night, the OP is going the same way Mega Bus took me from DC-right near the Capital building-to the bus station in Toronto in 12 hours and 15 mins and we stop a few times to pick up extra passengers after we left DC and we made one rest stop 20 min break and also stop in Buffalo bus station for 30 min and then the border had 4 buses ahead of ours-about a 1 hour wait at 8 am.

So a car making less and quicker stops and crossing the border quicker, I say 9 hours could do it...IF nothing went wrong. Plus we did not have to stop for more fuel, a car would. Our bus was a hour late getting to Toronto but mainly cause of the border. Our bus which had just a dozen people on it got passed customs fast, it was some bus ahead of ours that messed things up oh and that detour we had to take around 3 am

Edited: 06 January 2014, 03:52
detroit
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9. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

NYC likely has loads of traffic an hour or more before the city, we missed DC traffic leaving at 10 pm. I got into DC at 6 am sharp and traffic was already pilling up, stop and go 40 mins before getting into DC. It was either stop and go or like 70 kmh the last 40 mins...an hour later it must have been far-far worst.

The same with going to Toronto, I make great time 3/4 of the way but then that last 1/4 of the way traffic slows me way down and it takes much longer to get there.

You could always miss an exit-get on the wrong freeway-and then have to piggy back. There is much that could go wrong, its not worth chancing missing your flight

Edited: 06 January 2014, 04:01
detroit
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10. Re: Driving from Washington DC to Toronto Pearson

I'm just looking at Google maps, not sure how Mega Bus went, looks like you really need to know your directions-or have GPS. To be honest, I sure would not want to drive it but I know that big slow bus made it in just over 12 hours and we had many delays