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Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Glendale...
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Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

We will be renting a car from SEATAC to cross the border to Richmond BC. I goggled it and it says around 2 1/2 hour with minimal traffic and around 3 hr on heavy traffic. How long will be the stop at the border? from Seattle entering Canada? We will be entering Canada on the day of Dec 22nd, a Sunday. Our another concern will be when going back to SEATAC? We will be returning from CANADA to cross Seattle on Dec 25th Christmas day for our 2 pm flight SEA-LAX? Around what time shall we leave Richmond BC ? Will the wait at the border to cross from CANADA to US (Seattle) will be much longer? Thanks for any replies and it will be greatly appreciated.

Mike

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Generally the southbound wait is longer than northbound, but it's very dependent on things like day of week, time of day, etc.

From Seatac to the border is around 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Traffic will only be an issue in Seattle itself, and since Dec. 22 is a Sunday I doubt if it will be too bad. If there are 2 of you you can use the "express" or HOV lanes, which will also speed things. But because it's the last Sunday before Christmas, you might encounter some pretty big lineups at the border, with Canadian residents returning from shopping expeditions to the US. I'd budget an hour for the border just to be safe. From the border to Richmond is another 20-30 min. depending on where in Richmond you're heading.

I doubt if traffic will be heavy on Christmas day; however the border might be less fully staffed with agents, so again I'd budget between an hour and 90 min. to be safe. If your flight's at 2 PM and you need to return a car and check in, doing the backward math sounds like an 8 AM departure from Vancouver is in order. That sort of sucks and makes me wonder if a one-way car rental and flying back from YVR is out of the question at this stage.

Glendale...
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2. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Thanks a lot, I tried to look for car rentals but SEATAC car rental I've found only allow the return of the car to same pick up point. I tried looking for a flight fro SEATAC to YVR on those days but it will cost us $1100 round trip for 2 adults and a child age 10. Its quite expensive. Thanks again and I really appreciate your quick response.

seattle
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3. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Hi

this article may help you out

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60878-c2598/Seattle:…

there is a link for historic border crossing times. Be aware that many Canadians flock across the border to shop and especially on a long weekend or holiday. The border wait can be substantial and there are other options. You can take the train which is highly recommended. If you take the Amtrak Bus you avoid the hassles and it lets you off at the Sandman Hotel in Richmond. Only the bus allows this as the train goes into downtown, however the Skytrain is right there and can take you to Richmond.

Glendale...
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4. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Thanks!

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Note there are two crossing points near I-5. One is the so-called "truck crossing" (also called Pacific Hwy crossing) a little to the east of I-5/BC 99, the other is the "Peace Arch" crossing right at the terminus of I-5. Sometimes (not always) the Peace Arch will be considerably slower than the truck crossing, other times it's a wash. There are reader boards on both sides of the border advising wait times; in addition several Vancouver radio stations have frequent border status reports, so you ought to be alert to the options.

I was able to see a couple of one-way options for cars, but all have a very high ($300+) drop fee, and of course you'd have to pay for either a separate plane ticket to SEA or else a change fee to your existing air booking to allow for the open-jaw. It sounds like your Christmas morning is going to be on the road. Ho ho ho.

Glendale...
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6. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

I know! Thanks!

Vancouver
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7. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

There won't be any traffic on Christmas Day coming southbound into the States. We regularly cross every year on the 25th to visit family in Seattle and there is usually only a few cars lined up.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

The following article has links to the webcams at the 3 border crossings to use on the day of. And the two Canadian radio stations to keep an ear on.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154943-c200000/Vanco…

+1 for the backwards math in post 1. From Richmond it will take you about 30 min to get to the border and there will be almost no one going across at that time of the morning. On Christmas morning I would allow 3 hours drive plus 30 min to return the car plus 90 min to allow for check in.

The risk you take with making this drive on the same day of your flight is weather. If it snows on any of those days, there is no telling how long it would take.

Glendale...
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9. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Thanka a lot!:-)

Glendale...
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10. Re: Driving from Seattle to Richmond BC

Thanka a lot!:-)