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Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

Washington, D.C.
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Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

We plan to visit Seattle and rent a car somewhere near the airport. We'd like to drive to Vancouver for a few days, then return to Seattle and turn car in there. Any companies known to either allow, or not allow, border crossings? Thanks TA folks! (I'm not sure whether to post on the Seattle or Vancouver forums, so trying here 1st)

37 replies to this topic
seattle
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1. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

almost all will allow it but perhaps some of the smaller or off brand ones may not allow it. I don't think there is a 'pat' answer other than check. In Canada its pretty common to have geographic boundaries otherwise a mileage rate applies but I've never heard of that in the US. Since your returning to the same location there really isn't much of an issue. Itis way cheaper to rent away from the airport if you can. When is this trip? Border wait times can be substantial in summer.

Washington, D.C.
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2. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

Thanks, David! I'll check before I book. We're coming into SEA-TAC. There seem to be a lot of off-airport, shuttle type rental companies. Fox is cheapest from what I've seen, though another (Alamo??) anyone, one of them offers a hybrid, which is appealing. We're coming your way in late Feb.-early Mar. Not peak season, though when we can work in into family plans to see Mom-in-law on Whidbey.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

All rental companies are located in an off-airport 'rental facility' and you need to take a shuttle (provided by the airport) to get to the rental location.

The major rental companies (Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, etc) should let you drive into Canada without problems. The smaller ones may have restrictions. For example, Fox doesn't let cars rented in Florida out of Florida; however they do let cars rented in Seattle into Canada. EZ Rent A Car won't let their cars out of Washington or Oregon states. I'd check carefully the policies of any small company you are thinking of using.

Note that the airport charges a hefty per-day fee on all rentals from its rental location. You may find it cheaper to rent from a real off-airport location, such as one in the city of SeaTac or in Seattle.

Washington, D.C.
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4. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

Thanks amoose! (wish you had a moose photo!) I'll try to find not-on-airport rentals--that will let me drive to Canada. We get into SEATAC about 6pm and have to drive to Whidbey, so I need a rental that's fairly easily. Now, if y'all could assure nice weather......... Though heck, anything's about nicer than what we're having here! We just got plowed from Thursday's snow.

Fortaleza, CE
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5. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

You may be confusing terms. The airport rentals have been moved to one building, owned by the airport authority. You get there by a free shuttle from the airport. They are still considered airport rentals in terms of fares. When people talk about "off-airport" rentals they often mean those not on airport property and without shuttles to/from the airport. These can cost less due to lack of airport facility fees, but may also have restrictions. Call them in advance before assuming you can take the car into Canada. In fact, tell any company you rent from where you'll take the car. They may need to give you a form to show to Customs.

If you rent from a truly off-airport location (not in the consolidated rental facility), you'll need to get there on your own, such as by taxi.

Edited: 16 February 2014, 12:58
Fortaleza, CE
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6. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

p.s. if you go to the Web site for most major rental companies you'll see "locations" and can see where they are located. There are some in downtown Seattle, but I think most will be closed by 5 or 6 p.m. If you want to leave after 6 p.m. you may need to use the airport rental facility. When you leave the terminal, walk to your right and you'll see the shuttle. Many companies all together so you can shop around there if need be.

Do read TA reviews of the companies, especially the chap ones, you consider using.

Edited: 16 February 2014, 13:02
Longview, Washington
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7. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

We have rented from both Hertz and Avis and driven into Canada from other areas of the U. S. and had no problem. Have rented from both airport locations and downtown rentals. Some of the smaller companies do not allow travel outside the U. S., so read the fine print carefully before renting.

Washington, D.C.
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8. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

Thanks TA folks (we have both black and started-out-as-white cats, and a tuxedo 3-legger, so I like the photos, Sutter and Kitters). I haven't flown into SEA in a couple years, so sounds like the car rental set-up has changed. I remember off airport companies busing us to tucked away places along Highway 99/International Blvd. I gather that's changed??

seattle
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9. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

yes that all changed. There is one central car rental bldg similar to SF or Vegas and the shuttle buses stop outside baggage claim and take you there. You can avoid the fees by taking the shuttle across the street to the seatac Marriott and rent from Hertz. Check on Hotwire.com and put in seatac vs seattle to see the cost savings. Sometimes its not much,and other times its hundreds of dollars.

Washington, D.C.
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10. Re: Which rental car companies ok to drive to Canada and back?

Thanks, David and all. Off to search for the best deal--and then call to check on Canada border issues with the best-sounding rental. I've had problems with Hertz, so I try to avoid them. Other than cost, I've had 2 dead batteries: 1 on a truck I rented to haul office furniture from Riverside to Sacramento, CA (had to have a jump every time I stopped for gas); the other when I rented to car to get to a job interview.

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