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  1. Default Vancouver to San Diego

    We are two Aussie seniors planning the above drive next June in a week avoiding bit cities and heavy traffic where possible. Know it is a way off but want to start early planning. Lots of websites but can't find just what we want to know. Someone told us car rental companies often need cars returning to certain cities and the rate is lower. Anyone know more about this? Would appreciate any tips and suggestions.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Car Rental

    Most car rental companies have cars assigned to certain locations, and they don't move them from city to city. That's why round trip rates are almost always far cheaper than doing one way rentals. Rates can also change pretty dramatically from city to city and even from day to day, so it is certainly worth shopping around and locking in a price when you find a good one.

    You could also run into problems trying to rent in Vancouver and drop off in San Diego. Most car rental companies don't like you to cross the border, and I would have to imagine a one way international rental could be particularly expensive.

    As far as your trip goes, what is it exactly that you want to know? Are you planning on driving along on the coast, or seeing the inland sites along the way?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Route ideas

    I agree with Michael that you will probably find the car rental issue a bit tricky and more expensive than you hope. You will probably need to check with the major companies like Hertz, Avis, Nationwide, National, Thrifty, etc. and see what kind of rate they offer you. Be sure to ask for the cost of any incidental coverages you might need like insurance. If you don't budget for these, you might be shocked to see the price of these items. Check with your own insurance agent before you leave to see which, if any, of these add-ons you really need but make sure you clarify what countries you're traveling in to your agent because your auto insurance in Aussie might not cover you here at all.

    This page for International Travelers is a good resource and might have the answers to some of your questions.

    As for routes, if you want to avoid cities and really see the sights, I would recommend something like the following:
    * Leave Vancouver, BC, going south until you get to Mt. Vernon, WA. Go west toward Anacortes than south to Keystone. Take the ferry to Port Townsend. Explore this fun Victorian city.
    * Leave Port Townsend going west across the top of the Olympia Peninsula and then continue south on the west side. Stay on 101 through the rest of Washington and down the Oregon Coast to California.
    * In California, stay on 101 or veer of onto CA-1 for part of the trip, all the way to San Diego.

    In my opinion, this takes you past some of the most beautiful beaches and scenic towns and other vistas we have here on the West Coast. However, without going inland for part of your trip, you're missing some other points of beauty like Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, Yosemite, and more.

    What kinds of things are you hoping to see? With more info, we can provide better advice.

  4. Default Vancouver to San Diego

    To Judy and Michael
    Many thanks for the inital advice re rental cars. We hadn't foreseen the difficulties here. We may have to bus it from Vancouver into US and then hire but still do a one way trip as we want to fly back to Vancouver for trip bck to Aussie. Will look at the sites recommended and when we have more plans will come back to you. Appreciate the prompt responses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Flight Costs

    Is your flight to Vancouver a sure thing yet? If you are looking to cut costs, you might find that flying into Seattle, or reversing your trip and starting from San Diego, might be cheaper, overall.

    Where I think the savings will really show us is when you try to buy a one way ticket back to your starting point. Because most of the discount airlines don't fly to Canada, I think you'll find that there is a lot more competition, and thus lower prices, on flights from California and Seattle when compared to California to Vancouver routes.

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