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  1. Default Touring northern US and Canada

    My partner and I are planning a roadtrip across Canada around September this year and we are wondering what the best options are for getting a vehicle. Our initial thoughts were to fly to LA or Seattle, pick up a hire car and drive up to Canada, across to the east coast, back into the US, across the top of the US and back to our point of origin. Rudimentary searches of hire car companies have come back "not available" so we are not even sure if it is possible to take a hire car on a trip like this through two countries. I even had a problem looking at hiring a car in Vancouver and taking it across to Montreal - seems as if hire cars are for single or adjacent provinces only. Does anyone know if this the case?
    I guess our other option is to buy a car and do the trip that way. Unfortunately that adds time at the beginning and end of the trip to find the right vehicle.
    As we are flying from Perth in Western Australia we are not really keen to start or end our journey on the east coast of Canada or the US - the flying time to Australia from that side of the world is a nightmare and it seems such a waste to be sitting in a plane when we could be enjoying the back roads and scenery.
    Your collective thoughts would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default May Be Time to Talk to a Real Person

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I found your dilemma intriguing and so tried a few different approaches to see what might be available. First I tried standard general searches, such as our "Travel Reservations" above, and looked for an intermediate car for four weeks with pick-up/drop-off in Seattle. I then looked carefully at the geographic restrictions on each company's rental contract. For the larger companies, travel throughout the US and Canada (but not Mexico) was permitted along with unlimited mileage. The one caveat was that if you are a Canadian citizen you cannot bring a US rental car into Canada (Canadian law). For the majority of smaller rental companies, you could still travel throughout the US and Canada, but if you took the car beyond the Pacific Northwest, the unlimited mileage disappeared and you were subject to costs of $0.20 to $0.35 per mile on everything over about 150 miles per day. That would become prohibitively expensive on your trek.

    Then I went directly to the websites of the major car rental agencies, and found something intriguing. When I just did a normal inquiry, I got essentially the same info as above. It was possible for me to do what you want, and the cost for a month's rental would be around $1300 (US). But one of the websites offered the option of listing my nationality as other than US, so I told it I was Australian. Immediately the response went from 'no problem' to 'no vehicle available'. One other thing was that in almost all cases, taking the car into Canada required that I pre-notify the rental company before pick-up so that they could prepare the necessary paperwork for taking the car back and forth across the border. In the end, though I could not find a definitive answer to your problem on the web even at the companies' own web sites.

    So, at this point, it's probably necessary to fall back on that old low tech solution and call a few companies and talk to a real person. You may be able to do this through the local branches of the majors (Hertz, Avis, National) in Australia or you may have to call the actual location where you'll be picking up the car. But in the end, I think you can work this out with a little discussion with a customer service representative. And for the reasons stated, primarily the differing policies on mileage charges, I'd stick with the Big 3. Hope that's of help.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-30-2007 at 06:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Nationality counts!

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    ... But one of the websites offered the option of listing my nationality as other than US, so I told it I was Australian. Immediately the response went from 'no problem' to 'no vehicle available'....
    This is an example of one of the dirty little secrets of booking travel on the Web. A couple of years ago, I rented a car for pick-up in Germany (I was in Italy at the time) and never told them I was American. The price for Americans is much higher in Germany for the same exact car as it is for Italians... When I arrived in Germany to pick up my rental -- the agent was aghast to discover I was a USA citizen and nearly refused to rent me anything. So, I really don't have much advice -- other than to be "creative" as you discuss car rentals with the agents.


  4. Default Thanks for you help!

    Thanks a lot to both of you for your response. Unfortunately neither of us are Canadian or American citizens so we will try booking through one of the "Big 3" here in Oz and see if they can organise it from our end. If that doesn't work or turns out to be too expensive we will be back for advice on "creative" solutions! In the meantime, if anyone else has some ideas please reply!
    Thanks again,
    Ali and Pete

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