Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Default Vancouver to San Diego (1st Time in America)

    Hi,

    Me and a friend are planning a road trip from Vancouver BC to San Diego during the months of July and August 08. We are both from Scotland, UK and it would be our 1st time in America. We have about 4 to 5 weeks to play with.

    I have no idea on where to start. What are the places we should visit and how expensive is it renting a car for that amount of time and fuel charges etc. Where are the best/relatively cheap (and safe places) to spend during the nights. What are the routes to take etc.

    We are completely new to this type of thing. The furthest I've ever travelled by car is like 200miles at best :)

    Any help would be awsome!

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default getting your footing

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your first step is to figure out what it is that you want to see. Presumably you've picked Vancouver to San Diego for a reason, so start with those reasons and develop at least a list of some things you'd like to see.

    This website, including the forum and the planning sections, have lots of information about the west coast and the other "basics" you are trying to learn about. Take a look around, and you should get a good start. Some of these threads will be particularly helpful:

    Budgeting Basics
    LA to Vancouver
    A bunch of threads about the Pacific Northwest

    A bunch more threads about California and the Southwest

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Coast or Inland

    This is a beautiful drive. You will want to pick either driving down the coast or going inland an enjoying the mountains (and maybe even some of the more "desert" areas). It's hard to do both because you would have to zigzag a bit but there are ways to see a bit of both without too much of that.

    However, you have a LONG time for this trip so seeing most anything you want to see shouldn't be difficult. In fact, you can see a lot more than just the Vancouver-to-San Diego areas.

    What kinds of things do you want to see and do. Give us some help to understand what you want out of this trip so we can give you advise that fits YOU and not something generic that doesn't help you a bit.

    Just an FYI...I'm not sure that I understand the intricacies of foreign visitors renting a car in Canada and driving it into the US. But you will want to be sure you understand the rules on this. Make sure that the car rental agency understands what your plan is and that they allow you to bring the car across the border. Especially if this is a one-way trip, you will want to have the drop-off issue worked out with them and know what your drop-off fees will be.

  4. #4

    Default Rental cars

    There is no problem with a foreign national taking a rental car across the border into the US (the only permutation which is actually forbidden is a Canadian citizen taking a US registered rental car north across the border) but you absolutely must check that your rental agency is happy for you to do this and that they will provide insurance cover.

    With regard to what the rental companies allow (as opposed to what the law allows) I have yet to find a single company who will let you do a 'one-way rental' and take a car from Canada and drop it inside the US. Or vice versa. In fact they'll not even allow you to return a car from 'mainland US' to Alaska under normal circumstances.

    What you will need to do in your case will be to do everything that you want to do in north of the border and then cross into the US by bus, train or air (I went with air as Amtrak couldn't offer any guarantees I'd be able to enroll on the US-VISIT programme when arriving by train) and rent a car at your point of arrival.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 03-08-2008 at 02:53 PM. Reason: clarification

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Thanks, Craig

    I knew this had been discussed before but I couldn't find the thread with the answer. I'll bookmark this for future reference.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    Posts
    15

    Default

    I'm doing very similar trip in July and August myself (Seattle - San Diego in 4 weeks) and since you're completely new to this kind of thing, be advised that one-way car rentals come with a pretty hefty fee for returning your rental car in a different city. Like Craig said, you're probably best off going from Vancouver to Seattle by public transport and picking up a rental car there. Most rental companies I've checked only give specific one-way charges after you've booked. In the case of Seattle - San Diego the extra charge is $500, which was at Alamo. But virtually all companies charge a similar amount for this distance.

  7. Default Another variation

    Quote Originally Posted by Joeri View Post
    I'm doing very similar trip in July and August myself (Seattle - San Diego in 4 weeks) and since you're completely new to this kind of thing, be advised that one-way car rentals come with a pretty hefty fee for returning your rental car in a different city. Like Craig said, you're probably best off going from Vancouver to Seattle by public transport and picking up a rental car there.
    Just as a note, I've used the Bellingham Airport, just south of the Border to pick up a rental car in the US. From Vancouver to Seattle is about 2-2 1/2 hours via bus or van, and the Seattle airport area has a huge number of rental car agencies. The Bellingham Airport is a smaller regional airport about 30 minutes south of the border, and perhaps 45 minutes from Vancouver (depending upon border lines). There is a connector bus from the Vancouver Airport to the Bellingham airport, as well as a couple of van lines. There are several (4? 5?) national rental car companies with representatives at the Bellingham Airport.

    It's another, closer option to picking up a rental car in the US, rather than the extra couple of hours to Seattle.
    Last edited by UKCraig; 03-10-2008 at 10:19 AM. Reason: fixed broken quote tags

  8. #8

    Default Be sure to check

    It's a good idea but be sure to check - as an overseas visitor - the implications of crossing the border using those means. I was looking to cross from Vancouver to Bellingham or Seattle via the train (stunning views apparently) but no one (even Amtrak) could tell me what the situation was with regard to signing on to the US-VISIT scheme and gaining entry to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. Unfortunately I had to do something I really didn't want to do - buy a one way flight from Vancouver to Seattle. I'm sure it'll be fine if going by road but please do ask the question of the transporter.

Similar Threads

  1. Colorado - San Diego - Vancouver (Nov)
    By renevere in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-22-2007, 11:06 AM
  2. Best time to do San Fran to San Diego
    By helengove in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-14-2007, 02:26 AM
  3. Seattle - Vancouver - San Diego
    By barmy in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-11-2007, 09:10 AM
  4. WANTED: Suggestions for Vancouver, BC to San Diego, CA
    By Faustian in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-10-2005, 07:00 PM
  5. vancouver to san diego. and back..
    By imported_ian in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-09-2003, 05:51 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES