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Why rent a car in Vancouver?
Vancouver is a great place for renting a car. Having your own ride will not only give you the freedom to travel the whole of Greater Vancouver area, it will also let you visit important landmarks across British Columbia province.
Top ways to enter Vancouver
- Vancouver Airport: By far the province's largest, Vancouver Airport provides great domestic and North American connections, as well as regular flights across Pacific to Asia.
- Victoria Airport: This small and cozy airport near Vancouver is served by 12 different airlines.
- Calgary Airport: Located in nearby Alberta province, Calgary Airport is 686 km (426 mi) from Vancouver. It's quite popular to arrive in one and leave from the other.
- Seattle-Tacoma Airport: The main airport of neighboring U.S. state of Washington, flying to Sea-Tac is another great way to reach North America's Pacific Coast. Note that if you plan to drive from Seattle to Vancouver (or vice versa), you'll have to cross the border, so it's a good idea to contact your rental car provider in advance to make sure they allow it.
Useful city facts
- Vancouver is Canada’s warmest large city. Summers are warm, with temperature often exceeding 30 °C (86 °F), and very dry. Winters are mild are very wet. On average, there are only nine days with snowfall per year.
- Vancouver is capital of British Columbia province. Although the province’s area is 944,735 km2 (364,764 sq mi), about half of its population lives in Greater Vancouver area.
Top destinations and activities
- Museum of Anthropology. If you're looking to learn about the people of the Northwest Coast and some of its history, one good spot is the impressive Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, which houses several thousand objects from BC's First Nations. The museum is also home to significant collections of archaeological objects and ethnographic materials from other parts of the world.
- The Vancouver Art Gallery. The Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown combines local with international through a variety of exhibitions and a permanent collection that focuses on renowned British Columbia artist, Emily Carr. Contemporary Art Gallery is also very much worth a visit.
- Stanley Park. at the tip of the downtown peninsula. Its miles of trails for walking and cycling, beaches, magnificent views and the attractions (including totem poles) within the park gives it something for everyone. The most popular trail is the Seawall, a paved trail that runs around the perimeter of Stanley Park and now joins with the seawalls in Coal Harbour and Kitsilano, 22 km in length. The Vancouver Aquarium is in Stanley Park.
Traffic and parking tips
- The speed limits vary between different roads. The general limits are 90 km/h to 110 km/h on motorways and outside cities and from 30 km/h to 50 km/h inside cities.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05%. Driving under influence exceeding the limit is a criminal offence and can lead to hefty fines, a driving ban, and even imprisonment.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- Using the mobile phone while driving is prohibited. The rule is strictly imposed with high fines.
- The phone number for emergencies is 112.
There are a number of toll roads in Canada. However, as of February 2019, there are no toll roads in British Columbia. The only tolls in place are to cross the Port Mann Bridge and the Golden Ears Bridge.
In the rest of Canada, payment method and fees differ for different toll roads. It is best to look them up in advance, finding the information for each province in which you plan to travel. You can also use a toll calculator to calculate the approximate fees for your upcoming ride.
Ideas for a day-trip
- North Shore. Best known for Grouse Mountain, also known as the Peak of Vancouver, that offers great cityscapes, the nearby North Shore is also a place where you can do things like snowboarding, kayaking, and mountain biking if the weather permits it, or to simply be in the nature.
- Bowen Island. Easily reached by water taxis that depart from downtown Vancouver, Bowen Island and its beaches, walking trails, and small restaurants is a perfect place to unwind from the more busy atmosphere of the big city.
- Okanagan. Most people don't think of Canada as a wine destination, but Okanagan can change anyone's mind. Thanks to the mild ocean climate, this British Columbia region is home to high class wineries and a number of tasting tours. Okanagan is more than four hours drive east of Vancouver which probably makes visiting here a two (or even three) day trip, but since you'll be coming here with a rental car, that will only let you experience more of what it has to offer.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car type in Canada is an economy, but fullsize and intermediate are also often picked. The most popular rental cars are the Kia Rio, the Jeep Wrangler, and the Nissan Rogue.
- British Columbia. The rest of the province is much more sparsely populated, but there's plenty to explore here, especially in terms of pristine, untamed nature.
- Alberta. Just east of B.C., Alberta province is, for many, a logical next step after visiting Vancouver thanks to stunning nature areas like Banff National Park and the city of Calgary, another arts, culture, and architecture destination.
- Seattle. Famous for its music, culture, and free spirit, Seattle is one of the most unique American cities. It is just about three hours drive away from Vancouver. Note that if you plan to drive from Seattle to Vancouver (or vice versa), you'll have to cross the border, so it's a good idea to contact your rental car provider in advance to make sure they allow it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good rental car deal in Vancouver:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Vancouver is the cheapest in September when renting a car is about 65% cheaper than the yearly average.
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Vancouver?
What’s the usual rental length in Vancouver?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Vancouver?
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