Tips for renting a car on vacation to Canada
Renting a car on vacation means freedom, especially in such a large country as Canada. There is so much to see and do, and a car makes that much easier. Just choosing the perfect rental car for a road trip can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re going to a faraway country like Canada. Read some tips on renting a car and on other travel preparations, such as applying for an eTA or visa Canada.
- Set up a wish list
Before the search for a car begins, it can be nice to already think about what kind of car you are looking for and what will best suit the vacation you have planned. If you’re going to travel long distances, it may be nice to have a little more comfort with a larger car. Or if you’re just going for a vacation where you’ll be in a lot of remote places, like the mountains or national parks, then an all-terrain vehicle can come in handy. Or if you need a car in town, a smaller model is a good choice. Since most are traveling to Canada by plane, it is also important to see if all the luggage will fit properly in the car. Also note that most cars for rent are automatic.
- Book on time
The earlier you book a car, the more choice there is and the cheaper it is. Last minute deals are sometimes very nice, but with a car you want to be careful with that. If you know far in advance that you have booked the perfect car, the trip will also be less stressful and you will at least know how to get from A to B. Then you can also be sure that the dates are available, which is sometimes very important when airline tickets are already booked.
- Not always going for cheap
It can be very tempting to go for a cheaper car, but that is not always the best choice, especially for a trip to Canada, where you do want to be sure of a good quality car. Especially since you are booking well in advance of your trip, you can take the time to compare different rental companies and find good deals. There are plenty of car rental companies to choose from in Canada, so there will always be a car that fits your budget well. Be aware that in almost all cases renting a car requires you to have a credit card; so make sure you have one before your trip.
- Please note the conditions
After you have chosen a car that suits your vacation and all your needs, it is important to read through all the terms and conditions of renting that car. Pay attention to the age limit, the type of license and how many miles you can drive with it. Generally, in Canada you must be at least 21 years old and have at least 1 year of driving experience. Your driver’s license must also be valid for at least 6 months after your trip. Sometimes you also have to pay more if you want more than one person to drive the car, so agree on who will drive and how many people that will be.
- Take out extra car insurance
You can always take out an average car insurance policy for the rental car and pay for the number of days you rent the car, but it doesn’t cover everything by a long shot. This is often a “damage waiver. A rental car is never covered by your Dutch car insurance, so it is useful to see if you want to add an extra insurance just to be sure.
- Handing in the same place?
If you are going to do a road trip, or visit different parts of Canada, it can only be just right not to end up in the same place than where you rented the car. Often you have to pay more for that or sometimes it is not possible. So before you sign the lease, ask if this is possible and how much it would cost. It may also be that you plan to cross the border into America, this is often possible, but you should check first if this is possible and what the additional rules are.
- GPS with it?
It’s always nice to have a navigation system on vacation, especially since Canada is so big and the road is still unknown. However, it is not necessary to rent one from the rental company, as it often costs a lot of money and a smartphone can often do the same as a TOMTOM. So it is better to save the cost and just use your own phone with Google Maps. It is wise, though, to download the maps in advance, with good wifi, so you can be sure you have the right roads. Because Canada is so big, sometimes there can be no coverage on the road and if you don’t have 4G either, it can cause annoying situations.
- Additional rules and applying for an eTA
If you go on a road trip in the summer, it will be mostly very sunny and very warm, but if you travel between October and May, the weather can be very different from what you are used to. The same goes for the traffic rules: they will be fairly the same as in the Netherlands, but there may be some language barriers, because if you go to the province of Quebec, the signs will often be in French, for example. However, before the road trip in Canada can begin, you must apply for eTA. This is an electronic travel authorization that is licked to your passport and is required for all travelers entering Canada by air. An eTA Canada is valid for 5 years and may be used indefinitely. Each trip may last up to 6 months, which gives more than enough time for a road trip. So apply for your eTA on time so it doesn’t spoil the fun.
With these tips, renting a car in Canada will be easier and the trip will be better. Be well prepared with the eTA Canada and make sure you’ve looked at all the hidden costs ahead of time so it doesn’t end up being more expensive than it needs to be.