Posted March 2, 2011 by Adam Toren in City Guides

Vancouver Car Rental – Essential Recommendations About Vancouver Car Rental

If you’re not driving your own car to Vancouver, you’ll likely want to rent one so as not to be restricted to just the area where your hotel is located. Not only is it a cheaper daily alternative to spending money on train, bus, or boat fare every time you need to go somewhere, but it’s just a nice comfort knowing you can come and go as you please on your own schedule.

Vancouver car rental is easy and efficient. You will have a wide array of companies to choose from that are typically available in most major cities, such as Budget, Dollar, Hertz, and Avis, depending on your preference. (If you are new to the car rental world and want to do a little research on the companies, check out different consumer reports online for a better idea of who to use and who to avoid.) You can rent a car either at the airport or at one of their offices located throughout the city. You may not feel like dealing with car rental right off the plane, so their outside locations are convenient. Be sure to bring any coupons or discounts with you that you may have, and keep in mind weekend rentals are typically less expensive. Sometimes different organizations you belong to like AAA or a frequent flier program provide car rental discounts, so check with them as well, and see if the rental agency you choose honors those discounts. If you reserve your car in advance, it is more likely you’ll get the one you want and at a price that may be better than if you waited until the time of your vacation. Also, be sure to keep your receipt if you are traveling on business, as you can typically use it as a tax write-off.

It is always smart to purchase insurance on the vehicle you rent. Accidents can and do happen, and the worst place for one to occur would be on your vacation! Vancouver car rental agents can help you with this. Also, different countries have different driving habits, so it’s wise to check into Vancouver’s laws, what their street signs mean, and be sure you’re up to speed on metric conversions since miles are kilometers, gallons are liters, and for weather conditions while driving, Fahrenheit is Celsius. Though Vancouver typically has a maritime climate, weather is good to know if you’re unaccustomed to driving in rain or snow! If by some chance you do get into an accident, treat the situation as though you were driving your own car and get as much information as possible from other drivers involved, and even witnesses if you can. Notify all necessary parties immediately, and be ready to return your car early on the drop-off day (if it’s still drivable) as you’ll have a lot of forms to fill out if there’s damage to the vehicle.

Make sure you are in the know on all other possible hidden charges before signing anything and driving off the lot. You could be charged for things like drop-off fees, airport surcharges, mileage, and some companies require you to fill up the gas tank upon return of the vehicle. If you’d like to save money on your Vancouver car rental, opt for the economy-sized vehicle. Unless you absolutely need the extra space, or would just like to have it, steer clear of the full-size vehicles as they do cost more (and the larger the vehicle means the more expensive refueling will be). As a side note, if the company happens to run out of economy-sized vehicles, often they will upgrade you to a larger car at no extra cost.

Before accepting your rental car, make sure you do a thorough walk-around to check for pre-existing damages so you will not be charged for them when you return it. Make a list of all scratches, dents, and any other issues the vehicle may have, including mileage on the speedometer, and make certain both you and the Vancouver car rental agent retain a copy of it. Make sure all your lights work as well. When driving, always keep your passport, driver’s license, and rental agreement with you in case you are stopped. Better to be safe than sorry when in another country.

Unless you’re a veteran traveler to Vancouver, you should keep a map with you in the vehicle for reference. Vancouver drivers know where they’re going and they like to get there fast, so the better prepared you are for your road trip, the less likely you’ll be to get into an accident. When parking, keep a lookout for No Parking zones or signs, and feed the meter if there is one. No one wants to pay to get a rental out of impound!

There are many beautiful, scenic drives to be had along the coastline in Vancouver, and lots of lovely bridges to cross. These include the Burrard Street Bridge, the Granville Island Bridge, Port Mann Bridge, and the incredible Lion’s Gate Bridge. Cruising around Victoria is quite a captivating drive, as is the route to Whistler. For a short cut, drive onto a ferry and spend a little less time behind the wheel and enjoy the cruise across the water. There are so many fantastic little towns to pay a visit that you might as well put that Vancouver car rental to use (but keep an eye on those miles!).

Adam Toren

Adam Toren
Adam Toren is born and raised in Vancouver BC and loves everything Vancouver BC has to offer. He loves traveling and exploring new and unique restaurants and places around the world.