Without a rental car to visit Canada, it is only worthwhile for fans of city trips. Public transportation is not a great option for exploring the country’s natural beauties. However, there are some rules on Canadian roads that are unusual for visitors.
It makes sense to book the rental car in advance online. Depending on the travel time, rental cars can be very popular and therefore very expensive. The price comparison of the various offers is also easier on the internet than comparing the prices at the destination. You can not only select your desired car size and rental period without great effort in the comparison calculator but also book all the useful extras. A GPS navigation system and a tank refill without additional fees are recommended. After that, almost nothing stands in the way of the perfect vacation in Canada.
Takeover and return
The takeover and return usually take place at the airport, but many car rental companies have branches in the city centers. If you do not want to return the rental car to the same rental station where you received it, you should pay attention to the additional charges.
Type of car
It is best not to ask for a rental car with a manual gearbox – this is simply not common in Canada. However, a rental car with an automatic transmission is not really a great challenge. The same applies to Canada as to the USA: People like to drive big cars with high consumption – small cars are rather rare.
The minimum statutory coverage for motor vehicle liability insurance is much lower in Canada than in the EU or the USA. It is recommended to choose a more expensive rental car offer with higher coverage. If people are injured in an accident, the costs can go up quickly. If they exceed the sum insured, the person causing the accident must pay the difference out of their own pocket.
If you want to continue your Canada trip in the United States, you should check whether the car rental company allows you to take the car across the border. There are different regulations: With some providers, taking them with you is not a problem, others only allow them on request or exclude Alaska. Certain parts of Canada can also be excluded, such as the Northwest Territories.
You need a valid passport to enter Canada. If you stay in the country for more than six months, you will also need a visa, which must be applied for beforehand. You should also have international health insurance, an international driver’s license, and a credit card to get a rental car without any problems. Drivers who are younger than 25 years old when renting have to pay an additional fee depending on the car insurance.
Traffic rules in Canada
Many traffic rules are the same as in Europe or the USA, but there are a few exceptions: On motorways and some expressways, lanes are reserved for vehicles with more than one occupant. If you use such a trail alone, you face fines. It is often allowed to turn right anytime even at red traffic lights. Do not be surprised if you are getting constantly overtaken in your rental car from the right and left on the highway – this is legal, but it takes time getting used to it. Turn on the lights when driving and never drink alcohol when you want to get behind the wheel.
You can drive 50 km/h in the closed village, 100 km/h on the highway, unless otherwise stated. Many Canadians adhere loosely to these guidelines, but as a tourist, you should pay attention to them. Canada can get very cold winters with a lot of snow and wind: roads can be closed if the weather conditions are too bad. Otherwise, the clearing services are very reliable.
If one of the yellow school buses stops and turns on the red flashing lights, you should not overtake him – not even if you are coming from the opposite direction. This can be very expensive and you will always be wrong.
The Best Road Trips in Canada
This is what Canada has to offer. Do not try to travel from one city to another by public transport. The famous Greyhound buses can have very unfavorable departure and arrival times and sometimes take a long time to cover the huge distances that many tourists tend to underestimate.
For most tourists, the Canada trip begins at Toronto Airport. You do not need a car in the city and parking, especially valet parking, can be very expensive. A rental car is definitely recommended for an excursion that you should not miss: the Niagara Falls and the pretty village of Niagara on the Lake. Warning: on windy days, the bridges you have to cross from Toronto can be closed, and there are some attractions on the outskirts, such as the white bluffer cliffs at the lake or Black Creek Park. This large open-air museum can also be reached easily with a rental car.
Montreal and Quebec
Montreal and Quebec have a completely different culture than Toronto because the French way of life still exists here. The rental car is best left in both cities. But do not miss a visit to a maple plantation, where you can taste the syrup. During the Indian Summer, a trip to the Laurentians and Mont Tremblant with a clear blue sky is a highlight – Canada from the advertising brochures awaits you. Pay a visit to the Île d’Orléans from Quebec: You will be enchanted by the scenic beauty of the small island.
Vancouver on the west coast is one of the gates to the “wild” Canada: the city itself is easy to explore on foot. However, if you want to discover the coast, you need a rental car. In addition, a sightseeing flight with a seaplane that takes off and lands in the bay is an absolute must.