Categories
Canada

Calgary

North America > Canada > Calgary

See: Why hire a car in Calgary ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments


Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Calgary car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Calgary is in car rental price band: 5/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Calgary? 

Sometimes. Economy rental prices are average by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Calgary between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 


Why? Visiting Calgary using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Calgary ?



Why not? Visiting Calgary without a car

Why don't you need a car in Calgary ?



Ratings: How does Calgary compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Calgary? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Calgary, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Calgary? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Calgary (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Calgary? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Calgary airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Calgary car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 


Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Calgary ?

Categories
Canada

Edmonton

North America > Canada > Edmonton

See: Why hire a car in Edmonton ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

First impressions of Edmonton might be of a city that sits at the edge of a wide prairie and at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s also the location of the West Edmonton Mall. This vast mega complex that was the largest in the world before various different cities in Asia started playing shopping mall top trumps with each other. If you fancy a virtual visit to this giant shopping metropolis before visiting Edmonton in person, then just watch the “so bad it’s good” comedy “Christmas in Wonderland”.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Edmonton car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Edmonton is in car rental price band: 6/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Edmonton? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly more expensive than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Edmonton between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 5/10

Non car score:5/10

Balance: 7

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Any decision on whether or not to rent a car in Edmonton is nothing like as straightforward as it might initially look.

Why? Visiting Edmonton using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Edmonton ?


Within the city

  • Edmonton is a large and generally sprawling city. It is built for the car.
  • There are no commuter trains serving Edmonton.
  • The only through train is the east-west VIA rail service which runs between Toronto and Vancouver (see below).

Rockies & beyond

  • For all of the usual reasons of flexibility, a hire car is probably still going to be useful, especially for venturing deep into the Rockies.
  • The balance in both Edmonton and nearby Calgary is always going to swing towards spending more time in the mountains, and less in the cities.
  • Public transport options are limited in rural areas (but what might be lacking in quantity certainly manages to pack in the quality!).
  • It’s also relatively easy to travel between Edmonton and Calgary – it’s going to be a 3 to 4 hour drive in a car, around 50 buses per day are available, and you can also fly.
  • For visiting Jasper and beyond, if you rent a car in Edmonton, you will have far more flexibility. There is only one scheduled bus (Greyhound) per day between Edmonton and Jasper, and other shuttle services (eg Sundog) are limited in frequency.
  • Jasper Skytram – this is a great way to get outstanding views of the Rockies from a vantage point high above the town of Jasper. If you are used to mountain cable cars in places like Switzerland, then you may asl obe used to a wide range of trains and buses getting you to the base station. There is a local shuttle servicing hotels in Jasper, but it’s much easier to get to Jasper in the first place in a rental car.
  • The Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff is one of the world’s great road trips – and it’s difficult to do by bus.

Why not? Visiting Edmonton without a car

Why don't you need a car in Edmonton ?


So all this background points to an auto-dominated city where a rental car is a natural choice, but as we’ve also said with nearby Calgary, there are two strong reasons why this might not always be the case.

  • Firstly, when it comes to recreational cycling, Edmonton is actually a pretty good place for biking, with a vast network of paths and linked parks, many running along the banks of the Saskatchewan River, which runs diagonally roughly north-east to south-west through the city. There are also plenty of other great places to go road cycling or mountain biking around Edmonton, primarily towards the Rocky Mountains in the west. However, as with any location in Western Canada or in the western parts of the USA, you might still want to get a hire car to drive your (potentially also hired) bikes into the more scenic areas.
  • Secondly, Edmonton is also the start of a great train trip into the Rocky Mountains, running via the Jasper National Park. It is also possible to reach this area by organised bus trip.

As as former host of the Winter Olympics, Edmonton sits within easy range of a wide number of skiing and other winter sports activities, and for this sort of holiday there’s often little point in getting a rental car if resort shuttle bus services will do.

  • On the whole, we’d score Edmonton very high for the spectacular scenery which can be reached by car, but equally by train or by way of hiking or cycling excursions. Yet although the options in terms of non-car exploring are not anything like as versatile as they might be in European mountain regions such as The Alps, there are still enough options available with each mode.
  • The train trip through the Rockies has to be rated as one of those truly great rail trips, and for us, this puts it over above any equivalent road trip, largely because the train is able to get that little bit closer to the scenery. However, with services only operating 2-3 times per week, a trip on “The Canadian” is something to be savoured, by planned carefully! Note that VIA rail do not own the track in this part of Canada, so they warn passengers that services can be held up due to freight movements. Always allow plenty of time for any rail journey in western Canada!
  • You can arrange tours of the Canadian Rockies by train and bus, with enough gaps in your planning. If you base yourself in towns like Jasper and Banff for a few days, then you won’t be complaining about things to do, but allowing more time when compared to driving in a rental car might make your trip more expensive than it needs to be!
  • Icefields Parkway by bus – a tour service with limited stops is offered by Brewsters.

Ratings: How does Edmonton compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Edmonton? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Edmonton, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Edmonton? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Edmonton (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Edmonton? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Edmonton airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Edmonton car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 4

2021 - 7

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

If you prefer to drive and then have the freedom to stop, then an Edmonton rental car is obviously still going to be the best bet, but it’s worth finding time to do some hiking away from the roadways to really see everything properly, even if you only do short stretches.

However, we are here to answer the question “should we get a hire car in Edmonton”, and given that a wide range of cycling options are available, together with the possibility of a truly unforgettable train trip, then the answer that question isn’t an automatic yes. If you are planning on hiring a car in Edmonton on auto pilot, then it’s best to keep doing so, but if you are even briefly pausing to think about it, then no might well be the better option.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Edmonton ?

Categories
Canada

Montréal

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If you’ve only come to Montréal to enjoy the nightlife and the city’s many and varying restaurants, then this is certainly the sort of place that you get around easy enough using local public transport, and anyone visiting Montréal from London might also notice a certain sense of familiarity with the city’s bicycle hire, and that’s because the London system is based on the model already established in Montréal. Yet there really would be no point in coming to Montréal, or anywhere else in Canada, if you only stuck to the cities, and this really is a part of the world where it essential to get out and enjoy the big outdoors.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Montreal car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Montreal is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Montreal? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Montreal between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Montreal using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Montreal ?


  • Although the underground system in Montréal looks comprehensive enough, it really is focused on 2 very closely linked corridors running diagonally across the city centre, and unless you want to head out to the city’s excellent biosphere Park, the Metro really is much more geared around commuters that is for tourists. There is also a commuter rail service running south of Montréal Trudeau International airport, but it’s much easier to take shuttle bus services running right into the city centre.
  • Whether you are trying to get to the ski slopes or to any of this scenic hiking areas around Montréal, you will soon realise that this can be a great deal of hassle to try and do without your own car. Buses to popular mountain resorts tend to only operate once or twice a day, and some services start and finish at the airport, rather than downtown. Having said this, driving opportunities into the mountains from Montréal are not quite as widely available as might be expected – there really are only 3 or 4 loops which are worth considering in terms of doing a day circuit from Montréal.

Why not? Visiting Montreal without a car

Why don't you need a car in Montreal ?


  • There is no need for a car in Montréal if you are just staying within the city limits.
  • Even if the metro is only of limited use, local buses are more than adequate.

Ratings: How does Montreal compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Montreal? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Montreal, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Montreal? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Montreal (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Montreal? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Montreal airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Montreal car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 8

2021 - 6

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

So Montréal is the sort of city where a hire car is going to be extremely useful, but you might prefer to enjoy what central Montréal has to offer first and then pick up a rental car later. You might want to consider a short-term rental, rather than getting a hire car for your whole holiday period.

Montréal car hire verdict – yes, but short-term rental suggested.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Montreal ?

Categories
Canada

Ottawa

North America > Canada > Ottawa

See: Why hire a car in Ottawa ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

The Canadian capital is one of those cities that has the look and feel of being in the business of governing and also being well governed in terms of how the local environment is managed.

Ottawa might be some way down the tourism pecking order behind other major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montréal the western city of Vancouver, but as with many capital cities, it still has its fair share of museums and other cultural attractions, and it can also be a useful base for exploring the area beyond.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Ottawa car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Ottawa is in car rental price band: 6/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Ottawa? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly more expensive than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Ottawa between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

I have also included Ottawa in my list of 300 cities because it has an extensive network of completely segregated bus lanes (Transitways), or perhaps these could more accurately be described as “bus motorways”.

So if you build a city with a focus on the humble bus as the showpiece way of getting around, does that create an attractive system?

Why? Visiting Ottawa using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Ottawa ?


  • Generally not much point here – if you are doing a longer road trip, you are more likely to fly into Toronto or Montreal to begin with.

Why not? Visiting Ottawa without a car

Why don't you need a car in Ottawa ?


Ratings: How does Ottawa compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Ottawa? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Ottawa, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Ottawa? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Ottawa (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Ottawa? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Ottawa airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Ottawa car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

Conclusion – Ottawa’s system of segregated bus routes hasn’t been a model that has been widely copied elsewhere, because essentially they require the same type of construction of concrete flyovers and expensive cuttings and tunnels that would be needed to build motorways, except that having a network of bus routes means that a bit less space is needed to move the same number of people.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Ottawa ?

Categories
Canada

Quebec City

North America > Canada > Québec City

See: Why hire a car in Québec City ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Most major Canadian cities are easy enough to get around using local public transport services, and whereas Montréal and Toronto have subways, Vancouver has the Skyrail and Ottawa has an extensive bus system, Québec City just has the sort of bus network that is good enough to get around, but really very little more than that.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Québec City car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Québec City is in car rental price band: 5/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Québec City? 

Sometimes. Economy rental prices are average by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Québec City between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

But we don’t think there’s much point in coming to Québec City and just hanging around the urban area – when there is so much more to see outside it.

As with Montréal, public transport heading deep into the backcountry outside Québec City is relatively poor, with services thinning out even more the further away from the city you go.

There might only be a relatively small number of driving loops that you can do from Québec City in the first place, but it still is so much easier to do this in your own rental car.

Ratings: How does Québec City compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Québec City? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Québec City, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Québec City? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Québec City (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Québec City? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Québec City airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Québec City car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Québec City? Yes!

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Québec City ?

Categories
Canada

Toronto

North America > Canada > Toronto

See: Why hire a car in Toronto ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Toronto car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Toronto is in car rental price band: 6/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Toronto ? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly more expensive than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Toronto between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 7

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

By North American standards, public transport in Toronto is quite good, as there is a network of suburban trains, metro and bus services. However, unless you are simply planning on doing in eastern Canada city break and perhaps also visiting Montréal, Ottawa and Quebec, then you almost certainly want to get out into the great outdoors.

There are more long-haul flights to Toronto then there are to any other city in Canada, so many people Toronto is the gateway to exploring the country by land. It goes without saying that considering the vastness of Canada and the fact that it is extremely sparsely populated outside the major cities, a hire car is an extremely good move.

For those who prefer getting around by train, then it doesn’t get more scenic than the Toronto to Vancouver rail trip, although all the good bits are significantly further west. Trains between Toronto and Quebec city, which also run through Ottawa and Montréal, are reasonably fast and frequent, although they are still some way off European high-speed rail standards.

Why? Visiting Toronto using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Toronto ?


  • Despite a reasonable public transport network, Toronto is still a car city.
  • Toronto is a natural starting point for a Canadian road trip (although if you are short of time, it would be better to start further west, for example in Edmonton or Calgary).
  • Toronto’s subway system isn’t that good – it’s aimed more at commuters than tourists.

Why not? Visiting Toronto without a car

Why don't you need a car in Toronto ?


  • Various bus (easy) or train (less frequent) options are available for getting to Niagara Falls.
  • The city centre is compact, and connected by the PATH system of walkways.
  • Attractions like the CN Tower are central, and easily reached using transit.

Ratings: How does Toronto compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Toronto ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Toronto , and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Toronto ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Toronto (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Toronto ? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Toronto airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Toronto car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 7

2021 - 7

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Toronto? Conclusion — picking up a hire car in Toronto is the best option, unless you either just want to stick to the cities or want to explore the Canadian interior by train.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Toronto ?

Categories
Canada

Vancouver

North America > Canada > Vancouver

See: Why hire a car in Vancouver ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Vancouver is the sort of destination where it would be quite natural to assume that getting a rental car will be the most obvious option, and if that’s already your plan, then we would suggest a few key points.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Vancouver car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Vancouver is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Vancouver? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Vancouver between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Vancouver using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Vancouver ?


Reasons why you may feel you need to rent a car in Vancouver

  • Essentially for all the obvious reasons, namely to get out into the great western Canadian outdoors!
  • If you are comparing driving with options to go by train or bus, then you will always have much more opportunity to stop and get out with a car than you will with a bus or train.
  • Long distance Canadian rail services tend to operate only 3-4 times per week. Enjoy them as a way to get somewhere, and enjoy the view when you are moving, but they are little use for exploring anywhere near the route, other than around the place where you finally dismbark.

Why not? Visiting Vancouver without a car

Why don't you need a car in Vancouver ?


There are also plenty of reasons why you can visit Vancouver, and much of the state of British Columbia, without renting a car:

  • Don’t underestimate the city of Vancouver – not only is Vancouver frequently rated as being one of the world’s most liveable cities, it also easy enough to get around using a network of bus and urban rail services.
  • The main urban rail system is the Vancouver SkyTrain – the most extensive metro system in Canada, and also the world’s largest automated train network. Needless to say, it’s a pretty good way of getting around the city, with most of the original Expo line being elevated. Since you can also look out of the front of the newer trains, the SkyTrain can be an excellent introduction to the city.
  • Take the Skytrain to King George to get a panoramic view of the modern vertical metropolis of Vancouver, taking in sweeping views across the Fraser River as you cross the hugely impressive cable-stayed Skybridge.
  • Downtown Vancouver has a striking harbour front where many of the city’s best hotels are located, and Vancouver is also a city with many other great neighbourhoods.
  • Vancouver is also reasonably easy (especially by North American standards) to get around on two wheels, with a bicycle network that is slowly expanding, supplemented by a wide range of fantastic greenways and trails.
  • The chances are that you will want to stay longer in the city of Vancouver then you might originally anticipate, and that you won’t really need a car to get around.
  • Having a car might also mean racking up expensive car parking fees, so it’s always worth checking that with your hotel first!
  • There are plenty of resort transfers available to skiing areas around Vancouver, including to the world-famous Whistler. From here, if you aren’t planning on coming to ski in the first place, then you can still take cable cars to the top of many ski slopes and then either go hiking or go downhill on a mountain bike.
  • There are numerous different options for taking to the waters both in and around Vancouver, and even if many of these ferry services also take cars, you can still get around at the other end using local bus services.
  • Finally, and certainly by no means least, Vancouver is a starting point for one of the world’s most amazing train journeys, starting by heading into the Rocky Mountains near Whistler, and then continuing through the clear reflecting lakes of Jasper National Park to Edmonton and beyond.

Ratings: How does Vancouver compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Vancouver, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Vancouver (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Vancouver airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Vancouver car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

So if we’ve given you a few alternative suggestions and warned you that the costs aren’t always cheap, Do you still need to rent a car in Vancouver? In summary, deciding on Vancouver car hire is not as obvious as it might initially look, and although you should have no major problems getting a car here and driving around, it’s a decision to make on whether or not you fell it’s worth it value wise, rather than whether or not there’s a definite need.

Of course, if you can fill the car with people anyway, it’s going to be a much better proposition. Travelling around the more remote parts of British Columbia without a car means you are confined to relatively narrow schedules. The Rocky Mountain railway trips might be a really good way to see the landscape from an incredibly relaxing and close-up view point, but with a car you can at least make a few stops as you choose.

If you are already of the mindset that you think a rental car is still going to be useful in Vancouver, then I doubt there’s a huge amount that would change that. It’s not that Vancouver is a “marginal” destination in terms of what “most” people might do, we’re simply saying that if you are asking in the first place about whether or not you need a car here, then there are enough reasons to do without one here, despite the

Ratings: How does Vancouver compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Vancouver, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Vancouver (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Vancouver? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Vancouver airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Vancouver car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

remoteness of many of the locations.

Do you need a car in Vancouver? Verdict – no