Road trip East to West Canada
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2012 5:10 AM Last Post By: FirstCircle
Mar 11, 2012 12:11 PM
Road trip East to West CanadaHi,
I am currently on exchange at Queen's University, Kingston, ON. I finish our semester here by the end of April. Together with three friends we are planning to do a road trip to the west of Canada from the 27th of April until the 5th of June. We are planning to first go to the USA; Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis and then up to Lake Superior and drive further towards Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Vancouver and Vancouver Island (Vancouver Island for a week approximately). The problem is that only two of us have a driver license and one of the two is 19 years old. Therefore, only one of us could drive a rented car (as far as we know you have to be 21) so we were thinking of buying a cheap second hand one. Do you think this is a good idea (we know we would have to buy insurance) or would you advice us to fly out to Calgary and take the bus there? Also, I know that sometimes people drove up to the east of Canada with their camper for example and are looking for people to drive their camper/car back. Does anyone know a site for this, and whether or not that would work out?
Any tips (also about what to visit) would be very much appreciated.
Our budget for the whole trip is approximately CAD$2000 per person. We are four girls in the age range of 19-21. We would start from Toronto and drive, as described above, towards Vancouver/Vancouver Island. We enjoy both cities and nature. We are definitely in for some adventure and beautiful hiking trails. We are flying back home from Vancouver, hence no need for a flight back. We are planning to stay in hostels for they are approximately $25-30 per night. Maybe we want to do couch surfing, but we do not know if it is safe enough for 4 girls.
Sorry for all the questions, any advice would be amazing!
Mar 11, 2012 12:39 PM
Enterprise rent-a-car rents cars to people who are 18 years old and up. You just have to pay a little bit more for insurance and you can only rent certain vehicles (no vans or SUVs) if you are under 25. You would also have to pay a drop off fee to drop off the car in another location. Not sure about your other questions, but enjoy your trip!
Mar 11, 2012 1:14 PM
2Buying a cheap car isn't a bad option, if you are okay with the possibility of breaking down, and the possible cost and/or inconvenience of that. If that kinda thing would ruin your trip, maybe better to rent a car or fly.
If you are renting a car, make sure you can get it with unlimited Km - or else it'll be way too expensive. Flying might actually be cheaper (then either the bus, or rent a car in Calgary), but you'd miss out on anything you want to see in between.
If you are taking a car, and you like hiking and nature, i'd highly recommend camping on the national parks around the BC/Alberta boarder. Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke parks all have excellent hiking trails. There is either camping in the parks, or near them.
You'd also save money camping - its cheaper to stay (although not as much as you might think!), and there aren't so many places to spend your money!
Mar 11, 2012 2:17 PM
3As the above said...if ur under 25...u pay more.
April-June, most places will be quiet (other then May long). Deals can be found. Lots of hostels through the rockies. Id recommend Banff and Revy hostels for spots to crash.
Mar 11, 2012 3:00 PM
Mar 11, 2012 6:54 PM
5If you have time to shop for an older reliable car, that would be the most economical, though selling it on the west coast might be hard and you can't just abandon it. You could donate it to the Kidney Foundation! Buy CAA membership with unlimited towing
Car rental will be astronomical. I doubt driveaway services allow you to detour around. So other option will be fly to Calgary, rent car for few days in different locations as needed, or take greyhound/Moose network.
Mar 12, 2012 3:28 AM
6buyin a use vehisle is a crap shoot at best of times. idea sound however you must do your homework regarding what to look for in a used veicle purchase. what i feel would suit you is the chrysler minivan with the 3.3 motor.. have YOUr own s mechanic check it out re its. tires brakes and front end and transmission. they are for most part rellaible . and for 3 of you roomier since you will have luugage to contend with. and lowest insurance rate.
Mar 12, 2012 10:28 AM
7No such thing as a cheap reliable car in Ontario & you wouldn't be able to sell the overpriced rust bucket on the left coast anyway
Mar 12, 2012 12:41 PM
Mar 15, 2012 8:25 AM
Mar 16, 2012 6:55 PM
10Knowing how much a rental car would cost for such a journey, you would have a decent budget to buy a car. I do appreciate the sentiment here that buying a car entails more risk, but it also means more reward. And really all you really have to do is make sure the car makes it there and if it breaks down within say 500 km of Vancouver you would still be well ahead that way. Really the thing about Canada and the United States is the wide open areas and if you go by bus you will see them only from a window instead of up close. With the route you have in mind for instance you could go from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower and up through the parks in Wyoming to Alberta. A car would also make camping a much more viable option including some stealth camping which is free if you can find a good spot (and there are websites devoted to finding the good stealth camping spots)
As for couchsurfing, I can't say enough good about it. Of course nothing in the world is 100% safe, but if you choose your hosts well then it is far safer than being in a hotel or hostel.
Mar 17, 2012 5:10 AM
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