If you’re keen on traveling, whether it be family road trips or backpacking around the world, chances are you have rented a car at some point to help you get around. Even if you prefer to avoid taking this approach, it’s always good to know what’s available in case you ever need it, but this is easier said than done, as different regions may have vastly different requirements.
In this article, we are going to briefly focus on car and accommodation rentals in Canada to help get you started, but why Canada? Canada has always been a significant tourist destination, but in recent years tourism has been booming. New York Times recently issued their 52 Places to Go in 2017, awarding Canada the #1 spot. Their summarized justification is that Canada has it all. From metropolitan cities, quaint little towns, untouched epic wilderness, and everything in between, there is something for everyone. However, if we were to focus on one of these characteristics, we would argue that it’s best to take advantage of their great outdoors, assuming that’s up your alley.
Renting a Car in Canada
Renting a car in Canada is basically the same as renting a car in the United States. There may be less options available if your starting point is in a very rural location, but otherwise, its not any different than from here. That said, there are a few things you should keep in ming.
- You’re likely already familiar with the favorable currency exchange between USD and CAD. However, when it comes to the price of gas, it is generally more expensive in Canada than in the US (before accounting for the exchange rate). On that point, if you look up the prices ahead of time, remember that their units are per litre, which is roughly 1/4 of a gallon.
- If you are unsure of what you need to navigate the terrain, be conservative, especially if you’re heading out to explore the outdoors! For example, in Western Canada, the mountainous terrain can lead to dramatic changes in weather patterns. You may be smooth sailing along the Trans-Canada Highway, and then all of a sudden you’re smacked with rain and freezing rain in the middle of the mountains. This area often requires snow tires by law in the winter months as well. As for Eastern Canada, the weather can be a little more predictable, but still potentially harsh in the winter months.
- Always remember the speed limit is in km/hr, not mi/hr! The speedometer in the rental car will account for this by having the larger numbers in km/hr.
Outdoor Accommodations in Canada
Canadians know they have a lot to offer in terms of their geography, and as such, they have become quite proficient in providing great accommodations in off-the-grid locations. However, given these locations can often be quite some distance from major urban centres, it may be best to look for lodging closer to the destination so you don’t have too much traveling, and you can maximize convenience. Many lodges and cabin communities will offer packages that include rental cars as well as guided tours of the local area, so this can be a great way to optimize your trip. Here are a couple ideas to get you thinking:
British Columbia (BC) Fishing Lodges
BC is arguably one of the most stunning geographical locations in the world, and much of it is completely untouched. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, and there is definitely no shortage of activities. One of the most popular outdoor activities is fishing, and accommodations are everywhere. For example, Nootka Island Fishing Lodge sits in the beautiful Nootka Sounds of BC and is extremely well known more quality salmon fishing, as well as many other forms of fishing. This is a great way to relax and cast a line while enjoying the scenery. Furthermore, BC has a very rich indigenous history, and while their is controversy surrounding this history, learning about it is certainly an educational experience.
if you don’t know much about fishing, no worries, the lodge can help get you set up. if you prefer to bring your own equipment, that is certainly possible, just plan ahead for what you want to fish for and when you’re going. You can give them a shout to learn more about what is best to prepare for. If you are unsure and want to plan for any scenario, try bringing the most versatile fishing rod you have, or if you don’t own one, there are lots of affordable rods available in stores and online.
The Maritimes includes the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (more commonly known as PEI). These are smaller provinces grouped together that each boast their own fascinating and unique qualities. Red sand beaches of PEI are beautiful, New Brunswick has the spectacular Bay of Funday, Nova Scotia is home to historical Halifax and scenic beaches and lighthouses, and Newfoundland provides one of the most unique settings in Canada, including the infamous Iceberg Alley.
If you are interested in the Maritimes, we definitely recommend renting a vehicle, as this is by far the most efficient way of commuting around all the different provinces, and you get to stop in some of the most local and authentic towns for fresh seafood, including the delicious Atlantic lobster, which is in abundance anywhere you go. Gorgeous wilderness is never too far from the city, so it is entirely possible to stay in the city and have a night out, and the next day explore some of the untouched wilderness.
If possible, we would recommend visiting in the Summer or Fall. If you’re going in the Fall, the Cabot Trail of Cape Breton Island (Nova Scotia) offers some of the most dazzling colors in the world.
Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and the Northern Territories
No matter where you go in Canada, you will always find something interesting and unique. The regions listed above are particular favorites, but are a little more time consuming to travel between, especially if you’re utilizing a car rental.
In any case, these are just a couple thoughts to help you brainstorm your trip to Canada. Keep in mind that the advantages and disadvantages of renting a car in Canada vary by region, but it’s usually a suitable option if you’re hoping to go that route. Safe travels!