8 Important Things To Know Before Renting a Car in Canada (2023)

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Deciding to visit Canada on a road trip and renting a car there can be one of the best ideas you will ever have and it will transform your vacation into a real adventure!

Why is it a great choice to rent a car in Canada? I personally enjoyed it because of the flexibility and freedom it gave me to organize my route, to stop along the way whenever I wanted to, and to take my time to admire the gorgeous landscapes at my own pace. Plus, there are many car rental options out there for all budgets!

I took a16-day road trip around the Quebec and Ontario provinces, but the tips given here will be applicable for renting a car anywhere in the whole country.

Read all the information carefully – some of these car rental tips are specific to Canada and some of the advice you might know already if this is not your first time renting a car (in this case it will be a good reminder!).

Below are the 8 most important things you should know before renting a car in Canada:


  • 1. Car rental prices in Canada
  • 2. Things to consider when choosing your rental car
  • 3. Watch out for any possible additional fees!
  • 4. Which car type to choose in Canada
  • 5. Things to check when picking up your rental car
  • 6. Driving rules in cities and on highways
  • 7. While on the road – paid tolls, gas stations, toilets, and road police
  • 8. Car insurance in Canada
  • The best time for a road trip in Canada
  • BONUS: Other important tips on renting a car in Canada

1. Car rental prices in Canada

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Let’s start with the most important part, shall we?

As you may know, prices vary from company to company. One possible way of finding a deal is to compare rates individually for your specific dates on Budget,Avis, Dollar, Enterprise,Hertz,Thrifty, National, Alamo, Discount, Advantage Car and numerous others car rental sites. Another option is to use a price comparison aggregator – for example,RentalCarsorAutoEuropeto find the best car for my trip!

What is cool about the 2 sites above is that they compare all the rates for the international and local companies that are available in the country for your dates so you don’t need to spend your time manually comparing the options. Everything can be done in one click! There are also many filters, so you can sort out the results by your preferences – car type, location, prices, and more.

RentalCars is basically a SkyScanner in the world of car rentals!

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So, what are the average prices you should expect to pay when renting a car in Canada?

Remember that the price will highly depend on the type of car you choose and the season you are visiting in.

Here are the average prices per day in CAD. I am listing 2 prices – off-season and during the high season, but note that the price might vary significantly depending on how much in advance you are booking your car:

  • Economy car: High season – 48 CAD, Low season – 44 CAD
  • Mini car: High season – 48 CAD, Low season – 44 CAD
  • 4×4: High season – 81 CAD, Low season – 87 CAD
  • RV: High season – 138 CAD, Low season – 106 CAD

All in all, as I said, it is always best to book as far in advance as possible! I have not heard about any cases of car rentals in Canada being discounted closer to the date of rental. You definitely should not expect the price to drop if you are traveling in the high season – that is anywhere between May and September. The demand during these months is so high, the suppliers are not going to lower the prices, that’s for sure!

My experience and how much I paid

Car price

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I checked both Rentalcars and AutoEurope and basically chose by the lowest rate from those 2. We were looking to hire a cat fromMelbourne, to return to the same city, from the 12th of September (9 AM) to the 24th of September (5 PM), so that makes it 13 days. The best combination of price and model we found was a VW Jetta or similar from Budget Car Rental. I really did not have any specific preferences and because that was the best price-model correlation, we went for it!

As we booked quite late (only a couple of weeks before the trip), our total price for an economy car was US $333 (442 CAD).

Now I see that if we had booked the car 6 months in advance, the price would have been US $184 (244 CAD), which is almost half the price! So learn from my mistakes and book in advance if possible!

When we arrived at the Budget office, we were given a Nissan Qashqai instead of a VW Jetta, which was even better than we expected! The car was perfect for the 2 of us – very spacious and new, we could not have been happier with it!

Car Insurance price

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ATTENTION:I paid the price requested by the rental office, but you can lower this price by about 3 times. How? Read point #8 below. (I did not know this trick when I rented the car myself; I only figured it out when I started doing more research in order to write this post for you guys!).

We bought insurance for 30 CAD a day plus taxes, which ended up to be 444 CAD for 13 days. See how it ended up to be more expensive that the car itself? Read on to learn how to not overpay for insurance (but still be insured of course!).

Gas prices in Canada

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Remember that a considerable part of your vacation budget will go to gasoline.

PRO TIP:Gas prices are generally higher in Canada than in the USA, but a bit cheaper than in Europe.

The gas price In Canada depends on the province (Alberta has the lowest prices for gasoline), but this should give you a general idea:

1 liter of gas (1/4 gallon) is currently 1.32 CAD. Please check the updated pricehere.

My friend and I covered over 2,400 km and spent a bit less than 300 CAD on gas during our2-week road trip around Ontario and Quebec.

NOTE:When renting a car, do not forget to return it with a full tank of gas! If you don’t, you will have to pay the rental company for the gasoline you owe and the prices at the rental office are muuuuch higher than at a gas station, trust me.

Related article:

Where to Stay in Banff, Canada – 4 Best Towns

2. Things to consider when choosing your rental car

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Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself before making a decision about thecar typeyou want and its specifications:


  • Is your luggage going to fit? Think about how spacious the car is, how many people will be traveling in it, and will all of you fit comfortably? Are you going to travel with kids? Do you need a special kid’s seat? Are you going to bring your own child seat (you can do this and there is usually no extra charge from airlines for the seat)?
  • Does it have a GPS included? Our built-in GPS helped us a lot because sometimes there was no Internet connection on the road. You can also bring your own GPS from home if you want to.
  • Are you going to travel to the USA as well? If yes, is cross-border travel allowed by your car rental company? (more on it below in the Bonus section)
  • Can you connect your phone to the music system of the car? The road is long, and even if radios were really good in Canada, you will still want to listen to something different at some point and with no ads. P.S. Some of the newer cars only have a USB-C slot and most phones, at least for the moment need a normal USB slot to connect, so maybe buy an adapter just in case before you go. It is tiny and it will be useful in many of your future trips, I promise!
  • Does the car have cruise control? Most of the cars are equipped with it by now, but it never hurts to double-check – we found it to be extremely useful when driving on Canadian highways!
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As for the car models available to rent in Canada, you can pretty much choose anything you want. There is something for all budgets – from small economy cars to large luxurious models or electric ones. Most of the cars I have seen offered as rentals were new or almost new.

If you’d like more recommendations on which car to choose, check out Section 4 below in this post.

NOTE:Most cars in Canada have an automatic transmission and use unleaded gas or diesel.

Related article:

Awesome Things To Do in Niagara Falls

3. Watch out for any possible additional fees!

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ATTENTION:You have to be at least 21 years old AND have at least 12 months of driving experience in order to rent a car as a tourist in Canada! You might be charged an additional “Young Renter Fee” if you are between 21 and 24 years old. Also, do not forget to make sure your driving license is not expiring in the following 6 months after your trip.

Here are some fees you might want to watch out for:

  • Are there any additional driver fees? How many people are going to be driving? Keep this to a minimum if possible because most companies charge more for each extra driver.
  • Any one-way drop-off fees? Some car hire companies allow one-way car rentals with no additional charge, but you should double-check if they charge extra beforehand.
  • Are there any hidden service taxes that you haven’t noticed? (GST)
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  • Is the mileage unlimited or is there a per km charge (while they usually offer unlimited mileage in North America, it never hurts to double-check!)
  • Is there a 21 to 25 years old fee? (Only applies to you if you are from 21 to 25 years old obviously). As I said earlier, this is a common practice in Canada, even if you have a spotless driving history!
  • Is there a premium location fee (in airports, for example)?

Most of the time airport rentals are more expensive as they need to pay airport fees for running their business there. If you are renting your car fromRentalCars, you can actually see the location of each available car rental company (press “Show Location” on the results page). We chose ours to be in the city center, right inside the Montreal railway station. This way we could discover the city on foot for the first couple of days and then grab the car and goooo!

Related article:

15 Unmissable Things to Do in Montreal

4. Which car type to choose in Canada

As I said earlier, Canada has everything to offer for a car rental, so your choice will only be limited by your budget and will depend on the trip preferences that you have.

Let’s choose based on the type of trip you are planning:

1) A comfortable trip between cities and National Parks

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RECOMMENDED CAR TYPE:A simple economy car would be your perfect solution.

In fact, it is the most common option for road trips in Canada. A normal economy car like a VW Jetta or Nissan Qashqai would fit you perfectly if you need it to get from one city to another and go to National Parks. The road quality is outstanding in Canada, you won’t need more than that.

PRICE:about 45-50 CAD per day

2) Off-road Canadian adventure

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In most cases, you won’t need this kind of car at all, as the road conditions are perfect in almost any tourist location you might want to go to (including the Rockies, Banff,Whistlerand other national parks). If you are planning to drive the Northern Gravel Highway or many backcountry unpaved roads, I would recommend renting a 4WD.

NOTE:Double check that the T&C for your car hire company in Canada actually allows you to go off-road.

PRICE:about 85 CAD per day

3) A whole family/a group of friends campervan journey

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RECOMMENDED CAR TYPE:an RV (also known as a motorhome, caravan or campervan)

Canada is an ideal country for camper and RV (Recreational Vehicle) travel! With an RV you will be able to go anywhere and stay anywhere and you won’t need to pay for accommodation. A great option for adventurous travelers! If you are looking for a big selection of campervans with good rates, check outthis price comparison website.

NOTE:Don’t forget to check if the RV includes a kitchen too!

PRICE:about 110-130 CAD per day

4) A quick trip to any Canadian city

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If you do not have much time to wander around and you are just searching for the most inexpensive car that will take you from point A to point B inside a city, then the cheapest, tiniest car will suffice. Remember – if you need some space for your luggage, this might not be the best option.

PRICE:about 45-50 CAD per day

So, the general suggestion would be to get a car that would satisfy your budget and comfort needs and would fit all the passengers with no problems. Try to choose a car that does not consume a lot of gas, as this will be a considerable extra cost for you. In most cases, a 4×4 is an unnecessary upsell, unless it is your personal preference to feel more comfortable.

Related article:

Where to stay in Montreal – 20 Best Hotels and Airbnbs (for All Budgets!)


5. Things to check when picking up your rental car

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Here are the documents you should have with you to present to the car hire agent:

  • Yourself– you must be at least 21 years old as I mentioned earlier
  • Yourdriving license. Make sure it is a)valid for the following 6 months after your trip b)in English or French. If your driving license is in another language, you will need to get an International Driver’s Permit in your country beforehand.
  • You will need acredit cardto present at the car hire office so they can freeze a certain amount of funds on your card – renting a car without a credit card in Canada isimpossible. The name on the credit card and the driver’s name should be the same. If you pay at the end of the rental period, you can pay with any other card or even cash, but it is important that they deposit the money from the driver’s credit card.
  • A child seat in case you are traveling with kids that are under 18 kg (40 lbs). Usually, your rental company can provide it for an additional charge, but if you refuse it, then you are obliged to have your own child seat with you.

And here are important things to check when you take the car:

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  • If there are any scratches – document them, take a picture of them and let the car hire assistant know about them. There is usually a special paper where they should mark all the scratches on the car.
  • The insurance. All car rental companies supposedly have some insurance for free, but you need to make sure you have the papers with you in case there is an accident.
  • Check that the gas tank is full
  • You will need the keys and the documents to drive the car 🙂

NOTE:Try to get a written confirmation after you return the car where it states that the car has been checked and they confirm there was no damage made. I know that some car rental companies can charge you afterward for some small damages that they did not see before (and that could not have been done by you).

Related article:

Where to Stay in Toronto – 7 Best Areas (+Hotels and Prices!)

6. Driving rules in cities and on highways

Here are a couple of things I noted for myself when were rented a car in Canada, I thought it might be useful for you too:

General driving rules for everywhere in Canada

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Turning right in Canada

Unless a sign tells you not to, you may take a right turn facing a red light as long as you first come to a complete stop and wait until the way is clear. NOTE: This rule does not apply in Montreal, so you cannot turn right on a red light in that city.

The road signs are pretty similar to the ones that are found all over the world, but beware that the ones in the Quebec region might be in French. (“Arret” is “Stop”, for example).

Here are some general rules that are quite common everywhere in the world, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat them one more time:

  • Everyone in the car must have a seat belt on.
  • The use of mobile phones is forbidden for the driver unless he/she has a hands-free device.
  • Any child between 22 – 40 lbs (10-18 kg) should be secured in a forward-facing child seat.

NOTE:While you can find some gas stations working 24/7 on big highways, the majority of petrol stations are open from 8 AM to 10 PM.

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  • The speed is measured in km/h and you drive on the right side.
  • Here are the general speed limits (which can vary insignificantly) – in most cities the limit is 50 km/h, 80 km/h for 2-lane highways, and 90-100 km/h for major highways.
  • Don’t go off-road – most insurance companies will not cover the damage if you drive on a non-asphalt road. That is a violation of the rental agreement, so they will have the full right to refuse to cover any damage you cause.
  • If there are 2 or more people in the car, you can use a special HOV lane (High Occupancy Vehicles). It was recently introduced in some provinces on some of the highways and it may be marked with diamonds. It is a great time saver as this lane is usually less crowded!
  • If you can, try to bring your rented car back during office working hours as opposed to just dropping it off in a designated place. This way an agent can inspect the car in your presence and confirm there are no damages before you leave.
  • If you can’t bring it back during the rental office’s open hours, I recommend taking photos of the car’s condition again (so one time before you take it and one time when you return it) to prove that you did not damage the vehicle to avoid any problems.
  • If you do damage your car, get an independent quote before you return it. This way you will have a fair idea of what the repair bill might be. You have the right to request proof of where the car was repaired and how much the repairs cost.

Driving and parking in Canadian cities

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As I mentioned earlier, I recommend saving some cash and renting a car only after you explore a city by foot. Why? Because in cities likeToronto, the traffic is crazy and parking is a nightmare, especially for a person not familiar with how it is organized.

If you, like me, have a road trip to do, I suggest renting a car after you are done with the first city and using it as a mode of transportation between cities and other points of interests. When you are IN the city, I recommend leaving the car at a parking lot and enjoying the attractions by foot.

Having said that, you will still drive in Canadian cities at least a little bit. Are there any precautions you should take?

  • First of all, pay attention to bicyclists on the street, there are quite a lot in Toronto and especially in Montreal.
  • While I don’t know if there are any speed cameras on highways, there are some in the cities. The speed limit inside the cities is 60-70 km/h (37-44 mph).
  • As I noticed, drivers are quite accurate and calm in Canada. They don’t try to cut you off and are generally very polite.
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Parkingcan be a little bit confusing at first – read all the signs, it usually says when you can park. When you find a vacant spot, make sure to find the closest parking meter where you will need to type in your license plate and the parking spot number (there will usually be a little pole with the number on it) and pay for the number of hours your car will stay there (cards are usually accepted, too).

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I don’t think I saw any free parking anywhere unless it was in front of a shopping mall. I also advise you to NOT try your luck with not paying, thinking you will leave your car for a very short time. They actually patrol the streets every hour or so and you might get a fine. I remember we went to a supermarket in the city center (it was a tiny street so there were no free parking spots in front of it) and we could not figure out where the parking meter was, so we decided it would be OK to leave the car for literally 5 minutes there. Of course, when we came back there was a policeman checking our car and he was about to give us a fine when we showed up. He was very nice and he understood we were obviously tourists who just couldn’t figure out the system yet, so he forgave us for the first time. And we made sure we knew how to pay for parking from that moment on. 🙂

If you need more details about parking in the cities of Canada, make sure to ask me in the comments and I will reply!

PRO TIP:Try to park under a green “P” sign – this indicates municipal parking and it is usually the best option, price-wise (see the pic above).

If you are completely lost with parking, check out Parkopedia.ca – it gives you the exact conditions and prices sorted by the closest location to you.

PRO TIP 2:Check if your hotel accommodation has parking included because paying 15 CAD per day on top of the price of the car rental is a significant extra cost.

Related article:

Where to Stay During Your Quebec and Ontario Road Trip

Driving on highways in Canada

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Most highways have a 90-100 km/h speed limit and a local told me that if you exceed it by 10-15 km it is fine, but over that, you will surely get a fine.

When driving on highways in Canada, don’t forget to use your cruise control – it is going to be very useful as the roads are straight and of good quality. A built-in navigator will be very useful as well. If you know that you are going to use your phone a lot for GPS or for Instagram stories, for example, make sure you have a USB charger in the car, as it will be very useful when driving long distances.

One more important thing about the highways – please beware of animals; I saw many small dead animals on the road!

Remember – where there is one animal that you can see, there are probably more that you can’t.

You can expect to see big animals such as bears and moose in Nova Scotia,British Columbia, and Alberta. Pay attention to the road signs, they usually indicate where you might be more likely to encounter an animal on the road.

(Video) TIPS FOR NEW DRIVERS (Beginner Drivers)

As for me, I only saw a couple of really pretty birds and some rabbits on the road while traveling in Ontario and Quebec.

7. While on the road – paid tolls, gas stations, toilets, and road police

Drinking and driving law in Canada

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Drinking alcohol, even a little bit, is not allowed in Canada and it can result in the suspension of your driving license, arrest or even a denied entry to the country in the future.

An interesting fact shared with me by an Uber driver – technically, the road police is not allowed to stop you if you did not do anything wrong (because you could sue them later for your wasted time). But they will certainly stop you if they notice any strange behavior in your driving style. So, why not take a taxi if you decide to go out and drink? I think this will be the safest option for everyone and it does not matter what country you are in, to be honest.

Road police

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Even if it is very rare to be stopped by the road police in Canada (I only saw one road officer during my 2-week road trip), it is always better to double-check that you have all your documents beforehand.

An international driving license is not required in Canada if your driving license is in English or in French, otherwise, you will need to apply for an International driving license when you are in your home country.

We only saw the road police once during our 2 week trip but that, of course, does not mean we did not follow the rules.

Gas stations in Canada

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As a general rule, the prices for gasoline in big cities are lower than in small towns.

Also, be aware that some stations in small towns might close at 6 PM. The gas stations are found pretty regularly between cities or National Parks on the road, but I would recommend fueling up in advance if you know you will be going to remote areas.

Here is how to use the self-service gas stations in Canada (it might be a little harder in Quebec where all the info is in French):

In Quebec: Choose the amount in Canadian dollars -> then insert the pump in the car -> choose the type of gasoline (bronze, silver, or golden) -> wait until the fueling up is finished -> go to the cash register to pay.

In Ontario and probably all other provinces in Canada: insert the pump -> choose the type of gas -> choose the amount of money you want to pay (not the number of liters) -> insert your card and pay. You can also ask for assistance if someone is around.

Most of the time there will be someone to help you out in any way.

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In Ontario and probably all other provinces in Canada: insert the pump -> choose the type of gas -> choose the amount of money you want to pay (not the number of liters) -> insert your card and pay. You can also ask for assistance if someone is around.

Most of the time there will be someone to help you out in any way.

Toilet stops in Canada

There are on-route stations that you can use and they are located around every 100 km on the highway. You will be able to use a toilet, eat and get some gas there. To find an ON-route station near you, please visitonroute.ca

Paid tolls in Canada

There are just a few toll highways in Canada and I personally did not have a chance to use them. Some of them are pay-on-the-spot, some use the electronic UE payment, some are on the road from the USA to Canada (scroll down for the Bonus section if that’s your case)

There is a 407 Electronic Toll Road in Ontario (it was on our way, but we just took a 401 instead). Beware that there are no payment kiosks on 407 – an automatic system will scan the license plate of your car and send the bill to your car rental company later, which means that your credit card will be charged afterward as well.

8. Car insurance in Canada

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Basic insurance called Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is almost always included in your car rental contract.

What is a CDW? If an accident happens, the CDW will only cover a small part of the damage and you will need to pay the bigger part of it yourself.

That is why I always purchase extra coverage and I sleep better thanks to it! 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, in my case the price was 30 CAD per day + taxes, which ended up to be 444 CAD for 13 days.

Check if your personal vehicle insurance covers rentals. Some do and that would save you over 400 CAD in 2 weeks. You can also check if your credit card covers overseas car insurance (you can call the bank directly if you are not sure).

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I made a huuuge research through the years about independent third-insurance providers (I think it is called excess insurance). Please feel free to add some more in the comments if you know some good ones!). Usually, the insurance companies are country-specific, so if you are, say, from Italy, you probably won’t be able to use third-party insurance aimed for the UK residence and so on.

Here are the companies for the countries where most of my readers are coming from:

USABonzahis a third-party insurance provider that has MUCH better rates than the car hire company directly – about US $8 a day on average instead of 30 CAD that we paid per day. NOTE: Make sure to buy it BEFORE you start driving, otherwise it will not work.

UKInsurance4CarHire– clean interface and pricing, you can add up to 6 additional drivers free of charge too!MoneyMaxim– even though it did not offer a big variety of pick-up locations, it compares all third-party insurances for your given dates with different options.

WorldwideWorldWideInsure(seems to have almost all counties in the list?) I bought this insurance myself a couple of times and it is generally about 3-4 times cheaper than what car companies try to upsell to you at the front desk. I did not have cases when I needed to claim it (thanks god!), so I can’t say how they behave in the case of emergency, but the reviews seem good, so I will keep using it. P.S. In order to get a quote, you don’t actually need to give them all your details like they ask, just don’t fill that info and click “Get a quote”.

I hope this information is useful to you, as my fast calculation shows that we would’ve been able to save at least US $200-$250 if we used this instead of the rip-off rates offered by the rental office.

Related article:

Stay in the Best Places and Top Hotels in Niagara Falls → From Luxury to Budget

🚗 Economy car:$35 per day
🚜 4×4 price:$65 per day
🚐 Campervan price:$90 per day
🔞 Minimum age to rent:21
⛽ Avg. cost of fuel:~ $1.3 per liter
🛣️ Roadside:Right-hand traffic
🛑 National speed limit:110 km/h

The best time for a road trip in Canada

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The best time to visit Canada is anywhere fromJuly to mid-September. This period is great because all the activities are open this time of the year and the weather is warm. But this is also the highest season, so prices are the highest too.

If you are not keen on going during the high season, then the last 2 weeks of May and the entire month of September will be nice too, although you might be unlucky with the weather. I traveled at the end of September and, though the weather was generally nice to us, we had a couple of days when it was absolutely freezing.

(Video) Brave woman fights off male attacker while alone at gym | USA TODAY #Shorts

NOTE:If you want to travel by RV, I don’t think you should do it any time between November and April, as it will be too cold.

Below are a couple of driving tips that are winter-specific:

Driving in Canada in the winter

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  • The weather conditions might be brutal (heavy snow, ice roads, etc), so do not underestimate this.
  • ATTENTION:If you are driving in Canada during the winter period, please make sure to request winter tires just because it is winter, that does not mean the car will come with them. They usually provide cars with summer tires by default (don’t ask me why).
  • Check the weather forecast before going to your next destination to make sure this is a decision based on the driving experience.
  • I do not want to scare you or anything, but it would be smart to charge your phone before going on the road and make sure you have warm clothes, a blanket, and some food with you – just in case.
  • Depending on where you are going (just between some big cities or close to the North Pole) you will need a different type of car or a different type of tires (such as snow tires or tire chains for mountain areas). As I mentioned earlier, double-check in advance that your car rental provider has winter tires on the car.

Related article:

2 Weeks Road Trip Through Quebec and Ontario – a Day-By-Day Plan With Prices

BONUS: Other important tips on renting a car in Canada

Renting a car in the US and driving to Canada

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Sometimes the car prices are significantly cheaper in the USA, so renting it in the USA might be a good option especially if you were planning on combining the 2 countries on your trip anyway.

Example: If you are going to Vancouver, it might be worth checking out car rentals in Seattle and then driving an extra 2.5 hours between the cities.

Related article:

5 Best Neighborhoods Where to Stay in Vancouver (+ Best Hotels!)

Most major car rentals will let you rent a car in the USA (it does not matter if you are a US citizen, you just need a visa in case you are not). The only disadvantage is that if you are not a US citizen, you will spend some extra time at border control being asked about the purpose of your trip to Canada etc.

Do not forget to let your car rental company know you are going to do cross-border travel though, as they need to know this in order to arrange a Canadian Non-Resident Insurance Card for insurance purposes.

PRO TIP:Make sure to save your receipts for the goods you purchased in Canada! You will be able to claim a tax refund on your way back to the USA.

As I said above, a one-way rental is possible, though not easy and not cheap in most cases. So you should call the office in advance to double-check this!

Other modes of transportation in Canada

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Before we conclude, I would like to talk a bit about some alternative means of transportation in the country.

Except for a simple car rental, you could also try checking out the so-called Fly-Drive packages. A Fly-Drive includes a plane ticket AND a car rental right away. I did not know anything about it before my trip, otherwise, I might have used it. So far, I have found packages like this from the UKhere,hereandhere. If you are from these countries, please check it out, it might be a good deal for you!

Even though there are trains and buses in Canada, they will only get you as far as from one city/town to another – you will not be able to get to National Parks or any other slightly remote area. My friend wanted to go to Mont Tremblant, so she had to change 3 buses to get there and the owner of the hotel she was staying in looked at her like she was crazy. In short: it is possible, but not very easy and definitely time-consuming.

8 Important Things To Know Before Renting a Car in Canada (33)

Plus, I am sure you would enjoy going at your own pace and stopping for a picture whenever you like rather than traveling in a big bus full of people, right?

If anything, I would take the train – I know that Trans-Canadian routes are very good. In fact, I would love to come back again one day and do that trip, too! But first, it is much more expensive than a car (about US $4,000 for 8 nights per person) and second, it only has a specific route, so you would be far from flexible with it.


8 Important Things To Know Before Renting a Car in Canada (34)

Beautiful and vast, Canada is any road tripper’s dream – it offers terrific scenery, great quality highways, and an overall unforgettable adventure!

Even if you are better off using public transportation and walking in cities, there is no way to enjoy this spectacular destination without a car, especially if you are going to visit some remote areas (any National Parks, smaller cities etc.) And, overall, it is much faster and much more comfortable to have your own means of transportation and to travel at your own pace!

I hope my tips about things to consider when renting a car in Canada were useful to you, I tried to cover everything from prices and car models to rules on the road. But if it would only be one thing to remember from this post, it would be this –Book you car in advance! (RentalCargives you tons of options with free cancellation, for instance!). Check your rates now, chances are there won’t be any last minute deals on car rentals in Canada. 🙂

As usual, I love chatting with my readers, so be sure to drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions, or just stay in touch onInstagramwhere I post my travel updates!

Have a great road trip!


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8 Important Things To Know Before Renting a Car in Canada (36)


8 Important Things To Know Before Renting a Car in Canada? ›

Your U.S. drivers' license is acceptable when renting a car in Canada. You will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP). However, you should apply for the IDP if you travel often to countries where English is not one of the official languages.

Can I rent a car in Canada with a US driver's license? ›

Your U.S. drivers' license is acceptable when renting a car in Canada. You will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP). However, you should apply for the IDP if you travel often to countries where English is not one of the official languages.

What documents do I need to rent a car in Canada? ›

Here is a list of required documents required to rent a car in Canada:
  • Valid driver's licence.
  • Passport (non-residents)
  • Credit card (in the same name as the renter)
  • International driver's permit (if you licence is not in English)

Can I rent a car in Canada as a tourist? ›

Foreigners can rent a car in Canada as long as their valid driver's license is in English or French or have an international license valid for 90 days and the license is valid for the type of vehicle considered for hire.

Is it cheaper to rent a car in US or Canada? ›

Car rental in the US is usually cheaper than in Canada and you may get a better deal and more value for your money. It is definitely worth checking out. You could consider flying into Seattle instead of Vancouver when you come to western Canada.

Will US car insurance work in Canada? ›

Your auto insurance card should be sufficient, but you can also request a non-resident inter-province insurance card from your insurance company. It's also a good idea to have your auto insurance policy with you in case you get pulled over or get into an accident during your visit.

Can a US citizen rent a car in Canada and drive to the US? ›

Vehicles rented in Canada can be driven throughout Canada and the US. Vehicles cannot be driven into Mexico.

What do you need to rent a car in British Columbia? ›

To rent a British Columbia car, you must be at least 21 years old and have a driver's license with at least one year of experience. For drivers between 21 and 24 years old, young driver surcharges may apply. Rates vary by provider and are paid locally.

How do you need to be to rent a car in Ontario? ›

WHAT ARE YOUR AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTING IN THE US AND CANADA? The minimum age to rent a vehicle with Enterprise is 21 throughout the U.S. and Canada. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Any U.S. government employee can rent at 18 years of age but must show the rental location his or her official orders.

Do you need a credit card to hire a car in Canada? ›

A valid credit card presented with the renter's name is required to rent a vehicle. Keep note that the name, address and signature has to match the renter's drivers licence to be accepted.

How can I drive in Canada as a tourist? ›

If you wish to drive for more than 90 days while visiting, you will require an IDP from your own country. If you are a temporary resident, such as a foreign student or foreign worker, you might be considered a resident and need to get an Ontario driver's licence.

What documents do I need to cross the US border from Canada by car? ›

a valid passport. a Trusted Traveler Program card. an enhanced driver's licence (EDL) or enhanced identification card (EIC) from a province or territory where a U.S. approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented.

Can you drive a rental car from Canada to the US Hertz? ›

Most rental car companies in the USA, including Budget, Dollar and Hertz, allow their vehicles to cross the Canadian border, but make sure to inform your provider in advance and read their terms and conditions carefully.

What is the cheapest city to rent a car in Canada? ›

Out of all the popular cities in Canada, Toronto is the cheapest city to rent a car in at just $17/day. Renting a car in Toronto is 59% cheaper than renting one in Windsor where the per day rate is around $41.

How much is it to rent a car in Canada for a day? ›

Find the rental car in Canada that's right for you
Small Cars$26 - $74
All Car Types$55 - $98

What side of the road does Canada drive on? ›

What side of the road does Canada drive on? Like most of the world, Canadians drive on the right-hand side of the road. If this is your first time driving on the right, spend some time getting used to it on smaller side roads.

Can I use my U.S. health insurance in Canada? ›

Making Plans for Medical Bills in Canada

Even though Canada is just over the border, your U.S. health insurance plan will not be accepted there unless it specifically provides global coverage. American Medicare also is not accepted in Canada.

Do you need car insurance to get into Canada? ›

Canadian law requires U.S. citizens driving into Canada to provide proper proof of motor vehicle insurance. The good news is that both your IMT Insurance Policy includes Canada as part of your coverage territory.

Do I need travel insurance for Canada from USA? ›

Generally, if you're planning on visiting Canada for tourism purposes, you won't need travel insurance. But it's still a good idea. Some Americans may assume that their domestic healthcare may cover them in Canada but, unfortunately, that's not the case.

Can you Uber across the Canadian border? ›

No. The Uber vehicle is not a “ commercially licensed passenger vehicle “ that has a license to transport persons across a International border . A public taxi that is licensed in a US city that is adjacent to a Canadian town or city ( like Buffalo New York ) or ( Detroit Michigan ) can cross legally into Canada.

Can I drive a rental car from Seattle to Vancouver? ›

Can I take a rental car from Seattle to Vancouver? Yes, you can. In fact, most car rental companies will allow you to drive your rental car from Seattle to Vancouver, but there may be restrictions. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions of our suppliers or contact them directly about your plans.

Can you rent a car in another country with a US license? ›

In all cases, a valid driver's license issued from your home country must be provided, whether or not you possess an International Driver's Permit.

Do you need to rent a car to get around Vancouver? ›

Vancouver's public transportation system is the most extensive in Canada and includes service to all major tourist attractions, so you really don't need a car, especially if you're staying in the downtown area.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Columbia? ›

Cheap car rentals in Colombia
8 more rows

What is the maximum age to rent a car in Canada? ›

There are no maximum age limits in Canada, however, it is recommended to always check the terms and conditions of your rental. Restrictions on the size and type of vehicles may apply to renters between 21- 24 years old.

Can you rent a car without insurance Ontario? ›

Yes, if you want to drive a rental car in Ontario you'll need some kind of insurance coverage in case something happens. You don't necessarily need to have your own auto insurance policy (if you've got a licence but don't own a car, for example). But, you do still need insurance to drive the rental.

Do you need a car to visit Toronto? ›

Toronto's grid layout makes it easy to navigate. But a car is unnecessary if you're planning to stay in the city proper. Traffic in central Toronto can be a major headache (especially during rush hour) and parking can get pricey.

What do you need to rent a car in Nova Scotia? ›

If you'd like to rent a car in Nova Scotia, you'll need to present the proper documents, including a credit card and a valid driver's license. It's worth noting that some Nova Scotia car rental companies also ask for an authentic photo ID before renting out a car to a client.

Do I need an international driving permit to hire a car in Canada? ›

The answer is simple: no, you do not. You just need to have a driver's license that is currently valid in your home country and meets both of the following conditions: 1 - Your license must use the Latin alphabet. For European residents, a Class B license is required.

Why is it better to rent a car with a credit card? ›

No credit check: Car rental companies take on a certain amount of risk by renting vehicles, and a credit card gives them peace of mind. Your credit card may provide rental benefits: Credit card rental discounts and additional insurance protection are common perks of renting a vehicle using some major credit cards.

Can tourists drive in Toronto? ›

Requirements for driving in Ontario

If you are visiting Ontario for more than three months, you need an International Driver's Permit from your own country. New residents to Ontario with a valid driver's licence from another province, state or country can use it for 60 days after you move to Ontario.

Is there a fee to drive to Canada? ›

Do I have to pay a fee to cross the border? There is no fee to visit a Duty Free store, however there is a border crossing toll charge at select border crossings. You can pay in Canadian or U.S. currency.

What does a US citizen need to enter Canada by car? ›

American citizens, including American-Canadian citizens, must carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada. You do not need a Canadian passport, a Canadian visa or an eTA to enter Canada if you are travelling with a valid U.S. passport.

What is required to drive into Canada from the US? ›

International visitors to Canada

All international travellers must carry acceptable identification and a valid visa (if necessary) when entering Canada. A passport is recommended because it is the only reliable and universally-accepted travel and identification document for the purpose of international travel.

When you cross the border what do they check for? ›

Any criminal history you have. Your citizenship status. Employment information. Your phone numbers.

Can you cross US Canada border with rental car? ›

Can you cross the border to Canada with a rental car? Yes, certain cars are available to rent in the U.S. and drive into Canada as long as you have made arrangements with Avis in advance. You will also need to obtain a Non-Resident Insurance Card when you pick up your car.

Can you drive a rental car from Canada to the US Avis? ›

Canadian vehicles may be driven into the U.S. Certain U.S. vehicles may be rented in the U.S. and driven into Canada by U.S. residents with advance arrangement and consent from Avis. A Canadian non-resident insurance card may be required and is available at the Avis rental location at the time of vehicle pick up.

What is Hertz intermediate car? ›

But you will get a car that is also classed as intermediate. This means it will be more or less the same size, with the same kind of gearbox, the same number of doors and seats, etc. Intermediate cars are bigger than 'compact' cars, and smaller than 'standard' cars.

What city is the most expensive for rent in Canada? ›

Vancouver continues to be the most expensive city in Canada for renters, followed closely by Burnaby, according to a national rent report.

How to find cheap rentals in Canada? ›

How To Find Cheap Apartments For Rent In Canada
  1. RentCafe.com. RentCafe lets you quickly search for cheap rental units in your city that offer all the features you need. ...
  2. Rentals.ca. ...
  3. Louer.ca. ...
  4. Facebook Marketplace. ...
  5. Kijiji.ca. ...
  6. Rentboard.ca. ...
  7. 4rent.ca. ...
  8. Realtor.ca.
May 16, 2023

Why is it so expensive to rent a car in Vancouver? ›

According to Statistics Canada, prices for rental vehicles rose by 30 per cent in 2021, while the overall inflation rate sat at 3.4 per cent. Hirota said the higher cost of renting a car is partly because demand is outpacing supply, and inflation is pushing up the cost of cars and repairs.

Can you drive in Canada with a US license? ›

Can you drive in Canada with a US license? US licenses are valid in Canada. When operating a car in Canada, you'll need to have your license, auto insurance, and registration in the vehicle at all times.

What documents do I need to hire a car in Canada? ›

Here is a list of required documents required to rent a car in Canada:
  • Valid driver's licence.
  • Passport (non-residents)
  • Credit card (in the same name as the renter)
  • International driver's permit (if you licence is not in English)

Does Hertz have unlimited mileage Canada? ›

If you need to pick up your car at one location and return it to another, book a one-way car rental at any Hertz location across Canada. Choose from Hertz's best fleet and enjoy one-way specials with fuel and unlimited kilometres included so you can get on the open road with ease.

Why doesn't Canada drive on the left? ›

Nevertheless, with the rise of the automobile, many countries have switched to the right to fit in with their neighbors. Canada abandoned the left side of the road in the 1920s to facilitate traffic to and from the United States.

Is it easy to drive in Toronto? ›

Driving in Toronto can be a challenge, but with careful planning you can make the journey much easier. The biggest challenges are the heavy traffic and busy highways. If you're patient and take the time to plan your route, you'll be able to get where you're going without any problems.

How many hours does it take to drive from one side of Canada to the other? ›

This route covers 8,581 km (5,332 miles) and would take at least 106 hours of pure driving time, including stops for petrol. If you add overnight stops and assume you won't want to drive more than 400 km (250 miles) on average per day, the drive across Canada will take over 3 weeks without taking any days off.

What do I need to go to Canada by car? ›

U.S. driver's licenses are valid for visitors in Canada. Proof of auto insurance is required. U.S. auto insurance is accepted for tourists in Canada. For specific information concerning Canadian driving permits, mandatory insurance, and entry regulations, please contact the Canadian National Tourist Organization.

What do you need to cross the Canadian border by car? ›

Ensure that you have proper identification for you and your family readily available. Acceptable forms of identification for entry into Canada include a passport, a NEXUS card and an enhanced driver's licence.

What countries can you drive in with a US license? ›

When visiting another country as a U.S. citizen:
  • Your state driver's license is valid while driving in Canada and Mexico.
  • In other countries, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) for foreign drivers.
Apr 11, 2023

What countries require an international driver's license? ›

An IDP is required in popular destinations such as Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Laos. Note that China never signed onto the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Travel. Americans cannot rent a car in China without first getting a Chinese driver's license.

Can I rent a car with international driver license in Canada? ›

Contact the Canadian Automobile Association for a Canadian International Driving Permit application form. Some foreign car rental agencies may require you to have an IDP to rent a car. Your IDP will only allow you to operate a vehicle in the same class as your Canadian driver's licence.

What can you not take across the Canadian border? ›

Restricted and prohibited goods

Prohibited goods include: cannabis. food, plants, animals and related products that pose a risk to Canada. endangered species and anything made from the parts or endangered species (these can be found in some souvenirs)


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