Renting a Car While Vacationing in Canada

If your travels take you to Canada, whether it is for business or pleasure, then take the time to learn what you need to know if you choose to rent a car while you are there. Canada is a large country and from coast to coast is rich in color and diversity. Not to mention the fact that the people are very welcoming to travelers from all over.

In order for an individual to rent a car in Canada, it is necessary to have a valid driver’s licence from where ever you are visiting from. If your driver’s licence does not have a photograph some automobile rental companies will require you to provide a major credit card and/or your passport, while other companies might be willing to settle for another type of photo identification (such as an ID from your place of work) along with your driver’s licence.

Foreign visitors to Canada must have drivers’ licences that are either written in English or French (the two official languages of Canada). An International permit is necessary if drivers’ licences are in any other language. Visitors from the United Kingdom may be required to bring both sections of their licence with them in order to rent a vehicle. The reason for this is because information on both sides is relevant to Canadian authorities- car rental agencies need to view both parts and the counterpart is important in case of a motor vehicle accident.

A driver’s licence from anywhere other than Canada that clearly shows the following information- date of birth (DOB), class, expiry date and any special conditions- can be used in Canada for up to a period of six months, but no longer than that. International driving permits on the other hand, can be used in Canada for up to twelve months provided that the permit holder is a visitor to Canada and not a resident of the country. These special permits must be obtained from the visitor’s country of residence before they embark on their trip to Canada.

Car Rental Reservations in Canada

It is a smart idea to book a car rental well in advance of your trip to Canada. In order to get the best rate possible, it is highly recommended that visitors to Canada book a rental car at a weekly rate (which is generally considered across the board to be five to seven days) as opposed to a daily rate which can be a costly option. This suggestions makes sense the longer you expect your trip in Canada to be. Motor vehicle rates are based in part on how many cars the rental company in question has available at the pick up location.

Relevant Information for Reserving a Car

Make doubly certain that you have all of the relevant information before making a car reservation. This information includes:
*Verifying the date and time for the pick up and return of the automobile.
*Size and/or class of car you wish to rent. The majority of rental companies break down the cars they have available into classes. These classes include compact, economy, mid-size, standard, full-size, premium, mini-van, SUV and luxury. Many smaller Canadian rental companies have only three classes or categories of vehicles and these include compact, economy and mid-size.
*Name of the individual who will be picking up, and therefore responsible for, the vehicle.
*Special requests, if there are any. For example, some select car rental companies in Canada can accommodate the special needs of their customers such as providing car seats for babies and children, air conditioning, a luggage rack, automatic vs. standard (or manual) transmission and an extra key (for those who have a tendency to lose or misplace items easily!).
*If you qualify for any discounts whatsoever don’t hesitate to inquire before you make arrangements to pick up the car. This might include for example a senior’s discount.

Driving on Canada’s Highways

In the country of Canada drivers drive on the right hand side of the road. The speed limit in Canada is according to the metric system. In other words, it is measured in kilometres as opposed to miles. As a rough estimate, if you are used to calculating your driving speed in miles, 90 kilometres per hour (abbreviated to km/h) is approximately 60 mph and 50 km/h converts to 30 mph. On the majority of Canadian highways, with a few exceptions, the speed limit is 100 km/h but can change suddenly therefore being aware of the speed limit signs displayed along the side of the highway is extremely important to driving responsibility. Law in Canada mandates wearing a seatbelt in a motor vehicle and those who drive motorcycles are required to wear helmets, as are all of the passengers they are carrying.

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