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Cross-continent road trip

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Jason and I are in the preliminary stages of planning a cross-continent road trip for next summer.

It'll be from northern California to Toronto (Ontario), and back.

Problem is, we have only 2-3 weeks to work with.

We want to hit Yosemite, Mt Rushmore, and maybe Banff (staying 1-2 days at each location, max). And of course, visit my family and friends in Toronto :)

Is this roundtrip do-able, or will we get no rest at all?

Yosemite's relatively close to where we live, so we *could* save that for a later date...

We'd love to fly to Toronto, and then rent a vehicle to drive back, but it seems that most if not all RV / car rental places do not do one-way Canada/US rentals (pick-up in Canada, drop-off in the States). Does anyone know of companies that do this sort of rental?

Any advice?

Edited by echomyst

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Not sure how much this helps but you can do pick-ups and drop-offs between Toronto and Buffalo for free through the major car rental companies (Hertz, Avis, etc.). If you go this route, you'd have to pick up in Toronto, drive to Buffalo, drop off that car, get another one and then take it back home. You'll also have to check if that rental company will charge you or not from Buffalo to your home state for drop off.

This is pretty much what we had to do when I moved here. Rented a car from Toronto, dropped off in Buffalo, picked up another in Buffalo and then dropped it off in Virginia when we got here. It was the only way we could avoid a $1,000 non-refundable drop off charge.


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I have no advise on the car rental part of things, but did want to comment on your going to Banff. Banff is nothing but a huge tourist trap! I'd recommend you stay someplace other than there. I'm more of a Jasper fan anyway than Banff, and while it's "pretty", there are better/other places to go. Lake Louise is another nice place, certainly smaller in size, but maybe just as busy in the summer. I'd check out some places in BC, like Golden, or towns/cities right at the border of BC and Alberta. You're still in the mountains, and only a short drive to Banff, but not in the heat of things right at Banff. Just my opinion...

Either way, have a wonderful trip. The drive through Northern Superior is outstanding, but I don't know if you're going that way.

Carla (F)


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Well, you're not going to get much rest that's for sure! How many hours per day are you planning to drive? Its about a one week drive each way, so if you only have two weeks, you'll be pretty rushed and won't have much time for sight-seeing.

We once drove from Toronto to South Dakota and back. Each trip was 27 hours straight and we were completely exhausted on the trip back, and I almost killed us by falling asleep at the wheel!

3 weeks would be better if you can take it.


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What about taking the train? www.viarail.ca has a great site. This link for personalizing your trip looks good.... www.trainpackages.ca . You could also check out www.amtrak.com for American alternatives.

Friends of mine did a cross-country Canada trip. RV rentals were so high they ended up purchasing a camper van for less than a rental. Might be a thought for you.

Sounds like a great trip! Have lots of fun and let us know how it goes. Stay safe.

K


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Very doable in 2-3 weeks. I one summer vacation for I think it was maybe 2 weeks if that, we left from Windsor, hiked down the Grand Canyon, stayed over night then hung out in Vegas, then partied in LA, drove up to Seattle, all the way through the Dakotas and back. Now other then the Grand Canyon part being a national park, I can't recall if we did any of the other parks or not. But do able if you budget your time and not spend too much in one location...


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How about driving a rental car to Spokane, dropping it there, flying to Calgary and then renting a car for the drive to Pigtown?

Admittedly, only advantage of this is keeping the drop-offs on one side of the border.


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I drove from Houston, Texas to Arthur, Ontario in 2 days, picked up Nancy, spent a week in Canada, and then drove back with her via Chicago and St. Louis which took us 3 days. So 2 - 3 weeks is more than enough time are you driving your own vehicle?

Ramos

Edited by ramos96

da thread killa

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Thanks everyone for your replies! :D

Not sure how much this helps but you can do pick-ups and drop-offs between Toronto and Buffalo for free through the major car rental companies (Hertz, Avis, etc.). If you go this route, you'd have to pick up in Toronto, drive to Buffalo, drop off that car, get another one and then take it back home. You'll also have to check if that rental company will charge you or not from Buffalo to your home state for drop off.

This is pretty much what we had to do when I moved here. Rented a car from Toronto, dropped off in Buffalo, picked up another in Buffalo and then dropped it off in Virginia when we got here. It was the only way we could avoid a $1,000 non-refundable drop off charge.

Eeps, $1000 drop-off charge is pretty steep!

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I have no advise on the car rental part of things, but did want to comment on your going to Banff. Banff is nothing but a huge tourist trap! I'd recommend you stay someplace other than there. I'm more of a Jasper fan anyway than Banff, and while it's "pretty", there are better/other places to go. Lake Louise is another nice place, certainly smaller in size, but maybe just as busy in the summer. I'd check out some places in BC, like Golden, or towns/cities right at the border of BC and Alberta. You're still in the mountains, and only a short drive to Banff, but not in the heat of things right at Banff. Just my opinion...

Either way, have a wonderful trip. The drive through Northern Superior is outstanding, but I don't know if you're going that way.

Carla (F)

I've been to both Banff and Jasper, but my husband hasn't ^_^ I personally love Moraine Lake... when I went there years ago, it wasn't crowded at all! We probably won't be driving through Northern Superior, but I'll definitely keep that in mind for future road trips.

Well, you're not going to get much rest that's for sure! How many hours per day are you planning to drive? Its about a one week drive each way, so if you only have two weeks, you'll be pretty rushed and won't have much time for sight-seeing.

We once drove from Toronto to South Dakota and back. Each trip was 27 hours straight and we were completely exhausted on the trip back, and I almost killed us by falling asleep at the wheel!

3 weeks would be better if you can take it.

I've never driven this far before, but Google Map says that it'll take us around 2 days of non-stop driving to get from here to T.O. Did you take shifts driving? We'll probably take turns, but stay awake to keep each other awake ;)

What about taking the train? www.viarail.ca has a great site. This link for personalizing your trip looks good.... www.trainpackages.ca . You could also check out www.amtrak.com for American alternatives.

Friends of mine did a cross-country Canada trip. RV rentals were so high they ended up purchasing a camper van for less than a rental. Might be a thought for you.

Sounds like a great trip! Have lots of fun and let us know how it goes. Stay safe.

K

Yeah... we checked the prices on several RV rental sites and it's at least a few thousand dollars for x amount of mileage! I think we'll stick with our own vehicle after all ;)

Very doable in 2-3 weeks. I one summer vacation for I think it was maybe 2 weeks if that, we left from Windsor, hiked down the Grand Canyon, stayed over night then hung out in Vegas, then partied in LA, drove up to Seattle, all the way through the Dakotas and back. Now other then the Grand Canyon part being a national park, I can't recall if we did any of the other parks or not. But do able if you budget your time and not spend too much in one location...

Were there many of you taking turns driving? :-P I'm beginning to feel more optimistic about doing a roundtrip road trip... we'll just have to pick one or two major spots to stop, and then speed through the rest.

How about driving a rental car to Spokane, dropping it there, flying to Calgary and then renting a car for the drive to Pigtown?

Admittedly, only advantage of this is keeping the drop-offs on one side of the border.

The only reason we want to drive back from Toronto is because I still have tons of books to pick up from there ;) I think the hassles with a different drop-off location might not be worth it after all!

I drove from Houston, Texas to Arthur, Ontario in 2 days, picked up Nancy, spent a week in Canada, and then drove back with her via Chicago and St. Louis which took us 3 days. So 2 - 3 weeks is more than enough time are you driving your own vehicle?

Ramos

Did you stop anywhere enroute either way? I think we'll spend a day or two at Yellowstone :) Annnd... after reading everyone's comments, I think we'll stick with our own vehicle and do the roundtrip road trip after all!

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I just spent a day in banff. To truly enjoy banff, one has to get out into the wilderness. Downtown banff is just a tourist trap that has oodles of tourist shops.


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I just spent a day in banff. To truly enjoy banff, one has to get out into the wilderness. Downtown banff is just a tourist trap that has oodles of tourist shops.

I just remember the highlight for me was Moraine Lake :) It had the prettiest blue waters I've ever seen (I went there many years ago in late August, I think).

Edited by echomyst

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Another consideration that we used when I moved down. . . my now husband flew into Detroit, rented a mini van from Enterprise at the airport (Enterprise would allow him to take it into Canada), picked me and the cats up in Chatham, and then we drove down to the Atlanta area. We rented the van for a week with unlimited mileage and the understanding that we would turn it in at the airport here. If we changed where we turned it in there would have been a drop off fee but since it was part of the rental arrangements, there wasn't. So - you may consider flying into Detroit or Buffalo, renting a mini van from Enterprise, driving on to Toronto, then driving the van back home and turning it in airport there, while site-seeing along the way. (Assuming their procedures haven't changed since 2004).

Edited by Kathryn41

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Another consideration that we used when I moved down. . . my now husband flew into Detroit, rented a mini van from Enterprise at the airport (Enterprise would allow him to take it into Canada), picked me and the cats up in Chatham, and then we drove down to the Atlanta area. We rented the van for a week with unlimited mileage and the understanding that we would turn it in at the airport here. If we changed where we turned it in there would have been a drop off fee but since it was part of the rental arrangements, there wasn't. So - you may consider flying into Detroit or Buffalo, renting a mini van from Enterprise, driving on to Toronto, then driving the van back home and turning it in airport there, while site-seeing along the way. (Assuming their procedures haven't changed since 2004).

Hey, that's a good idea :) I think most rental companies are ok with border-crossing as long as you return the vehicle to the original country. After considering everyone's advice, I think we're going to do the entire roundtrip using our own vehicle. It just makes our trip a bit simpler, since it looks like 2-3 weeks will be do-able as long as we don't attempt to stop in too many places ;)

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We spent basically a 1/2 day in Chicago and other places along the way we spent several extra hours. As we were loaded down with all the stuff we had packed in Canada we weren't exactly in sight-seeing mode :P

But for Christmas, we are driving back to Canada for a week if Nancy gets her AP.

Ramos


da thread killa

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