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PhilW

Car rental Canada

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Hi guys

I shall be arriving in Vancouver and travelling to Smithers in April. Expecting to make the journey by car.  Anyone one got any advise on best/cheapest option re car rental for a week or so.  Will be landing at Vancouver airport (YVR)  thanks for any advice.

 

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All the major car rental companies will be available at YVR, but I don't have any need to rent a car near home so can't comment on which may be best. But keep in mind that you are taking on a long drive, ~1200 km/720 mi. to get to Smithers, so make a point of getting unlimited mileage. 

If you are going to be staying in the Smithers area you might want to look at a connecting flight. Even if you fly to Prince George and get a car there, you are still looking at about 4 hours driving time as opposed to 12 or 13 hours on the road from YVR. Having said that, it is a good road trip. 


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Mike

Thanks for that.  I did look at flying to Smithers but the cost was enormous but then again a road trip is all part of the holiday so will be driving.  Daughter is working on Hudson bay mountain and hopefully we will get there without her knowing.  Only her boyfriend knows.  Would you recommend an overnight stop in Prince George or somewhere else?

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Phil,

That sounds like a great reason for a road trip. Although it is a long time since I've been to Smithers, I remember Hudsons Bay Mountain as a beautiful location.

Getting back to you road trip, I would definitely recommend  an overnight stop along the route. It's a very long drive, and will be a bit more tiring if you are still adjusting the the 8 hour time change and getting used to being on the "wrong" side of the road. I suggest that where you plan to stop will depend on when you plan on starting. If you are thinking of staying the first night near YVR and then heading off in the morning, Prince George is a logical place to stop. On the other hand, if you get into YVR mid-day you might want to consider a roughly two hour drive to get out of the metropolitan area before spending the night and then start the long push to Smithers in the morning. A smaller town like Chilliwack or Hope would fit the bill for that approach.

Like many larger cities, Vancouver is out-growing its road network and at some times of day the traffic around YVR can be a bit of a nightmare. And just to keep on the doom and gloom, there is major construction work on Hwy. 1 heading east out of the city. If you want to let me know some details closer to the date I might be able to help plot out a route away from YVR to avoid delays.

Once you get past the urban centre it is a wonderful drive.    


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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An important point I forgot to mention is that provincial regulations mandate the use of winter tires on most Interior highways through the end of April. Make sure you specify winter rated tires when you reserve your vehicle.

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Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Mike Thanks so much for this.  Noted the comments re winter tyres.  We arrive in YVR lunchtime on 18th April and have planned to travel to a place just outside Whistler (Airbnb) that night. I understand Whistler is about 2 hrs from the airport so after a long flight Im sure that will be fine.  On 19th will be heading off for Smithers. Will plan a stop somewhere.  Will for sure get a roadworks update from you nearer the time in Vancouver but I guess if the plane is on time, by 2pm I should be on the road and hopefully will miss the rush hour.  Will have a look at Chilliwack or Hope and decide the best place to stay on 19th.

 

Thanks very much for your help. Much appreciated.

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Ah no!  Ive just looked at Chilliwack and Hope and they are close to Vancouver. Misunderstood you. Probably my plan to go to Whistler works.  Also know someone working there and wouldn't be surprised if we get sent with some stuff from his mum in the UK!!!  Now just a decision on stopping at Prince George or another place on night of 19th.  I will do a bit of research 😀

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Yes, Chilliwack and Hope are out of the question if you are going via Whistler. I had made the assumption that you would be looking at going east on Hwy 1 and then the Fraser Canyon route as it is a bit quicker overall but there are advantages to the way you are planning.

You will have a couple of unavoidable bottlenecks in traversing downtown Vancouver but they shouldn't be too bad on a weekend. And I'm not aware of any major construction projects scheduled for the next few months on that route.

The scenery going to Whistler is spectacular and once you are past Whistler the Duffey Lake Road between Pemberton and Lillooet is a treat. Just be prepared for some serious climbs when you get to the mountains. Touch base closer to the date for an update on local conditions.


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Thanks so much Mike.  Will drop a note early April for an update on anything you may think is relevant.

Phil

 

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@PhilW, you may well have heard this by now (and, if not, I apologise for being the bearer of bad tidings) but the Canadian government has closed to border to all foreign nationals, other than our American friends, for the duration of the Covid outbreak. I assume that will make the search for a rental car with snow tires somewhat academic.

Not on the same scale as your situation, but my three day road trip through the Cascade mountain range in Washington State has also been scrubbed. Just as well to cancel that as my son had to venture south of the border last week and is now self-isolating with ominous, although thankfully not severe, symptoms.  


Mike

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'10 Elise SC

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Thanks Mike.  My wife has already resigned herself to not going.  We are still 4 weeks away so i might get there yet although every day that goes by seems more and more unlikely.

Fortunately our daughter who is in Smithers has no idea we are coming so no disappointment there.  I will keep monitoring situation.

thanks so much for your info.  Please let me know if you think there may be a glimer of hope for me.

Phil

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Phil,

I will keep you updated if things change for the positive. You still have a bit of time left but I would caution against getting hopes up. The authorities here have been pursuing an aggressive containment strategy with the intent of "flattening the curve". It appears to be working fairly well so far but I expect that if it continues to work it will have the consequence of dragging things out over a longer time frame. On the other hand, an aggressive containment strategy may have the seeds of its own demise - if it works too well, people will forget what the fuss was about and start pressing to open things up to get the economy moving again. However, I think that outcome is a bit of a long shot.

I will keep you posted. If you do manage to make it here, all the closures might allow time for a beer.


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Hi Mike

Well got a call from my daughter at 3 am your time.  Looks like the mountain is closing.  Almost all staff are returning to their respective countries so she has said she is going to get out while she can.  She is booking a flight Wednesday morning which I guess it will be when you read this.  Bit of a shame but there we are.  

Problem is now she still doesn't know we were coming and ive spent £1000 on flights.  lets hope it gets slightly worse before it gets better from a selfish point of view so my insurance will cover the flights!!

Anyway assuming she does arrive home over the weekend and she doesn't decide to stick it out I can only thank you for your help on all this.  very much appreciated.

Phil

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Phil,

I presume your daughter home by now. Hope she had a safe and,as much as as is possible these days, pleasant trip. Enjoy some family time together - it's important these days.

Mike


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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Mike. Yes picked her up from Heathrow this morning. All ok. Shes just tired out. Good meal in tonight. All pubs restaurants forced to close until further notice so no choice. Not sure what we will do with our flights. Was just going to try and get the money back on insurance but the airline will allow us to rebook for upto 24 months so we are still thinking of going there now at some point. Might call in and see your Lotus collection. Thanks so much for your communications over my trip. Was really appreciated. 

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By all means give me a shout if you are going to be out this way - I'd like the chance to meet you once things get back to whatever normal is going to be.


Mike

'97 V8

'73 Europa TC

'10 Elise SC

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