Rent a Car for Travel in Vancouver

Nestled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in Canada. With attractions spread across the metro area, having access to a rental car makes getting around Vancouver fast and flexible. Here is an in-depth guide on renting and driving a car for travel in Vancouver.

Finding Car Rental Companies in Vancouver

Vancouver has branches of all the major national and international car rental brands. You’ll also find independent local rental companies too. Some options to consider include:

  • Enterprise – Large fleet. Airport and downtown locations. Free pick-up available.
  • Hertz – Global brand. Luxury rentals available. Partners with Uber.
  • Dollar – Budget rates. Good for longer rentals. Airport and suburban branches.
  • TG Car Rentals – Local company with newer fleet. Low rates with unlimited miles.
  • TRAC Rent a Car – Canadian brand with compact and SUV options. Flexible policies.
  • U-Drive Car Rentals – Independent with six metro area branches. Often has discount specials.

Compare rates and look for deals. Booking ahead ensures availability but walk-in rentals are sometimes available.

Documentation and Requirements for Renting

Standard documentation needed includes:

  • Valid driver’s license from your country
  • Passport
  • Major credit card for payment
  • Proof of insurance

Requirements may vary by rental company regarding minimum age, insurance needs, surcharges, cross-border rentals to the USA, additional drivers etc. Clarify all policies when you book.

Types of Rental Cars Available

Typical types of vehicles offered in Vancouver include:

  • Economy – Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa. For 1-2 people. Good gas mileage.
  • Compact – Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra. Modest size for city driving.
  • Standard Sedan – Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze. Midsize. Comfortable for 3-4 adults plus luggage.
  • Full-Size – Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima. Spacious interior. More power.
  • Luxury – BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS. Premium amenities and performance.
  • SUVs – Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota RAV4. For families. 4×4 may be needed in winter.
  • Minivans – Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica. For group travel. Convenient sliding doors.

Transaction size is most common. Automatic transmission predominates but manual rentals are available. Fuel-efficiency should be considered given high gas prices.

Rules of the Road in Vancouver

Here are some key driving rules and practices in Vancouver to follow:

  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Seat belt use mandatory for all passengers
  • Child seats required for kids under 9 years old or 4’9″ tall
  • Headlights must be on at all times when driving
  • Right turn permitted at red lights after full stop
  • Speed limits rigorously enforced. Fines are steep.
  • Blood alcohol limit for driving is .05%
  • Driver must yield to pedestrians at intersections
  • No use of handheld devices like phones when driving
  • Winter tires mandatory in snowy conditions

Useful Rental Car Tips for Vancouver

  • Book early for best selection and rates, especially in peak season
  • Inspect car thoroughly at pick-up for scratches, cracks, and functionality
  • Refill gas tank before returning if required to avoid hefty refueling charges
  • Have GPS/navigation apps downloaded on your phone in advance
  • Carry a physical map as back-up in case low on data
  • Install a dashboard mount for phones if using for navigation
  • Get an EZ Pass transponder to save time and money at tolls
  • Ask about including unlimited mileage to avoid overage fees
  • Read parking signs carefully – Some areas prohibit overnight parking
  • Confirm insurance coverage amounts and deductible responsibilities

Top Day Trip Destinations From Vancouver

A rental car opens up easy access to amazing destinations near Vancouver for day trips or longer excursions:

North Vancouver

  • Grouse Mountain – Year-round attractions. Incredible city views.
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge – Iconic swinging bridge over a river canyon.


  • Steveston Village – Quaint historic fishing town with shops and restaurants.
  • Richmond Night Market – Massive Asian food and shopping bazaar. Open weekends.


  • Metropolis at Metrotown – Enormous luxury shopping mall.
  • Burnaby Lake Park – Trails, gardens, rowboat rentals on the lake.


  • Bear Creek Park – Hiking, swimming, picnic areas. Family-friendly.
  • Crescent Beach – Relaxing oceanfront stretch with a pier.

Nearby Cities

  • Victoria – Scenic capital city on Vancouver Island. Requires ferry crossing.
  • Whistler – World famous mountain resort with epic skiing and trails. Stunning alpine scenery.
  • Seattle, WA – Iconic waterfront city. 2.5 hour drive south. Consider leaving rental car in Vancouver.

Don’t miss out on incredible sights near Vancouver. Allow ample time for excursions and check border crossing requirements.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Vancouver

What is the minimum age to rent a car in Vancouver?

The minimum age is typically 21-25 depending on company policy. Drivers under 25 often pay additional daily surcharges.

Do I need an International Driving Permit to rent a car?

Most companies accept a valid license from your home country. But having an IDP can make the rental process easier.

What insurance do I need when renting a car?

Purchase at least basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to cover accident liability. Consider getting supplemental liability protection too.

Is winter tire insurance mandatory in Vancouver?

Yes, you’ll need to get mandatory winter tire coverage for an added fee if renting between October and April when driving conditions can be hazardous.


With its winding coastal roads and destinations ranging from mountains to cities, Vancouver is best explored by rental car. Book early, inspect vehicles carefully, follow local driving laws, and allow plenty of time when driving in unfamiliar areas. Take advantage of the convenience of a rental car to enjoy both urban attractions and scenic day trips near Vancouver. Just fill up the gas tank and go wherever your sense of adventure takes you!


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