All your saved quotes are
Pick up date
Compare and book deals at the world's airport and city locations
No booking fees, no credit card charges*
Find great value rental rates and exclusive specials
Dedicated phone and email customer service
Compare 27 car rental brands
Compare 25 car rental brands
Canada is a gloriously massive country, in more ways than one. It’s one of the largest countries on earth by land mass, but there’s more to Canada’s superlative qualities than just square kilometers. This is a nation that boasts mountainous landscapes which inspire awe and more than a little incredulity, and vast open spaces which emphasize the sheer scope of Canada’s wilderness. All this space means that there’s a huge array of options spread out before you when you pick up a Canada airport car rental.
Road trips instantly take on an epic nature when you opt for a car rental in Canada and with a multitude of modern cities and impressive national parks to explore you’ll never be at a loss for new vistas to discover. Whether you land in the beautiful urban centre of Vancouver and rent a car to explore western Canada, or book a car rental in Halifax to meander through the beautiful bays and quaint towns of the Cabot Trail, it’s not hard to find a slice of Canada that you’ll love.
If you need a cheap car hire in Canada, this is the perfect place for you. Airport Rentals provides a quick and painless way to find a huge selection of great deals on car hire in Canada from a wide range of different suppliers. With a streamlined, easy to use search tool AirportRentals.com provides a welcome alternative to searching endlessly through websites for various Canada car rental suppliers.
All you have to do is enter a few details about your trip like where you’re starting, where you’re planning to end up and which dates you’ll be travelling, and you’ll be able to peruse all the best Canada airport car rental options in one place. Even if you’re wanting to rent a cheap car from a city location rather than straight from the terminals, AirportRentals.com has plenty of options available for you.
It doesn’t matter where you’re trying to rent a car in Canada, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs through Airport Rentals. Go ahead and grab a car rental in Whitehorse. You can also discover Victoria in your rental car. Here are just a few of the most popular car rental locations in Canada.
● Vancouver Airport car rental - The cultural capital of western Canada, Vancouver is a great place to explore on its own merits, and there’s always the rest of beautiful British Columbia to discover.
● Calgary Airport car rentals - Picking up a Calgary car rental sets you up to visit the internationally praised Banff National Park, and could even have you travelling south across the border to Montana’s awe-inspiring Glacier National Park.
● Montreal Airport car rental - Arriving in Montreal will have you experiencing the wonderfully unique multilingual nature of Quebec from day one, and questing further afield will reveal a host of intriguing cultural treasures.
● Winnipeg Airport car rental - Known for its dramatic seasonal shifts, with balmy summers and chilly winters, “Winterpeg” is also renowned as the home of the Winnipeg Jets hockey team and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
● Halifax Airport car rental - A Halifax car rental will allow you to see Canada at its most picturesque - Nova Scotia abounds with quaint seaside towns and gorgeous bays, making this the perfect place for a nicely contained road trip.
● Car Rental Kelowna Airport - First time visitor or returning to Canada, you don't want to miss the heart of the Okanagan wine region.
● Car Rental Ottawa Airport - Celebrate the best of Canada's culture as you explore the capital city of Ottawa in a rental car.
Driving in Canada will be a cinch for anyone who knows their way around a vehicle, but it’s still good to be familiar with Canadian road rules. There’s nothing too unusual to watch out for here - drink driving is obviously not allowed, many provinces have ‘distracted driving’ laws which mean that cell phone use (among other things) while driving is prohibited, and traffic lights and stop signs work the same way in Canada as they do all over the world.
For a more in-depth look at the ins and outs of taking to the road in Canada, take a little time to peruse our Canada driving guide, which will help you get a handle on the finer points of getting behind the wheel in this magnificent country.
Here’s a quick bullet point summary of the things you need to know about driving your car hire in Canada:
● Like most of the world, Canadians drive on the right hand side of the road, which probably won’t require an adjustment unless you’re a Brit or hail from Down Under.
● In keeping with its massive nature, Canada is home to some huge wildlife, so keep a careful eye out while driving to ensure you prevent collisions.
● Driving in winter can prove tricky, with ice on the road and poor visibility due to unfavourable weather conditions combining to make cautious driving a necessity.
● Always pay attention to speed limit signs, as limits can vary from province to province.
● Brits and Americans should note that speed limits are measured and displayed in kilometres, not miles, per hour.
The second biggest country in the world, Canada is a fantastic place to get on the road and explore. Wide open spaces, an excellent highway network and a variety of beautiful landscapes both natural and urban make it the ideal destination for a road trip.
Many visitors take to the roads to explore, sticking largely to the southern extremes of the country where frostbite and getting lost in the wilderness is less of a possibility. Popular routes include a traverse of the Canadian Rockies, small journeys around the British Columbia coast, exploring the Great Lakes and Niagara, the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia and of course, the epic cross-Canada road trip from east to west or vice versa.
If you’re planning to hit the Canadian roads (Jack), you might want to keep these few basic tips at the very front of your mind! Then, read on for more details about keeping safe.
● Canadians drive on the right, despite being a commonwealth country!
● Pay attention to speed limit signs.
● Be extra careful in winter.
● Keep a lookout for animals.
As in the United States, Canada’s road rules are governed by the individual provinces and territories - that is, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon. However, there are many similarities. We have not gone into the individual differences, but put together a general guide to road rules which will serve you well anywhere in the country.
The best way to know the speed limit for any particular stretch of road is to keep a sharp eye out for signs. Limits are posted in kilometres per hour, as opposed to miles per hour on US roads, so be aware of that if you cross the border.
Statutory speed limits are set for each province or territory to apply on roads without posted speed limits. With very few exceptions, these are 30kph in school zones, 50 in urban zones, 80-100 in rural zones including highways, and 100-110 on expressways. 120 is the highest limit in the country, allowed on expressways in British Columbia.
Use of seatbelts is mandatory across the country, with all provinces having enacted primary enforcement seatbelt laws since the first came into effect in Ontario in 1976. These apply to all passengers and drivers aged 16 years of age or older, except in Yukon where it is fifteen or over.
Of course, that does not mean that young teenagers and children can travel unbelted. Separate child restraint laws for each territory or province cover them.
It is illegal to talk on cellphones while driving in Canada, so leave all mobile communications to passengers.
It is also illegal to drive in Canada with a blood alcohol level which exceeds 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood (0.8). A related and parallel but more general law makes it a criminal offence to operate a motor vehicle when the driver’s ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug. The penalties for both offences, called DUI and DWI, include suspension of license and fines.
It is impossible to estimate how many drinks will put you over the limit, so we strongly recommend that you do not drink at all when planning to drive.
A license from your home country is valid in Canada for visiting, so you should have no issues driving. If it is in a language other than English, or you are visiting for more than three months, it is a good idea to obtain an International Drivers Permit in your home country before travelling.
An important part of driving in any country is knowing when to give way to another vehicle or other entity.
In Canada, you must always stop and refrain from passing a school bus when it flashes red lights. Give way to police cars and all emergency vehicles when they have lights and sirens going.
Four-way intersections are common in Canada. When these do not have traffic lights to control them, they work on a system whereby the first vehicle to arrive at a stop or yield sign has right of way, and failing that, priority is given to the vehicle on the right - or hand gestures are used to work it out.
Roundabouts also make an appearance on Canadian roads, primarily in Quebec. Traffic flows around the roundabout in an anticlockwise direction, and those entering give way to those already on it.
The good thing about traffic lights is that they are quite easy to interpret no matter where you are in the world. Red means stop, green means go, amber represents stop if you can, the light is about to turn red. Arrows and circles for straight ahead let drivers know to which direction the instructions apply.
Canada has one or two traffic light quirks which might confuse foreign drivers. The first of these are flashing green lights, which aren’t often seen in other countries. In Ontario and most other places, a flashing green signals permission for traffic to turn left before the oncoming vehicles are allowed to go. However, in British Columbia and the Yukon, they signal to drivers that it’s a pedestrian-controlled intersection and you should proceed with caution. When a pedestrian presses their button, it will change to amber and then red so they can cross.
The provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island use traffic lights with shapes as well as colours, to aid those with color-blindness.
Right turns on a red light are permitted unless there is a sign stating otherwise. The exception to this is the island of Montreal. A flashing red pedestrian signal means you should finish your crossing, but do not begin crossing the road if you have not already.
It varies between provinces whether or not you are allowed to make a right turn when stopped at a red light. It is best to check with your rental car provider and specific provincial road rules about whether this is allowed.
Canada’s roads use yellow lines to separate traffic moving in opposite directions. White lines separate traffic moving in the same direction. If a road is one-way, there will be a white line on the right shoulder and a yellow on the left.
The general rule for passing is that it is permitted where lines are broken or dashed. When white lines between lanes are broken, overtaking is allowed, when they are solid it is discouraged. When yellow lines between opposing traffic on a single carriageway (one lane on each side) are broken, passing is allowed in either direction when it is safe. When there is a double yellow line of which one is broken and the other is solid, passing is allowed only on the broken side. A double solid yellow line means no passing.
When there is more than one lane for vehicles travelling in a particular direction, they should keep to the right-hand lanes if driving at less than the normal speed of travel. The left-hand lanes are for fast vehicles and those passing. Some provinces allow undertaking (passing on the right), so be aware that vehicles might pass you on the “wrong” side.
It’s pretty hard to keep all the information you require in your head when driving in a new place, and that’s why road signs are so helpful. They serve as visual reminders and warnings - just keep your eyes peeled when on Canadian roads!
One thing to note is that in Quebec, signs are likely to be in French or a combination of French and English.
Like with traffic lights, red and green are used in signs to tell drivers where to stop and where to do. STOP/ARRET signs are quite universal, a red octagon with the words in white letters, while YIELD signs are red-edged triangles. Red circles with red bars across a black symbol are easily recognisable as forbidding the pictured action - be it turning in a certain direction, parking, biking or any other action represented by a pictorial symbol.
Canadian road signs also use green circles to indicate action which are permitted or are the only option. For example, a left arrow in a green circle means “left turn only,” and a pictograph of two adjacent cars in a green circle means “passing is permitted.”
Signs prescribing maximum speed limits are black and white, with “MAXIMUM” written at the top and the limit in kilometres per hour written underneath. Occasionally there are plaques attached with further information.
This group of signs are largely black and yellow, generally diamond-shaped although school crossing signs can be rectangular. Warning signs serve to alert drivers to hazards and features of the road which require special attention - these represented by simple pictographs used worldwide. Hazards include narrow roads or bridges, intersections, hidden sideroads, stretches of road which are slippery when wet, steep hills, railway crossings and more.
Black and orange warning signs are of a temporary nature, indicating a temporary road condition. Most commonly, this means construction zones and roadworks.
School zone signs warning that children are around, and often prescribing new speed limits, are bright yellow-green.
These green and white signs give a lot of handy information about where you are going and how to get there. They show the way to towns, cities and natural landmarks, and also give distances so you can plan your trip. Arrows are used to indicate exits and intersections, often in conjunction with yellow “EXIT” boxes.
The National Highway System is a network of highways and freeways (controlled-access highways) in Canada, with routes found in all Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut which is without road connections.
The Trans-Canada Highway is the backbone of the network, not a single highway but a system of roads totalling nearly 8,000 kilometres. It includes the major cross-country routes, in most places comprising two routes running east-west with a detached section in Newfoundland. If you are planning a long road trip in Canada, you are likely to spend some time on the Trans-Canada Highways!
The roads of the National Highway System are generally grouped into core, feeder and remote classifications, but these are not distinguished in their titles; all are marked with a number. However, when asking for directions, keep in mind that many locals refer to them by name rather than number - for example, the Trans-Canada Highway 16 in Alberta is called the Yellowhead Highway.
The shields showing highway numbers vary from province to province, as does the system of numbering.
The roadside facilities available vary widely between provinces. In Ontario on highways 400 and 401, you’ll find modernised service stations with 24/7 gas pumps, fast food, bathrooms and more. Other parts of the country offer basic rest stops with picnic facilities and sometimes basic bathrooms. Quebec’s “haltes routières and “aires de service” offer drivers a good range of services.
Canada does have its share of toll roads, these found in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. Many of them are in fact bridges, although some roads such as Ontario’s Highway 407 are also tolled. Some toll roads have booths, while others are electronic and read your number plate - it is a good idea to ask your rental company pre or post rental about how you can pay those.
Parking in Canada, as in any other country, is usually only an issue when it comes to urban areas - otherwise, you can probably find a likely spot in which to park on the side of the road or in a provided lot.
It is illegal to park in front of fire hydrants, on the sidewalk or facing the wrong way on the road. Be very careful parking on the street when it is snowing, as snowploughs require space to do their job.
Parking laws change between provinces and territories, but the signage can be recognised nationwide. A black “P” in a red circle with a bar across it means you can’t park there, and a black “P” in a green circle means you can. These will often be used in conjunction with arrows and text specifying where exactly you may or may not park, for how long and at what times during the day.
There are signs indicating ‘snow routes’ and times at which they are cleared by snow plough. You cannot park here during those times or you will get towed.
In city centres and downtown areas, paid parking might be your only option, or the most convenient. This might mean a parking meter administered by the city, or a parking building owned and run by a private company. Either way, it’s a good idea to be prepared with coins.
The primary emergency number in Canada is the same as in the US: 911. This is the number to call for situations which require immediate help from the police, fire service or paramedics. For non-emergency situations requiring the police (i.e break ins after the fact), you can look up and call the local police station
Other useful phone numbers:
Poison Control Centre 1-800-567-8911
Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-800-667-8407
Non-emergency ambulance (nationwide): 727-2400
Canada is known for very wintery winters, so if you are visiting anywhere between November and March, be prepared for the possibility of tricky driving - especially if you are heading out of the main centres and straying a little bit north!
A “survival kit” is a good idea, and can be relatively easily assembled before you start your road trip. This might include warm clothes, a small shovel, first aid kit, candles, hi-vis vest, water and snack food. Ask your rental company about winter tire options, if they do not come standard with winter rentals. Drive slowly, brake before you turn to avoid skidding, and keep your lights on even during the day. Canadians often add a bit of weight to their trunk or truck bed to keep it more stable on slippery roads. Sandbags are dual purpose because if you get stuck in the snow, you can use them to put under the tires to get out.
In the more remote areas of Canada, and in places like the Canadian Rockies, wildlife collisions on the road are a concern, both for human drivers and the animals which are so often killed. Deer are most commonly involved, with other animals occasionally hit on the roads including elk, moose, bears and coyotes.
Drivers should pay close attention to warning signs which indicate a higher risk of animal collisions - and take extra care when near a source of water. Dusk and dawn are high animal traffic times. To reduce the risk, respect the speed limit, slow down when visibility is low and stay alert and prepared to brake if necessary. In short, drive defensively and keep your eyes peeled. For smaller animals, it is safer not to swerve. For a big animal like a moose, swerving is likely the better option - and when collision is inevitable, get as low as possible in case the animal ends up on the roof of the car.
It’s always a good idea to do some research before you go. Here are our picks of helpful websites which might prove useful in planning a Canada car rental road trip:
● Lonely Planet’s Canada section
● Destination Canada’s official site
● Ontario Travel
● Hello BC
● Quebec Original
● Tourism New Brunswick
● Tourism Prince Edward Island
● Travel Alberta
● Tourism Saskatchewan
● Travel Manitoba
● Travel Yukon
● Spectacular Northwest Territories
● Airport Rentals Canada Car Rental
This information is provided on a 'best intentions' basis. While we do our best to ensure the information is error free, we do not warrant its accuracy or adequacy for any intended purpose.
The sheer size of Canada is amazing. The USA’s northern neighbour is a gentle giant, stretching more than three thousand miles from Newfoundland in the east to Graham Island in the west. With wide open spaces, prairies, mountains and towns full of that distinct Canadian charm, it’s prime for a road trip. But how far can you get with the time that you have? Read on to find out - and take a peek at our Canada driving guide before you set off.
Let’s start with the ultimate Canada road trip- a journey clear across the country from Vancouver to Nova Scotia. Google maps tells us that the fastest route avoids Canada almost entirely in favour of the northern United States, so we rerouted that to follow the Trans-Canada Highway for a 67-hour epic ride through Banff National Park, Calgary, southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Great Lakes region, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and New Brunswick to end up at Sydney on the easternmost part of Cape Breton Island.
We wouldn’t recommend attempting this drive unless you have at least two weeks free. Even a fortnight might not be long enough to do it justice, as it means driving an average of five hours each day. That’s all well and good when you’re passing through the prairies of Saskatchewan, but not in the Rockies, or once you get near to Toronto. Three weeks would be good, a month even better.
If you don’t have the whole of the country in your sights, but would like to make the most of your car hire in Canada, here are some of the driving distances between the cities. We had a look at the major travel hubs and how far you could get within a day.
Toronto to Chicago: 850 kilometres, 8.5 hours of driving
Toronto to Montreal: 550 kilometres, 6 hours of driving
On the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the hub for a lot of Canada’s east coast action. With just a morning or afternoon on the road you can be in Ottawa or even to the french-speaking city of Montreal. Skirt around the lake to Niagara Falls in 90 minutes, or cross the border and continue to Buffalo and Rochester in upstate New York.
The lakes are the stars of the show in the Toronto area, and you can get to them all with a car rental from Toronto. Even the famous city of Chicago on Lake Michigan is a within a day’s drive.
Vancouver to Calgary: 970 kilometres, 10 hours of driving
Vancouver to Seattle: 240 kilometres, 2.5 hours of driving
Vancouver is a great place to pick up a rental car, close to some of the country’s most spectacular natural features. The famous mountain resorts of Whistler, Kelowna and Kamloops are less than five hours from the city, as is Okanagan Lake, Vancouver Island is a vehicular ferry ride away, and there are no end of National Parks you could reach within a day’s drive. These include the beautiful Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
If you want to cross the border, you could get to Seattle in less than three hours, and Portland in a few more. To the east, Calgary is a bit of a stretch but the dedicated road tripper could make it there within one full day of driving.
Calgary to Banff: 130 kilometres, 1.5 hours of driving
Calgary to Vancouver: 970 kilometres, 10 hours of driving
Calgary is a bit more isolated than the other busy centres of travel, but it is close to Banff and Jasper National Parks which is all the incentive people need to use it as a starting point for their Canada car rental journey. To get to the township of Banff takes just one and a half hours, and from there the beautiful scenery and opportunities for mountain adventures are waiting.
Edmonton is less than three hours to the north, and to the east of Calgary stretches the flat prairies and eventually the city of Regina. Heading west, you could reach Vancouver before nightfall if you hurry- but only if you leave at the crack of dawn!
Montreal to Halifax: 1,250 kilometres, 12 hours of driving
Montreal to New York: 700 kilometres, 6.5 hours of driving
Montreal is a lovely city, with a beautiful Old Town and plenty of exciting places to eat, drink and be entertained. If you can tear yourself away from the place, there are more urban delights within a short day’s drive including Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto. Anglophone or Francophone- you can take your pick!
If you are willing to venture a little further and make it a long day on the road, you could make it as far as Nova Scotia and Halifax or well into the United States. Boston is less than six hours’ drive, and New York less than seven.
Edmonton to Calgary: 300 kilometres, 3 hours of driving
Edmonton to Jasper: 320 kilometres, 3.5 hours of driving
Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, and is nicknamed “Canada’s Festival City” thanks to the many events it hosts each year. It is also home to North America’s largest mall. The city is a little more remote than most of Canada’s major cities, and a lot of driving is required to get to any urban centres of note beyond Calgary which is three hours to the south.
One place for which Edmonton makes a handy starting point is Jasper National Park, four hours to the west of the city. There you will find small towns, hot springs, lakes and general Canadian beauty. Got all day? You could reach the mountain resorts of Banff, Kamloops or Kelowna if you hustle! Grab an Edmonton Airport car rental and experience its stunning surrounds.
One week is a great amount of time to spend on the road- long enough to fit in plenty of sightseeing, and short enough that you won’t get sick of living out of a suitcase. We’ve dreamed up a few great Canada driving itineraries which will fit into a week.
Make a round trip from Vancouver to Banff in your car hire, heading through Kamloops on the way there and Kelowna on the way back. This route takes in the Banff National Park, Glacier National Park and plenty of wonderful mountainous and lake-filled landscapes. The total driving time is just over 20 hours, which works out to an average of 3 hours a day, giving you plenty of time to explore in depth, and even stay a day or two in your favourite location along the way.
Are you dreaming of wide open spaces and country landscapes? Arrange a one-way car rental to Thunder Bay from Calgary and you can traverse the prairie provinces. We recommend popping up to Edmonton first before hitting the Yellowhead Highway through Saskatoon and Winnipeg, then to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior. The total driving time is less than 25 hours, working out to an average of just over three and a half hours per day. This leaves a lot of time to spend in any place that catches your fancy along the way- and with this kind of trip, there will be days where you are happy to stay on the road for a lot longer to maximise your time!
Picking up your rental car in Toronto presents plenty of options. Why not make for the east coast? We suggest a quick detour to the stunning Niagara Falls before heading to Montreal, where you can join the Trans-Canada Highway alongside the Saint-Laurent. Drive your rental car through Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick and finish the trip in the lovely Halifax, Nova Scotia. A total driving time of around 20 hours means less than 3 hours each day spent underway. There will be plenty of places to stop and spend time along the route!
Are you inspired to start planning your Canada car rental holiday? Airport Rentals makes it easy. Now you know how far you can go, just enter the details of your trip into the simple search engine and hunt down the perfect car hire! Happy travelling!