A Vancouver road trip is a rite of passage for both locals and visitors. From scenic coastal drives to mountain adventures, a rental car opens up endless possibilities for exploration and memory-making.
Yet with so many factors to weigh like passenger space, driving terrain, luggage capacity and more, deciding on the ideal rental car can be an overwhelming choice. To ensure your wheels match the journey and take you on an unforgettable trip, follow this comprehensive road trip rental guide from the team at Expo Rent a Car.
Carefully Consider Passenger Space and Comfort
First, determine how many people are coming. Will it just be you and a partner? The whole family, including kids? For maximum comfort, allow ample personal space. Though a subcompact sedan may technically “fit” four adults, a mid-size sedan or SUV will be far less cramped.
If you are travelling with kids, don’t forget to pack car seats and booster seats as needed based on ages. Verify no more than two kids would be sharing a row to avoid nonstop “are we there yet?” backseat battles! For longer road trips spanning a week or more, upgrading to a roomy minivan can provide optimal cabin space to keep everyone happy.
Next, consider which creature comforts will enhance the experience, like:
- Heated seats to stay toasty on chilly mountain drives in the Rockies.
- Ventilated seats to reduce perspiration on hot, sunny coastal routes.
- Built-in navigation to limit time fumbling with phones to find destinations.
- Charging ports for devices and gameplay to ward off boredom.
- Wi-Fi hotspots and Bluetooth for endless soundtrack streaming.
- Premium sound systems to liven up the open road.
If your trip involves driving through remote areas with limited services, upgrading to a higher grade vehicle with more premium features can maximize comfort and enjoyment while in transit for hours on end.
Take Inventory of Luggage and Necessary Gear
The right rental must offer adequate cargo room and packing space for all your trip necessities. Take a detailed inventory of all required gear, including:
- Luggage for All Passengers: Suitcases, duffle bags, backpacks, etc.
- Beach Gear: Umbrellas, folding chairs, coolers for refreshments.
- Sports Equipment: Surfboards, kayaks, bicycles, golf clubs.
- Safety Kit: Cones, first aid, jumper cables, tire inflator.
- Camping Gear: Tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, cookware if overnighting en route.
With the full gear list in hand, choose a rental grade (economy, mid, full-size etc.) and style (sedan, SUV, or van) accordingly based on the projected space requirements. Upgrading to a more spacious SUV or minivan often makes sense to avoid a fully crammed trunk, or any gear spilling into the cabin. Also keep in mind the sea level cargo space in wagons or hatchbacks if visiting coastal beaches.
For extended road trips spanning over a week, consider Expo Rent a Car’s affordable weekly rates on all vehicle classes to maximize luggage capacity while saving money. Unlimited mileage is also included!
Select Drivetrain Wisely Based on Destinations
Where you intend to venture and what kinds of roads you’ll encounter determines ideal drivetrain options:
- Front-wheel drive (FWD): Reliable traction and control on flat, smooth paved routes like relaxed scenic coastal road tripping. Also, the most affordable and fuel efficient drivetrain.
- All-wheel drive (AWD): Enhanced grip and traction on wet pavement and light snow, ideal for destinations like visiting Whistler’s mountain surroundings in spring and autumn. Provides extra stability and control.
- Four-wheel drive (4WD): Maximizes traction on washed-out dirt back roads, deep snow, or steep off-road terrain. Enables remote off-roading adventures and winter alpine exploration, but uses more fuel. Upgraded clearance also helps navigate over rocks, ruts and rough primitive roads.
For exclusive highway driving, front-wheel drive is perfectly suitable. But routes involving gravel forestry roads to remote trailheads or the winding switchbacks of the renowned Sea-to-Sky highway towards Whistler often merit upgrading to AWD or 4WD for added capability and control when you need it most.
Carefully Evaluate Your Fuel Efficiency Needs
A road trip often equates to long hours behind the wheel and hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres driven. To cut down on frustrating pit stops for refuelling, carefully factor fuel economy into the rental equation. Here’s how the common engine options compare:
- Gasoline: Most affordable and accessible fuel but lower efficiency. Great for shorter inter-city travel and destinations with ample filling stations. Choosing mid-grade versus regular gasoline boosts performance.
- Diesel: More expensive at the pump but 15-30% more fuel efficient thanks to high torque output. Well suited for effortless mountain ascents and hauling maximum loads. Diesel stations are considerably harder to find outside of major urban centres.
- Electric: No gasoline required and cheap to charge, but limited range between charges. Meticulous route planning is key to ensure sufficient public charging stations exist en route in rural areas. Vancouver fortunately has a robust public fast-charging network.
- Hybrid: Provides the ideal blend of gas and battery-electric driving. You can enjoy lower emissions and excellent fuel savings with this choice, especially in stop-and-go traffic.
With Expo Rent a Car’s diverse fleet, pick the engine providing the optimal blend of fuel efficiency and practicality based on your specific road trip destinations. Our rental agents will gladly help match the perfect fuel type and vehicle for you and your friends/family.
Review Rental Policies: Crossing Provincial or National Borders
When charting an adventurous multi-day road trip, determine if your intended route crosses any provincial or national borders. While our rentals can freely explore anywhere within British Columbia, taking vehicles into Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Washington State, or beyond requires advance approval and paperwork to avoid unauthorized one-way crossings.
So be sure to alert us of any planned international border crossings at the time of your booking, so we can approve and make the necessary arrangements well in advance. A small surcharge and increased refundable deposit applies for approved one-way rentals crossing into the United States.
With proper advanced notice, our team will gladly make it a smooth process if you’re considering an epic cross-border road trip adventure!
The Perfect Rental Makes Every Road Trip Shine
Ultimately, choosing the ideal rental car has the power to enhance every style of Vancouver road trip pursuit. By thoroughly considering passenger needs, cargo capacity, driving terrain, fuel efficiency and provincial/national border policies, picking the perfect rental wheels becomes easy, intuitive, and stress-free.
Expo Rent a Car’s diverse selection of quality vehicles enables unmatched freedom to fully live your Vancouver road trip dreams. Our team provides the experience, insights and affordable rental rates to roll out on any adventure in comfort and style!