Canada is vast and splendid, but the climate, the distances and the high cost of internal travel make it a difficult country to know in depth. Having the freedom to throw your things in the trunk and start the adventure, makes independent travel a fascinating way to explore this often spectacular country.
The Trans-Canada Highway is one of the longest roads in the world, stretching for 8030 km from St John’s, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia. The route crosses all ten provinces of the nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific and four islands, winding through tundra, boreal forests, national parks and grasslands, glaciers, several thousand lakes and hairpin bends in the shade of imposing peaks. But you will need something more than the desire to travel to get on the road; you need a vehicle! But of course, before starting anything, you need to get information about eTA Canada.
Rent a vehicle
It is the easiest way to travel, but supplements for one-way itineraries can increase the rate by hundreds of dollars and rentals between some locations are also prohibited. Study the course well: returning the vehicle where you rented it will save you.
Furthermore, most rates do not include global insurance, which the agency will convince you to purchase for an additional daily cost. Many credit cards and travel insurance policies also include insurance for a rental car; read well the lines written in small characters, to save money but also to travel aware and calm.
Remember to check the number of miles included in the contract, in particular for motorhome rentals. If you have a degree of flexibility, a vehicle transfer may occur, in which case you will pay a significantly reduced fee to deliver a vehicle to another agency (a type of contract that sometimes includes fuel).
Buy a used vehicle
Long-term visitors on business trips could consider buying (and reselling) a used vehicle. In this case, compulsory insurance should be the first thing to consider, as it is expensive. In Ontario, ownership of a vehicle is not transferable until the buyer has taken out insurance. In British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, vehicle insurance is managed by the government; in all the other provinces and territories you will have to provide for yourself.
The policy fees vary according to the location, age and type of the vehicle. It is possible to purchase a vehicle without having a Canadian driving license, but it is necessary to have a residence address for insurance and registration. Regardless of the driving experience in your country, you will still be considered “new drivers”, which will increase the premium and make it impossible for you to insure vehicles of 15 years or more. Banks offer the best policies for new drivers, while private insurers are reluctant to take on this responsibility. Make sure you understand the cancellation penalties if you plan to sell the vehicle after a few months, as the policies are calculated on an annual basis.
The choice of the place to buy the vehicle will be dictated by the circumstances and the planned itinerary. Ontario has a huge market for used cars, and with some commitment there are opportunities. Unfortunately, however, Toronto also has the highest insurance premiums (while the provinces to the east register the lowest) and if you buy a vehicle here, you will necessarily have to take out insurance.
Tips and advice for buying a vehicle
Trusting your seller is important. A good dealership “will do its best for you”, but generally prices include commissions and vehicles may not be what they seem. Many sellers offer vehicles with the ‘saw and liked’ formula, which usually does not include safety certification – so avoid these tempting ‘deals’. Vehicles may seem cheap and look good, but without certification they don’t even leave the parking lot. It is therefore the purchaser’s responsibility to tow and certify the vehicle elsewhere (with the unknown cost to be incurred), or to request certification from the seller himself, who will make it pay dearly.
Doing an online search with the keywords ‘one owner’ and ‘service history’ maybe you will find some rare gems, that is a well maintained vehicle offered by honest owners. Be very careful, however. You can buy a reliable vehicle for around CAD $ 3000, which you should be able to sell at the end of the journey, recovering part of your investment.