British Columbia car rentals work pretty the much the same as if you were in the United States or the European Union. If you have a US or European Union driver's license, you do not need an International Driving Permit. If you have a driver's license from another country, you may be required to obtain an International Permit, so check with the outlet you plan to use. In general, the minimum age to obtain BC rental cars is 18, although some firms have a minimum age limit of 21. However, those who are under age 25 will probably have to pay a higher per day rate. Canadian driving regulations and violations are also similar to those in the United States, but do note that speed limits and distance markers are in kilometers, not miles. You need to have proof of auto insurance. If you do not have insurance, you will be required to purchase a short-term policy valid for the length of your vacations.
The only other thing you need to be aware of while driving British Columbia car rentals is winter weather driving conditions, especially if you are not familiar with driving in snow. Heavy snowfall and similar conditions can be hazardous, and sometimes the winter weather can be severe, unpredictable, and change suddenly. After these considerations, you will find that a car is very useful for certain excursions, such as like leaving Vancouver for a couple days and driving yourself through the beautiful Okanagan Valley visiting some of regions many wineries. You have independence of movement and the flexibility to tour at your own pace and on your own schedule.
The best tip for finding cheap car rentals in BC is to have a primary driver over the age of 25. If this is not possible, you might look for small local companies, which may have different age limitations, and often have less expensive rates than the larger international franchises. If you plan to obtain your BC rental cars at one of the airports after your arrival flights, a tip for lower rates is to arrive on Sunday evening when people are returning their vehicles and heading home. Rental outlets are apt to have a surplus of vehicles on this evening and be offering special deals. After you book you car, continue to check for special offers and ask your rental company to match any special deals that might come up after you have made your commitment.
Other tips for finding cheap car rentals in BC include checking all your memberships—from AAA to frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs. Discounts are often given for AAA and AARP members. You also can use your airline miles and hotel reward points with some car rental companies. Additionally, plan out your vacations so that you have British Columbia car rentals only for the period that you need them. Nothing eats up vacation money like having an expensive car parked outside your hotels while you are busy taking whale watching excursions or hopping on the Prince Rupert ferry for a day or two. However, do look carefully at the rental agreement, as sometimes you can get a deal for certain period of time that is cheaper than renting one day at a time. Another tip for cheap car rentals in BC is to use aggregate tools like the one here on the Destination 360 website that allows you to compare the prices of many different outlets.
Like the vast and wild state of Alaska, many areas of British Columbia are true wilderness. Those who are booked on adventurous vacations like fishing expeditions are apt to fly into their destination and then hop on a seaplane or boat to go to a remote fishing lodge where a car is obsolete—there are apt to not even be roads in many areas. Additionally, you might be staying only in one concentrated are like Vancouver, where BC rental cars are simply unnecessary because of excellent public transportation options.
Image: Tourism British Columbia