To cut a short story long, I decided to change the holiday a tiny bit and fly in and out of Vancouver rather than into Victoria and out of Vancouver. The reason is to do with the car hire and me being me. I dislike surprises. Not ‘nice’ surprises like ‘I’ve bought you a new iMac for Christmas’ or ‘We’re delighted to inform you that you’ve won the EuroMillions Lottery’, no not those surprises. The ones I don’t like are, ‘I’d like to hire a car please’..’Sorry Sir, sold out, you should really have booked earlier’. Those, I particularly dislike.
We wanted a 4×4, or SUV, Chelsea tractor, call it what you will, mainly because it’s easier for Amanda to get in and out of and gives us room in the boot for the wheelchair and most importantly I wanted a bit of four wheel drive grip to tackle ‘The Hill‘. Before anyone says you don’t need a 4×4 to go up a hill, I know this but I want it so there.
Originally I started looking at car hire companies to get quotes, just so we had an idea of costs that seem to spiral all the time when I start looking at holidays*. The first problem seemed to be that I was looking too far in the future which is fair enough. To combat this I looked a month earlier so I could compare like for like between companies. Yay, that’s fine. Oh, actually it’s not so fine. Lets look at Budget car hire for example. I wanted to hire a car for 14 days, collecting in Victoria Airport and delivering back to Vancouver Airport. No can do mate. All sold out on those dates. SOLD OUT. A YEAR IN ADVANCE. Obviously this can’t be correct so I’ll contact them and ask for a quote. Ah, not so fast chum. The Victoria branch doesn’t seem to have it’s own email address, just a phone number. Hmmm 8 hours time difference…I’d rather email, that way I get things in writing that I can file away like a squirrel with his nuts. The email system they have seems to only want you to contact them about specific problems and any quotes need to be directed at the branch. Ok lets forget Budget. Then we changed the plans so I checked again. Collect in Vancouver, deliver back to Vancouver….. yes, can do you lucky person. Waitasecondtherepartner…..Budget seem to be almost three times the price of Avis AND the Avis price includes Sat Nav (rather than buy Canadian maps and take my own) AND includes an additional driver. There may well be a reason for the price difference. Maybe they heard I’ve never driven on the wrong side of the road before and are nervous. Well let me tell you, you’re not as nervous as me (but I’m sure it’ll be fine). Maybe the excess on the LDW is less that on Avis, which is £300(ish) but even if it was zero and I had a bump, Avis would STILL be cheaper. The website isn’t very transparent so I’m afraid Budget loses the business and Avis gets it.
A nice Jeep Grand Cherokee (or equivalent) will be collected from Vancouver Airport and driven to Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal next August, and it’ll come from Avis.
*See previous trips for further details