Planes, Trains or Automobiles?

Canada Immigration Forum (discussion group)


 
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Subject: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?
  A few whimsical questions for you! We´re planning to migrate to BC from the UK. Now, I´m a bit of a car fanatic so...

Q1: If I´m planning on seeing the country by car when I´m over there, is an SUV the sensible route? (Here in the UK SUV´s are pointless, but I suspect Canada may be a different story!)

Q2: How freely will I be able to move about in the country once I have my Visa? Will I be able to hop over the border for a jaunt through the USA or is that a no-no? (Not that I´m in a rush to see the U.S. - I´m sure Canada will keep me entertained plenty!)

Q3: Should I just buy a Ford Focus and take planes and trains to visit the sights?

Long-haul drives across country really appeal to me though - something we can´t really do in the UK!

[23-07-2006,04:58]
[**.19.96.30]
Roxy Puttytat
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
Q1: SUV is fine, as long as you´re willing to pay for the additional gas (petrol) costs for such a vehicle. Canada is a very large country and if you plan to travel all over, that could be quite a lot of fuel for an SUV.

Q2: It depends on what passport you have. If you have a UK passport, you´re from a visa-free country and can travel at will across the U.S. border.

Q3: That´s a good question. I would say time is a key factor here. If you like long-haul drives, have patience, and have plenty of time, I would buy or rent a fuel efficient car (yet still comfortable enough for days of driving) and see the country first-hand. If time is limited, then fly/rent is a better choice. But in this 2nd option, you´ll never get the feel of the vastness nor experience the essence of the country.

[23-07-2006,15:18]
[**.53.231.75]
Richard
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
I have had a Honda CRV (compact SUV) and now I have a Toyota Matrix (half SUV, half sedan). Both are huge gas savers (I can go 440km on a tank and that was $42 the last time I tanked) Both have huge storage in the back, and would be great for touring.

Forget the North American cars. Huge depreciation. In 5 years, my CRV needed oil - period.

[23-07-2006,15:35]
[***.20.170.23]
sharon
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
but... if you have a little bit of cash - consider seeing some of Canada by train. particularly the route from Vancouver to Jasper. Stunning.
[23-07-2006,15:36]
[***.20.170.23]
sharon
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
True, there are some fuel-efficent SUVs as cited. By and large, American SUVs tend to be quite large and inefficient. But if one makes an effort to find a fuel efficent SUV (i.e., Japanese), that would work and be very dependable.

I forgot to mention train travel as a cross country alternative. I was recently checking into that myself. Via Rail (the national passenger rail system) is not what it used to be. The government has tightened up and practically eliminated subsidies. Also train service is fairly limited and there´s only one cross-country service from Toronto to Vancouver. Also get ready for a shock in how much it costs. Especially of you include sleeper accomodations. You could check out the CanRail or North American Rail pass for unlimited coach travel within a 30 day period.

[23-07-2006,15:50]
[**.53.231.75]
Richard
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
Richard and Sharon - thanks for that.

So I may be better going for a European or Japanese car; maybe a 2.5ltr V6? (What size engine is the Matrix?) I should point out I like a speedy car!

I was worried about the Canadian terrain on long drives, and my wife said "Get something you wouldn´t drive in the UK!!" (Those huge GMC trucks look cool but I wouldn´t want to reverse them into a parking space!)

Actually what are the winters like for driving (specifically Vancouver, Fraser Valley). Is rear wheel drive a bit risky or is the snowfall light?

I just can´t wait to drive cross-country. Are there plenty of motels en route to Eastern Canada? Is it easier to rent an RV? So many questions!

We have no kids (yet) so we don´t really need storage as long as we have places to sleep!

Nothing like putting the cart before the horse!!! We should probably wait for the job offer before I bore you with these questions!

Richard - that´s a great bit of info re our UK passports. I thought we might have problems crossing the border for a holiday.

Thanks again.


[23-07-2006,16:01]
[**.19.96.30]
Roxy Puttytat
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
Vancouver- Fraser Valley gets 2-3 days of snow a year. If you are lucky it falls on the weekend and you can stay home. Actually, most people just stay home anyway because we don´t bother with snow tires. My CRV went ANYWHERE. it had a 4 wheel drive. My Matrix (XR) http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/05matrix_xr.htm

Don´t be fooled by the small engine. My little car does not have the vroom of a V8, but I also can drive past the gas station. If you want to use your car like a camper... my 2 suggestions would be too small.

You could spend your first 2 years exploring BC. You have no concept of how big Canada is. we are 5 time zones! that is a hell of a lot of driving.

[23-07-2006,16:12]
[***.20.170.23]
sharon
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
Ha! Good point Sharon!

I think that will be our biggest shock actually; everything in the UK is relatively nearby - even if you live in Birmingham (central England) you can reach a beach in about 2 hours.

Maybe I should buy an old Trans Am for town and an RV for holidays? (Trans Ams are awful cars, I know, but I grew up with Knight Rider so I want one!!)
I noticed a lot of property sites actually list RV parking spaces as a feature...

[23-07-2006,16:21]
[**.19.96.30]
Roxy Puttytat
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
your age is showing :) give me a Camaro. I almost got a Mustang this time around until I realized that it was very close to the ground and my knees were not impressed plus I could not get my summer annuals in the trunk!

2 hours does not get you to much around here. Camping is a big deal in Canada but it is definitely a fair weather adventure. May - October. Those little VW camper vans are a hoot. Lots of RV´s too but the gas..... OMG.




[23-07-2006,16:45]
[***.20.170.23]
sharon
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
Hey! Cheeky!!!

You´re right about the old VW Beetle Campers but I wouldn´t trust them to get me very far (even in the UK!). Although there are some Lotus - renovated ones over here with big turbo engines and air con!!! Hmm, gives me an idea... Still need a comprehensive Roadside Assistance policy though.

Camaro? Same chassis isn´t it? Ah-haaa!!! Busted!


[23-07-2006,17:19]
[**.19.96.30]
Roxy Puttytat
(in reply to: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?)
http://www.usedtravelvans.ca/showad.php?id=1148
http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/99vwcamper.htm

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[23-07-2006,17:38]
[***.20.170.23]
sharon