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Fastest and Cheapest Way to Get From Seattle to Vancouver?

New England
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5 posts
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Fastest and Cheapest Way to Get From Seattle to Vancouver?

I'm a US citizen researching a two-week trip to Vancouver this summer. Apparently flights from the east coast of the US to Seattle generally cost about half what it costs to fly directly into Vancouver. Since it's only a three-hour drive between the cities, seems to maje sense to fly into Seattle and proceed to Vancouver form there, only question is what's the best approach? I've seed Quick Shuttle, which at around 6 hours from SeaTac to downtown Vancouver hotels doesn't seem to live up to it'name at all. Grayhound isn't any faster. Amtrak is an option I haven't priced yet, and a one-way car rental was something else I was considering. I say one-way because I think I can get around using public transportation while in Vancouver...a misconception? Thanks for any experienced advice!

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
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1. Re: Fastest and Cheapest Way to Get From Seattle to Vancouver?

From a distance the cities would seem to be closer than they are.

Remember you have to factor in the time it takes to cross the border by land in both directions.

This can be a short wait or sometimes hours waiting in long lineups in broiling heat.

Thus the seemingly misnamed 'Quick Shuttle'(!)

Renting and driving yourself across is your best option if you have loads of time both coming and going but figure in a half day in both directions.

Yes you can easily use public transportation while here but the drop off charges on an international rental might be so steep as to negate any potential savings.

Most people returning for a visit just fly here directly after having run themselves ragged the first time try to save a bit of money.

Victoria, Canada
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352 posts
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2. Re: Fastest and Cheapest Way to Get From Seattle to Vancouver?

Amtrak is quite reasonable. Based on a mid-July trip, it would be $66 return for a coach seat, $92 return if you upgrade to a business class seat.

There is only one train a day each way. It leaves Seattle at 7:45 am and leaves Vancouver at 6:00 pm, so you'd likely need a night in Seattle before and after the trip.

About a 4 hour trip each way and you go through Customs in Vancouver, not in Seattle, both coming and going.

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3. Re: Fastest and Cheapest Way to Get From Seattle to Vancouver?

I suggest that, unless you really want to spend time in Seattle, you poke around the internet to see what fares are available. I just checked America West for a Boston-Seattle and Boston-Vancouver fare and the difference was about $100 U.S. You would spend close to that in just getting between Seattle and Vancouver. Since I do not know which city you are departing from, I cannot be more specific than that. If you are within 4 hours of Montreal, which you could be in some parts of Vermont, then it might be worth driving up there to get a fare out of that city. Check around as many possibilities as you can as you may find the fare you need.

Another option altogether is to take the Victoria Clipper boat from Seattle to Victoria and then head from Victoria to Vancouver. There are no time savings in doing that, but you do get to see Victoria and the trip is nice.