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Vacation headache #1

Our plan was to fly to Ontario, do the Ontario thing, then fly to New York, do the NYC thing, then rent a car in NYC and drive back to Halifax through Maine and New Brunswick.

Amanda set up the car rental a few weeks ago with National-Alamo, and the only outstanding thing to settle was the discount rate offered through my employer. When sorting *that* out today, the customer service gentleman said he'd heard that Canada Border Services Agency seized American rental cars at the border.

Sounded fishy, but I just called CBSA and they say that's correct.

It's illegal for a Canadian to drive a car with American plates in Canada. So they'd seize the car and give me an ouchy fine.

Alternative solutions that sound good (and by good, I mean in theory, not that I feel sufficiently smart at this exact second to make them work):

- drive a rental from NYC to some border town, then walk, hike, skip or swim across the border to Canadian border town and pick up another rental; or, drive a rental to a border town that deals with these confounded CBSA issues and may have a stock of Canadian cars on the lot
- arrange some kind of car-sharing deal through one of those fuzzy-wuzzy Internet drive-my-car boards
- break down and buy plane tickets from NYC to Halifax. Boo! We wanna shop in Bangor and have a nice night in a Bangor hotel

Helpful (?!) links:
- Car Rental in the USA and Canada (independent site from 2004 -- doesn't mention my plight)
- A message board post at
- says so, too


  1. Hey - its Stephanie

    What about the train? Phil and I took it from Oakville to NY and it was dirt cheap - keep in mind it was one of the most painful experiences of my life but if you go to a border town hopefully you won't have as long on the Amtrak. The trains go right into Penn Station and are totally affordable.


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