Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why It’s So Hard To Rent A Car In Newfoundland

Last summer we road tripped Newfoundland, and we’re shocked to learn how hard it was to rent a car in Newfoundland. Don’t let this stop you from going to Newfoundland though, I absolutely loved it there!

Being from the west coast, we didn’t really know much about Newfoundland other than we wanted to go explore this beautiful province.

Getting to Newfoundland:

In order to get to Newfoundland, you either take an 8 hour ferry to the island, or you fly from Halifax (or Moncton, NB). We were fairly short on time, so we opted to park our car in Halifax and just fly over to St John’s, and then just rent a car in St John’s. The flight over was fairly cheap, around $120 each. Once I booked our flight, I began to look into rental cars. Apparently if you don’t book a rental car a few months before the tourism season starts, you won’t get one.

Little did I know, Newfoundland is a busy place for not only tourism, but it’s also very popular all summer long for conferences.

The rental car issue was surprising to learn. It’s a simple issue of supply and demand. There simply isn’t enough rental cars on the island for tourists, so rental cars get taken up pretty quick.

I spent a good 4 hours calling different rental car companies, car dealerships and businesses around St John’s trying to book a rental car for us. We planned on road tripping around the island and only had a few days to do this before we had to get back on the road. Taking a bus around the island was out of the question, and spending 16 hours round trip on a ferry would eat up too much of our road trip time.
Along with no rental cars, we also had a hard time finding a hotel in St John’s. If you head out of the city, you can find hotels or B&Bs, but they are few and far between. The closest car I could find to rent was 4 hours from the St John’s airport, but we had to find our own way of getting there.
Our solution:

We eventually gave up looking for a rental car, and just tried to make the best of our situation. At last resort, we called U-Haul and we’re able to rent a pickup truck to road trip the island in. As silly as this sounds, it made for a very funny road trip story.

The U-Haul pickup truck was fairly affordable, and we made some amazing road trip memories in Newfoundland.


Travel Tip: if you’re feeling adventurous, you can head to Newfoundland and try and figure out the car thing while you’re there. You run the risk of not having one at all though. Our cab driver who drove us to the U-Haul place said “you should have said something, I could have hooked you up with a car.” So there is hope when you get there, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable chancing something like that, especially if you’re hoping to head several hours out of town to go exploring.

Have you been to Newfoundland before? What’s your favourite part? Leave your comment below. If I could answer my own questions, I’d say everything. Newfoundland is an amazing place, and the people there are so nice.

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