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Car rental locations in Calgary
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Car Rental in Calgary: Canada’s best City for Driving
Nestled between the plains and the foothills of North America’s western mountain ranges, Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and the fourth largest city in Canada. Originally founded to regulate the arrival of primarily white settlers, Calgary is today the epicenter of frontier-culture memories, such as the annual Calgary Stampede and a gateway to the mountains. Make the most of your visit by taking advantage of wide streets and beautiful surroundings in a rental car by booking your car today.
As a foothill city, weather can be very changeable in Calgary. The best time to visit is from late May to early September, when you are most likely to experience sunny days with intermittent storms.
English and French are the two official languages of Canada, though Canadians tend to be multilingual. Over 65 indigenous languages are also spoken throughout the country; Algonquin, Athabaskan, and Siouan language families are the most frequently spoken in and around Calgary.
Calgary is located in the Mountain Time Zone, UTC-7.
The currency is the Canadian dollar, and most financial transactions take place via credit or debit card.
Automobile hire is available in over 15 locations throughout Calgary, including Downtown, at the Stampede, at the Macleod Trail, and at the Calgary International and Springbank Airports.
Make the most of your visit to the Canadian plains by exploring Calgary’s surroundings. Banff is located 90 minutes to the east along the gorgeous Trans-Canada Highway, and Edmonton is also well worth a visit, located about 3 hours north of Calgary along the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. You can also go for nice hikes and walks in the foothills at numerous trailheads around Calgary itself.
Citizens from a vast number of countries can enter Canada as a visa-free tourist for up to 6 months. You will need to fill out the eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) in advance of your arrival; the fee is $7. All other nationalities must apply for a visa at a Canadian Visa Office in advance of their departure.
Driving in Calgary
While you can certainly spend a good deal of time in downtown Calgary, particularly along 17th Ave SW, you’ll want to explore the city and its surroundings thoroughly, and a rental car will help you travel from downtown to the area’s numerous trailheads and beyond with ease. See Canada’s prairielands at their most spectacular by booking your rental car today and plan to drive into the mountains as well!
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road in Calgary, as throughout the rest of North America.
- In the city, unless otherwise posted: 50 km/h
- On highways: 100 km/h
- Expect heavy rush-hour traffic congestion between 6:30 and 8:30 AM and 3:30 and 6:30 PM; if you plan to drive around the city outside of these hours, you can cut down your travel time substantially.
- Parking in downtown Calgary can be quite expensive, so consider booking a hotel with complementary parking. Street parking is payable by entering your parking spot number and license plate number into ParkPlus pay stations, typically located on every city block.
- If your domestic driver’s license has been issued in English or French, it is sufficient for up to 90 days of driving throughout Canada; otherwise you will need an international driver’s permit as well.
- The only toll road in the area is the Coquihalla Highway in neighboring province British Columbia.
- Albertans can be licensed to drive as young as 16, though in most regions you will have to be at least 21 to rent a car. Regardless, you’re likely to face a young-driver surcharge under the age of 25.
Cheap Car Rental in Calgary
Automobile hire in Calgary typically starts at around $30 a day, but is sometimes available as low as $19 a day. Here are some of the best deals in Calgary:
- Toyota Yaris or similar (economy class) – $29/day
- Chevrolet Sonic or similar (compact class) – $30/day
- Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $32/day
- Volkswagen Passat or similar (standard class) – $37/day
- Nissan Altima or similar (fullsize class) – $38/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in Calgary
There appears to be very little seasonal variation in price for rental cars in Calgary, as international and local rental agencies offer cars at around $30 year round. Instead, the best way to save money on automobile hire is by being deliberate with your pick-up and drop-off locations. By far the cheapest rental brand is Nu, located at the Calgary International Airport 18 km north of city center. While Alamo, Thrifty, and Budget can offer fairly inexpensive rental options at numerous locations throughout the city, consider picking your car up from the airport to save $5 to $10 a day!
From companies other than Nu, you can also save $5 to $10 per daily rental by extending your rental period to over a week.