Most tourists will begin their trip in Vancouver, spending a couple of days exploring the city before venturing into the great outdoors. Below you'll find a simple guide to transport around the city, as well as pointers to travelling around BC.
Vancouver's public transport works well within the developed areas of the city. The under/overground (Skytrain) system is very reliable, and a day pass will set you back about $10 (2017). If you’re staying for more than a day and intend to use the bus/train network more than once a day, get yourself a compass card, which you can top up at any Skytrain station. You can buy a compass card at the Skytrain station at the airport, just before you get on the train.
Another great feature of the Vancouver bus network is it's ability to cater for cyclists. The front mounted racks can carry two bikes and cost you nothing extra.
Check out the Translink website for bus and Skytrain infomation.
The Transit app is very popular to lookup bus times, though Google Maps also works well.
A number of schemes have popped up in recent years allowing fast and effortless car rentals, with cars being unlocked at the touch of a button from your smart phone. Cars have no minimum rental period, and you're not constrained by office hours to reserve a car which makes them ideal for quick trips around the city at any time of day. If you're looking for an easy way to get to Deep Cove or Grouse Mountain, you can easily keep these pool cars for a day.
- Car2Go - Best rates for short journeys. Car pooling made simple. Use the app to find a nearby car. Reserve up to 30 minutes in advance. Unlock with your phone. Pay per minute.
- EVO - Best for those with bikes or skiis. Similarly, the EVO scheme gives you seamless car pooling, but with the addition of bike and ski racks on the roof.
- ZipCar - Best for existing members. Again, very similar to Car2Go above. As far as I know, ZipCar is the most globally established car pooling scheme. Unless you're already a member, this probably isn't the best option for short term visitors as you'll either pay a joining fee, or you join their pay monthly plans.
You'll want to sign up to these well in advance of your trip as it takes a little time to process your license validation. Each car pool scheme also has a decent number of designated car parks around the city so you don’t have to look for a roadside space.
Check out our advice on car rental in BC. Make sure you read thoroughly your insurance documents as North American insurance is very different to that in Europe.
Wicked Campers have a fleet of wacky campers with pop up roof tents. With their flamboyant designs you'll be getting noticed that's for sure!
Alternatively, Travel BC have a comprehensive list of RV rental companies on their website.
Long Distance Coaches
Greyhound offer frequent, reliable and reasonably priced coach travel between most cities in BC. You'll find their website here.
Bus to Whistler
A few companies will take you to Whistler and back for about $35 CAD. These companies were set up with skiers in mind, so you'll have enough time for a day on the slopes - be ready for an early start!
- Whistler Rides
- Epic Rides
- Snow Bus
- Car Sharing
The most well used car sharing website is Poparide, which was founded by a Vancouver resident to help people hitch a ride to Whistler. It's now used across North America and makes for great value travel between all major cities.