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Old Apr 22, 06, 11:03 am   #1
 
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Driving from Burlington to Montreal?

With the ridiculous fares to anywhere in Canada from NYC, my husband and I are considering flying to Burlington (which has great fares on all airlines thanks to JetBlue) and then making the two hour drive to Montreal. I'm already in Toronto one time this summer to visit my grandparents, so the $400 flat fee for an hour long plane ride on a regional jet has me a little bit edgy!

Yes, we know it's only 6 hours total from NYC, but (1) we hate summer driving traffic and (2) we don't own a car, and the price of a rental is often prohibitively expensive--such that we are better off flying + renting from the Burlington airport.

Has anybody ever done this (never mind NYC, but elsewhere)? Is there anything interesting to see along the way to make it worthwhile? Are we being silly trying to save by doing this? Could we get around Montreal without a car if we just flew there instead? Is the drive somehow considerably more than the 2 hours mapquest advertises (i.e., lots of traffic)? We are probably only going to go for about 5 nights, so would prefer not to waste more time than necessary for the money in transit.

My other thought was to do a combo hotel/airfare package, which seems somewhat less ridiculous given the airfare -- it's only a couple of hundred more per person to get the package than just the airfare, at least on UAL, which is not our preferred carrier, but we'll take if it really is that much less expensive!
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Old Apr 22, 06, 11:25 am   #2
 
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I understand it is very common for people traveling to/from Montreal to use Burlington...between the high fares to YUL and the ridiculously high taxes on transborder tickets, you really save a bundle. JetBlue recently added a 4th flight to BTV...probably because so many people are doing this.
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Old Apr 22, 06, 11:38 am   #3
 
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I know the fares these days from NY area to Montreal are ABSURD - I actually just paid $500 one way! EWR-YUL on AC because I had a final exam to catch the next day, car was in Montreal and the train was sold out.

But anyway, I am a student at McGill (originally from NJ) and I travel to LAX/EWR/LGA quite often. Though I usually drive home to NJ to fly out to LAX, I have on more than one occasion driven to BTV for a significantly cheaper fare to LAX through ORD. Driving from NY certainly is the best option, but you're right - rental car would be ridiculous. The drive from BTV is probably less than 2 hours, depending on customs of course. When will you be entering customs? This will make all the difference, as I have driven BTV-YUL in about 1.5 hours at 10pm with no customs line. I certainly do not think that it will take over 2 hours, unless there is an enormous customs hold up.

Interesting sights are pretty few and far between if I can remember on that particular drive, but you could always visit Burlington, which has plenty of stuff to do. The problem with Quebec sights is that you will enter Quebec pretty close to Montreal, and the urban sprawl (industrial factories, etc..) that comes with it. Traffic probably isn't a huge issue unless you're gonna be driving into Montreal weekday at rush hour (4-6).

I suppose you will have to do a time-cost analysis. Will the jetblue flight+car rental add up to more than the flight non stop from NYC? Does the car rental have a surcharge for going into Canada (though im sure it doesn't). I suggest looking into the train, even though it is 10 hours! which always baffles me. It is $60 each way, and if you have work to do/books to read it can be quite relxaing (great scenery too). Also, leaves from Penn Station and gets right into Gare Central, so it couldn't be any more convenient really (despite the time commitment).

Hope all this helps!
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Old Apr 22, 06, 1:53 pm   #4
 
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I'm glad to know I'm not the only crazy person considering this. I know a lot of people do it for the Buffalo-Toronto stint, but if I recall correctly, that drive is closer to an hour, although I think the border crossing usually takes longer.

We have considered, and ruled out, the train. For a vacation of this length it just doesn't make sense and I think I might kill myself if I spent that long on the train, especially because every train I've ever been on in the US runs late except for the Acela!

Bummer there isn't anything interesting to see
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Old Apr 22, 06, 3:28 pm   #5
 
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I have done it back in 2001 while visitng Burlington. it is (the US Side) a nice drive, after the check point charlie customs the drive is not as pretty, but it is a quick drive. I would say rent a car in BVT and drive it, you will see some great landscape, bridges, water scenes, etc. And after all two hours would be like sitting in NYC Traffic to go from JFK to Manhattan, well not that long but you get the point.
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Old Apr 27, 06, 5:53 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kersie
I'm glad to know I'm not the only crazy person considering this. I know a lot of people do it for the Buffalo-Toronto stint, but if I recall correctly, that drive is closer to an hour, although I think the border crossing usually takes longer.
Buffalo to Toronto, with customs on a good day is at least 2 hrs, typically 2.5 to 3 hrs.
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Old Apr 27, 06, 6:04 am   #7
 
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Old Apr 27, 06, 6:22 am   #8
 
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Border crossing and rush hour traffic aside, it's less than a 2 hour drive from Burlington to Montreal by highway. I do that trip occasionally on my bicycle from north of Burlington and it's only 75 miles (on back roads). There isn't much to see on the way by taking the highway, but you could take Route 2 through the Champlain Islands to the border, and cut across the Quebec farmlands after that. If you're interested, I could give you a route using backroads that will take you across the border at a small crossing without the traffic backups of the larger ones, and can send you down a road that had one of the most spectacular home flower gardens that I have ever seen.

If you're staying in downtown Montreal, you'll probably find it hard to escape from paying for parking, unless you want to shuffle your car from space to space. However, if you're going to be there for 5 days, you may want to have a car for part of that time to see things away from the city (Laurentian mountains, etc.). You may be perfectly happy spending 5 days right in the city, it all depends on what you like to see and do and the pace at which you like to do it.

You didn't ask for any restaurant suggestions, but let me mention Le P'tit Plateau, a very good bring-your-own-wine French bistro that is not at all stuffy and is reasonably priced.
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Old Apr 27, 06, 8:53 am   #9
 
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I believe you must have proof of insurance with you when driving in Canada. Check with rental agency before or call AAA. This may be an added expense
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Old Apr 27, 06, 10:53 am   #10
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Having rented, driven, and been pulled over on both sides of the border, my experience is that a rental from even a moderately reputable company should come with all the insurance you need to comply.

Additionally, though the OP doesn't own a car (for some people, insurance from their home car can give added protection while renting) your credit card will likely provide any additional coverage you need (check your terms...).
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Old Apr 27, 06, 11:07 am   #11
 
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Last fall we drove to Burlington, stayed overnight, then took the ferry across Lake Champlain to Port Kent. We visited Ausable Chasm (my 17 year old son actually thought it was pretty cool) and then drove up to Montreal. Very easy drive. Montreal does have a decent subway system, but depending upon where you want to visit, you may find it easier to have a car.
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Old May 5, 06, 9:50 am   #12
 
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think we have decided to do a package with a hotel, since the combined value seems to be better than driving from Burlington. We may rent a car for a day or two in Montreal if we decide to do anything outside the city. Now the only question is which hotel to pick with the package....
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Old May 7, 06, 11:42 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kersie
Now the only question is which hotel to pick with the package....
What are the choices?

BTW, most NYC TAs have LGA to YUL for $220.00+ taxes, booked in Z class. $30.00 more for L class. Z is a 3 day advance, L is no advance no min stay
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Old May 18, 06, 4:23 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rts123
... If you're interested, I could give you a route using backroads that will take you across the border at a small crossing without the traffic backups of the larger ones, and can send you down a road that had one of the most spectacular home flower gardens that I have ever seen.

I'd be very interested in that route! Anything to cut out customs lines and get off the main roads.
thanks!
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Old May 28, 06, 11:50 am   #15
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I have taken this drive many times; I'd do it again in a heartbeat. As someone else pointed out, make sure you have all the required insurance. If you're not going to buy insurance, just call your own carrier so that you are covered for your trip to Canada. It's easy.
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