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I'm currently planning a trip in Canada. We'll be flying into Vancouver from Los Angeles, then taking the VIA Rail from Vancouver to Jasper. The plan was to rent a car at Jasper then drive to Calgary. We'll be stopping along the way to see the sites, and from Calgary we'll fly out.

It seems much more common to go the other way from Calgary to Jasper. I'm curious as to how the drive is.

Also, does anyone know if there are any rental services that would allow us to rent a car in Jasper and return it in Calgary? I'm not sure how relevant this would be, but just FYI we're both foreigners and I'm aware that some rental companies have different policies for foreigner car rentals.

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There are two routes from Jasper to Calgary:

The dull (and long) route is east on Hwy 16 toward Edmonton then south on Hwy 2.

The nice (but very crowded in summer) is south on 93 through Banff.

Edmonton is not worth visiting, unless you really, really want to see the West Edmonton Mall. Source: used to live in Edmonton.

Any national rental car company will rent you a one-way. Looks like your choices in Jasper are Avis, Budget and National. Expect it to cost several times that of a regular rental.

This kind of trip in the winter months is 100% NOT recommended - the weather can turn very nasty with little notice.

Worthwhile side-trips on the scenic route are the Colombia Icefields, Lake Louise, Field and Takakkaw falls. Skip the Banff townsite - it's an overpriced shopping mall now. Source: also lived in Calgary, been to all of the above.

Americans are not normally considered "foreigners" in Canada. You won't have any problems renting a car.

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  • Just because they're flying from Los Angeles doesn't mean that they're US citizens. – mkennedy Dec 29 '19 at 18:55
  • @mkennedy agree completely, but since OP didn't say otherwise, I go with the information available at the time. Also possible OP is Elbonian with a California driver's license and credit card - any business in Canada would consider them close enough to American. – peter Dec 30 '19 at 3:35
  • Apologies for lack of specification. I'm actually not American, but Korean. I lived in the US for most of my life but don't have citizenship. If driving is "100% not recommended" then do you recommed we take one of those train tour things? – Seankala Dec 30 '19 at 3:52
  • @Seankala your passport only matters getting into Canada. As long as it's a South Korea passport you can come right in. If your drivers license and credit card are American the car rental company won't care. Otherwise you need an International Driving Permit. And I said the trip is not recommended IN WINTER. Great journey between May and October. – peter Dec 30 '19 at 4:00
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    Calgary->Jasper and Jasper->Calgary is the same road. Once again, it's the Icefields Parkway that is the problem. Going north it will tease you with hours of good driving on Hwy.1, going south you learn it's closed early on. If you go the boring route you'll be fine, other than the massive bill for the one-way car. – peter Dec 30 '19 at 6:39
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The Icefields Parkway is well worth taking (it has its own website) but even in July it can be closed due to snow. I remember that snow chains were required (or maybe just provided) with the rental when I travelled there 20 summers ago, and in fact it snowed lightly in June during the drive. Thus: not recommended in February.

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