When visiting Canada, Vancouver is a great stop for a summer travel destination. The city has something to offer everyone – the outdoors, beaches, mountains, museums, a great nightlife and a passion for hockey.
However, flying to Vancouver may not be the best way to get there. If you like to save money as a budget traveler, here are travel tips for finding cheap flights to Vancouver.
Budget travel transportation to Vancouver
For those who want to fly into Seattle and find other ways to get to Vancouver, here are some budget travel options for getting to Vancouver that will save you lots of money.
From Seattle to Vancouver by train, bus, and ferry
No matter where your journey begins, once you arrive in Seattle the different ways to get to Vancouver costs the same for everyone. So the more you saved on your flight by flying to Seattle, you will save that much more on your visit to Vancouver through these budget friendly travel options.
Please note all prices use a sample itinerary – depart Seattle to Vancouver June 10 and return from Vancouver to Seattle June 13.
1. Greyhound bus from Seattle to Vancouver – Purchasing a non-refundable round trip bus ticket from Seattle to Vancouver will cost you $48. There are about 5 buses scheduled throughout the day each way and the total time of the journey each way is about 4 hours.
Bus departs from the Greyhound bus station at 811 Stewart St in Seattle. Book your ticket at Greyhound.
2. Cantrail bus from Seattle to Vancouver - Current routes and pricing are only through April 1. However, a round trip bus ticket from Seattle costs $72. Buses leave mid morning to mid afternoon and the total time of the journey is 3 to 4 hours each way.
Bus departs from the Amtrak Station at 303 South Jackson St in Seattle. Book your ticket at Cantrail.
3. Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver – Take the Amtrak Cascades train for $72 round trip from Seattle ($13 more each way for business class). There are only 2 train departures each day – 1 early morning, and 1 early evening for both Seattle and Vancouver. Buy a round trip ticket on Amtrak by us from Seattle to Vancouver for $80 with departures from morning to late in the evening. Total time of the journey is 4 hours each way (bus or train).
Trains and buses depart from the Amtrak Station at 303 South Jackson St in Seattle. Book your tickets on Amtrak.
4. GotoBus from Seattle to Vancouver - Purchase a round trip ticket by bus from downtown Seattle to downtown Vancouver for $69.70. From SeaTac airport, you can buy a ticket for $93 round trip. Buses depart from morning to late evening and take about 3 1/2 hours each way.
From downtown Seattle, depart from 200 Taylor Avenue North in Seattle. Other departure is from the airport. Book your tickets at GotoBus.
5. Quick Shuttle from Seattle to Vancouver - Purchase a round trip ticket from the Seattle airport to downtown Vancouver for $81.70 or from downtown Seattle for $48.45. Buses from the airport and downtown depart from early morning to late evening and the total journey is 4 to 5 hours each way. Travel documentation required when booking.
From downtown Seattle, depart from 200 Taylor Avenue North in Seattle. Other departure is from the airport. Book your tickets at Quickshuttle.
6. Ferry service from Seattle to Vancouver - Unfortunately, there is no direct ferry between Seattle and Vancouver. A ferry from Seattle to Victoria, BC is available on the Victoria Clipper and a ferry from Victoria to Vancouver is run by BC Ferries. Planning this trip will take time. However, a round trip ferry on the Victoria Clipper costs $95 and a round trip ticket on BC ferries costs $27.50. Departure times and time of journey will vary.
Car rental – Seattle to Vancouver
For the sample itinerary of June 10 – June 13, a car rental from Seattle’s airport will cost about $107. However, getting a car from one of the suburbs in Seattle is as low as $36.66 for the same dates. Note that you would have to get transportation to and from the car rental (though some car rentals may pick you up).
A car rental is not the cheapest option but it may save you money by not flying into Vancouver. Remember to include the price of gas into the trip and that prices will vary based on your dates and drop off and pick up locations. Also note you may not use a car much in Vancouver with the public transportation available inside the city. You may also have to pay to park your car in a hotel garage.
Booking through the car rental sites may get you a good deal. However, FareSpotter and CarRentals are two sites that offer great deals as well as online travel sites. Having a car does give you a lot of flexibility and would be good for longer trips to Vancouver where you could explore more of the area.
From Seattle airport to ferry, bus, and train stations
When taking a bus, train, or ferry, the cost of getting to the stations or pier will factor into your trip. However, the cheapest way to get to all of these places is the Central Link Light Rail.
A one-way ticket costs $2.50 and the travel time to downtown Seattle is about 30 minutes. For the transportation options from Seattle to Vancouver, here is where they leave from and the nearest Central Link Light Rail station from Seattle:
- Amtrak train station – train to Vancouver, 303 South Jackson St (International District/Chinatown station). Walking distance 0.1 miles map
- Greyhound Bus – bus to Vancouver, 811 Stewart St Greyhound Bus Station (Westlake station). Walking distance 0.4 miles map
- Cantrail Bus – bus to Vancouver, 303 South Jackson St (International District/Chinatown station). Walking distance 0.1 miles map
- Goto Bus – bus to Vancouver, depart from Sea-Tac airport
- Quick Shuttle – bus to Vancouver, depart from Sea-Tac airport
- Victoria Clipper – ferry to Victoria, BC (take BC ferries to Vancouver from Victoria). Victoria Clipper located at Pier 69, (Westlake station), Walking distance 1.0 mile map
- Car rental – available at the Sea-Tac airport. However, cheapest car rental rate in Seattle located in Burien.
When booking your transportation options from Seattle to Vancouver, it is important that your passport is up-to-date. While you wont’ need it for the flight to Seattle, you will need it for whichever route you take to Vancouver.
Not every passenger needs a passport as other documentation can be presented. Get more information on passport application and renewal as well as other documentation for travel to Vancouver (or anywhere else in the world).
From Seattle to Vancouver for $20
Here’s an interesting blog post about a journey from Seattle to Vancouver using only public transit. The border crossing includes walking across the border rather than traveling and the total time took 9 hours. Not the recommended way to get there and the prices have changed since 2009 but an interesting option nonetheless.
Arriving and departing from Vancouver
Once you are in Vancouver, pay attention to where your bus, train, or ferry arrives. For maps and public transportation in Vancouver, check out Why Go Canada’s Vancouver page for ways to get around, where to eat and stay, and what to see and do.
Have you been to Vancouver? What budget travel tips do you have for getting to and around Vancouver?
Vancouver train station (Flickr: Leedman)