Ultimate All-Inclusive Deal Finder
Abbotsford Calgary Charlottetown Comox Deer Lake Edmonton Fort McMurray Grande Prairie Halifax Hamilton Kamloops Kelowna London Moncton Montreal Ottawa Prince George Quebec City Regina Saint John Saskatoon St. John's Thunder Bay Toronto Victoria Winnipeg
Vancouver The Best Deals From Vancouver Vancouver to Canada & USA Vancouver to All Inclusive Destinations Vancouver to Everywhere Else General Vancouver Chatter Promo Codes & 'Alleged' Seat Sales
'How To Get The Best Deal' Guides Articles
Ultimate Package Deal Finder

Saturday, April 19th 2014

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YVR." - Chris Myden



2012
6
December
The Official Guide For Canadians Flying Out Of U.S. Airports (from Vancouver & area)


This guide will attempt to organize everything someone living in the Vancouver area might want to know about flying out of U.S. airports.

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.

Flying out of Bellingham, Washington (BLI)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Bellingham airport is one hour from Vancouver (80 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

Good deals out of Bellingham are typically found on 2 airlines, Alaska Air and Allegiant Air. (Although there has been the occasional deal on Delta). There's also Frontier Airlines which flys to various U.S. cities (Chicago, Dallas, Denver, etc).

strengths:

A lot of people fly out of Bellingham to get to Las Vegas, which can be significantly cheaper than flying out of YVR. Allegiant also started flying to Hawaii relatively recently, and there's been some pretty crazy deals, bringing stiff competition to Alaska Airlines, who flys direct to multiple Hawaiian islands. There can also be good fares to California and Arizona.

weaknesses:

Internationally, deals out of Bellingham are less likely to be much cheaper, or can involve more complicated and lengthier routes than flying out of YVR. It's a smaller airport, and it's strengths are serving the U.S. destinations listed above. Also, when comparing costs, be aware that Allegiant charges extra for absolutely everything, including even carry-on luggage now.

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Bellingham:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

Go to the YVR vs BLI worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Bellingham is about $100/person less than the flight from Vancouver, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Bellingham is at least $200 less per person than the flight from Vancouver, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

How much is parking?

Parking is currently $9 to $10/day, according to the Bellingham Airport website.

You can also park at WikiWiki Park N Shuttle for $8/day.

There is also a company called Designated Park & Ride which offers parking for $5/day, but it looks like you would also need to pay for a taxi ride of $8 each way, and reservations are required.

Is there any public transportation from Vancouver to Bellingham airport?

QuickCoach - $39 roundtrip

BoltBus - $12 roundtrip - but does not go to the airport. It stops about 4.5 km from the airport [google map]

Amtrak Train or Bus - $28 roundtrip - but does not go to the airport.

Links

Bellingham Airport Website


Flying out of Seattle, Washington (SEA)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Seattle airport is 2 hours and 40 minutes from Vancouver (250 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

Seattle is a major U.S. airport, with practically every airline you can think of. There have been some truly amazing deals out of Seattle in the past, notably to international destinations.

strengths:

Being a relatively large U.S. airport, with so many airlines serving it, the chances of a great deal out of SEA are high. It's usually a question of whether the price differential is great enough to warrant the nearly 3 hour drive each way.

weaknesses:

The 3 hour drive each way!

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Seattle:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

If you've downloaded the Excel file, please note that you will need to switch to the YVR vs SEA worksheet at the bottom of Excel.

Go to the YVR vs SEA worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Seattle is about $250/person less than the flight from Vancouver, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Seattle is at least $350 less per person than the flight from Vancouver, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

How much is parking?

Parking is currently around $13/day, $75/week at Park N Fly Seattle.

At SeaTac Park the rates are $11/day, or $70/week

If you stay at a hotel near Seattle airport, parking your car is often free while you travel.

Is there any public transportation from Vancouver to Seattle airport?

Quick Coach - $86 roundtrip

Amtrak Train or Bus - $80 roundtrip - but does not go to the airport.

Bolt Bus - $36 roundtrip - but does not go to the airport. From the drop-off station, you can take the LightRail system close by, to the airport, for $2.75/person. Look for the southbound platform.

Links

Seattle Airport Website

Getting To U.S. Airports from Victoria

To Seattle

The most direct option from Victoria to Seattle is the Victoria Clipper - passengers only - $99 roundtrip.

Otherwise, and probably best only if you have a car -- ferry to Port Angeles and then drive to Seattle, or the Swartz Bay - Tsawwassen BC Ferries route (more sailings, but then the Peace Arch border crossing instead of the very fast Port Angeles check)

To Bellingham

There are no really great ways to get to Bellingham quickly and easily.

There is ferry service between Sidney and Anacortes (which is closer to Bellingham) but again, a car is probably necessary. The ferry service is year round, but in the summer there are more regular sailings.

You can take a shuttle to YVR from the bus station downtown, and then another "quick shuttle" service from YVR to Bellingham airport. But the wait times can really start to add up.

See Something Wrong?

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.





Send this to someone by e-mail




People That Liked This Page Also Liked:

tags for this post You may also want to check out pages that were tagged with:

Be The First To Know About The Next Amazing Deal!

Head to the YVR Deals Alerts Page where you can choose to be notified by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or RSS Feed the moment an amazing travel deal from Vancouver is found.

Setting up alerts allows you to be one of the first to see a new deal, before it sells out.
And don't worry, alerts are only sent when it's truly an amazing deal.

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

Subscribe to Our Feed!

Comments from Facebookers

Comments from Everyone Else

15 Responses to "The Official Guide For Canadians Flying Out Of U.S. Airports (from Vancouver & area)"


    Has B been here?
       B on December 6th, 2012

    you forgot about Quickshuttle and the other shuttle buses to Seattle and Bellingham airports.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on December 6th, 2012

    Thanks B, I've added public transportation info to Bellingham and Seattle. Let me know if I'm still missing any!

    Has Anonymous been here?
       Anonymous on December 6th, 2012

    How about Amtrak train/bus from Vancouver to Seattle/Bellingham? I always take this one for convenience.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on December 6th, 2012

    Thanks! Added info about Amtrak. It seems like BoltBus would usually be a much better deal to Seattle?

    Has Spaz been here?
       Spaz on December 6th, 2012

    Great article. My fndings are the same as before. They were done several years ago. When I tell people about my findings, they say one of two things: My calcs are wrong or saving $100 per person is still a saving $100. They also like the idea of attaining bragging rights to tell people they've paid $X dollars for the airfare without taking into account all the other factors, typically rationalizing or justifying the other expenses making it still worth it.

    Has Michelle been here?
       Michelle on December 7th, 2012

    You forgot to add the cost of assigned seating at BLI. If you don't want to be herded like Cattle and play musical chairs to get a seat, you're forced to pay additional fees for pre-assigned seating.

    Has anon been here?
       anon on December 7th, 2012

    Bolt bus also goes to Bellingham costco.

    Has Mike been here?
       Mike on December 7th, 2012

    This is just what I was looking for!
    Thank you for sharing your research and analysis Chris!

    Any chance that we'll see a supplemental analysis that includes transportation options to Bellingham and Seattle airports from Victoria in the near future?

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on December 7th, 2012

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Mike: I'll look at adding some info on public transport from Victoria. If anyone out there is familiar with getting to BLI or SEA from Victoria by public transport, give me a shout.

    Has Huh been here?
       Huh on December 7th, 2012

    Is Costco going to drive you to the airport? #boltbus

    Has Bill Metcalfe been here?
       Bill Metcalfe on December 7th, 2012

    Spokane airport, for people in the Kootenays and Okanagan.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on December 12th, 2012

    Bill: I'll take a look at that for YLWdeals.com out of Kelowna

    Has luc been here?
       luc on December 16th, 2012

    I suggest to add a list of recommended hotels near BLI/SEA which also offer free parking and a shuttle.

    Has Chris_Myden been here?
       Chris_Myden on December 17th, 2012

    Luc: Sounds good, anyone have any favorites?

    Has arjaykay been here?
       arjaykay on December 26th, 2012

    One possibly big omission in your BLI/SEA calculations is food! If you need a hotel, you at least need dinner &/or breakfast

Comments are automatically closed 30 days after the post is made.










Join The YVR Deals Facebook Group
    What happens when over 13,000 people from
    Vancouver...

    * crowdsource the best travel deals from YVR?

    * offer up their unbiased travel advice?

    Join the group and find out!


(click 'Join Group', at the top-right, when you arrive)




Find Chris On Google+