Most convenient way to get from Vancouver International to Seattle
May 29, 2016 2:38 AM   Subscribe

What is the most convenient way to get from Vancouver International Airport to downton Seattle with an 8 year old in tow and plenty of luggage? Visiting Seattle this summer but flying into Vancouver because flights are much cheaper. Now, how do I get from the aiport to downton Seattle with minimum hassle, and yet economically? What are my options?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, BC (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You cannot conveniently get from Vancouver to Seattle without hassle, economically. You pay for less hassle, or you accept the hassle for lower prices.

There are four ways I can think of to get to Seattle from Vancouver. Air, car, bus, train.

You've already eliminated air.

Bus takes about six hours. There are a variety of bus companies doing this route. Some pick up at the airport. Some have extremely low promotional deals. An eight year old will be mighty bored. Even with that, the prices might imply this is your best solution.

Train for 1 adult, 1 child is about $81 one way. You'll need a shuttle to the train station. At least the 8 year old can walk the aisles.

You can easily search for car rental prices.

Best of luck. Sorry to sound so negative.
posted by blob at 6:09 AM on May 29, 2016

Economical: use the Skytrain from the Airport and ride the Canada Line to Waterfront Station downtown. Transfer to the Expo Line and ride it two stops to Main Street Station. The main train station -- Pacific Central -- is steps away and you can take an Amtrak to Seattle. There's an early morning train (6:30 a.m.) and an evening train (5:30 p.m.), and the scenic journey takes about four hours. Tickets are $30-50 depending on when you book. Alternatively, you can taxi from the airport to Pacific Central Station (about $40), or use a car share service like car2go.

You could also search for a seat sale on a seaplane from harbour to harbour, if you want to make the trip faster.
posted by ageispolis at 6:11 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

With luggage and a kid I would rent a car.
posted by bq at 6:37 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am doubtful that you can do a one-way car rental across an international border much cheaper than flying -- also might be complicated if you are not a Canadian or US citizen.
posted by ageispolis at 7:17 AM on May 29, 2016 [4 favorites]

I was going to suggest shuttling over to Victoria and taking the ferry but it looks like they upgraded to a high speed ferry with much higher costs. Still the coolest if you're up for the adventure. But clicking around I saw a bus service that may hit your criteria. Still may need to shuttle to a hotel as it seems to assume if you're at an airport you'll fly to the next airport.. :-)
posted by sammyo at 8:26 AM on May 29, 2016

Bolt Bus or train. It'll be a long trip with an 8 year old. It will also depend where you're trying to get to in Seattle, as you may need to take a cab from the bus or train station.
posted by k8t at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2016

Are you traveling with the 8-year-old as a single parent? If so, there can be issues crossing the border if you don't plan in advance. However, as my impression from your previous questions is that you're not a US or Canadian citizen, and will have tickets showing your flight home from Vancouver and have any needed visas, it may not be an issue. I'd buy a round trip ticket from Vancouver to Seattle to show you're returning to Vancouver for your flight home.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:07 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, you can take a connecting flight from the Vancouver airport to Seattle. More expensive than other ways but shorter and more convenient than ground transportation.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:14 AM on May 29, 2016

Plan on most of a day for this trip! Driving + customs can easily take 6 hours.
posted by miyabo at 9:32 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Quick Shuttle is probably the easiest and fastest solution (you take a bus 15 minutes to River Rock Casino and then get on the bus to Seattle there). Amtrak is the most pleasant (but it only runs twice per day and it takes the better part of an hour on transit to get from the airport to the train station).
posted by ssg at 9:50 AM on May 29, 2016

I live in Seattle, and this is a trip I've done many many times. There is no fast way. None of it is convienient.

The almost fast way is driving, every other way sucks up a bunch of time. The clipper is sort of fast, but you have to get to Victoria and it's like $100(they have parent-child combo pack tickets). Bolt bus and such are ok, but do seriously take like 6 hours and the border crossing process is annoying and goes through its own separate lane/line and route.

I've never taken the train because it always felt like a bad deal. It isn't all that fast, compared to the other options. It is faster than the bus, but fairly expensive.

Basically anything but driving is going to take the better part of a day. Your best bet would be to get on a bus or train totally at the earliest time you can find.

I would honestly see how much it would cost to add another flight between Vancouver and Seattle compared to the other options. I've seen those be as heal as like $50 before, and anything else you do is going to cost at least that much.
posted by emptythought at 10:30 AM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

When I lived in Seattle, we were going to plan a vacation to Vancouver, (I wanted to see Whistler, actually) and we didn't really want to fly because of their relative proximity. We thought, 'how hard can it be, it's right there.'-- We were hoping it'd be like heading to Portland, which is not too spendy and relatively easy. So we looked into how to easily get to Vancouver without flying. And like others have said, we surmised that there is no easy or cheap way to get from Seattle to Vancouver. That it's ages away and it takes forever, and isn't as cheap as one would think. Flying was pretty much it. But when we looked at prices, flying to Canada seemed to be really expensive. It was much cheaper to go to LA than Vancouver (at the time)-- almost 100 dollars cheaper. Soo... we went to Anaheim instead of Canada. And that's why I haven't been to Canada yet. Sorry, Canada.

Whatever you saved in airfare you will unfortunately spend in time and money and inconvenience. I don't think it's worth it. It sucks but if it were me, I'd try to get a flight, or get the flights changed to just go directly there. Or you know, I hear Vancouver is nice.
posted by Dimes at 3:26 PM on May 29, 2016

Thanks for all the contributions.

I took a second look at my options, and flying from Paris to Vancouver as opposed to flying directly to Seattle would save me no more than US$100 which is really not worth it. And even less so with a kid.
posted by Kwadeng at 3:26 PM on May 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

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