In this series, I will talk about how to use Buffalo as an alternate airport to Toronto.
- Buffalo Airport Overview
- Examples of savings
- Driving to Buffalo Airport from Toronto
- Where to park at Buffalo Airport
- Getting to Buffalo Airport – The 1-way Car Rental
- Getting to Buffalo Airport – Bus, Shuttle & Taxis
- Using Buffalo Airport when visiting Toronto
Although I have focused on getting TO Buffalo airport for people who live in Toronto area, Buffalo airport actually is a great option for people visiting Toronto. In this post, I’ll talk about the best way to get from Buffalo Airport to Toronto if you are visiting Toronto.
People who are flying into Buffalo to visit Toronto have all the same options that people from Toronto have to get to the airport. If you re interested in taking the bus or a taxi / shuttle, please check out the other posts in this series.
For people who are visiting Toronto for a short period of time, renting a car at Buffalo airport and driving to Toronto is a great option. As stated above, the drive from Buffalo airport to Toronto is about 2 hours, depending on where you are going in Toronto. Renting a car in Buffalo is a great option. For people staying for extended periods of time, possibly more than a week, the daily rental car charges might end up costing more than the savings. You will have to do your own analysis for your specific situation.
Renting a car at BUF
The car rental counters and cars are very close to the terminal. The advantages of the small airport really shine here. On a good day, you can be in your rental car 5 minutes after you get off your plane. Compare that to Toronto Pearson airport, where I have walked 15 minutes after getting into the terminal to get to my rental car counter.
The car rental rates are very reasonable at Buffalo airport. There are often weekend specials for $20 or $25 / day, and you can usually get a 3 day weekend for under $100 with everything included, including insurance.
Buffalo is in New York State and the insurance laws are specific to each state. In New York State, your credit card insurance will only cover you for CDW, which is damage to the rental car. Liability insurance (often $12/day) will be covered by your personal auto insurance if you pay for that option. In Ontario, the rental car company is required to have liability insurance. I personally always buy the liability insurance when renting cars in New York State.
As always, when renting a car, ensure that you pay using a credit card that comes with car rental insurance included. As stated above, credit card rental insurance will only cover damage to the rental car. You will be responsible for any damage you do to other property as a result of your driving.
All of the major car rental companies are represented on site at Buffalo Niagara Airport:
- National Car
The taxes are usually higher at the airport than elsewhere. A trick I have done is look for off-airport locations near the airports which often have significantly discounted rates but in my experience, I haven’t found there to be much savings going this route. If you do find that there is a discount, then you can pick up your car at the Budget Rent-A-Car directly across from the airport and save on your taxes.
I often use www.rentalcarmomma.com to find coupons for rental cars. I also find that Hotwire and Priceline are good options to book through, as they guarantee the cars to be from the major carriers.
Canadian residents used to be restricted from bringing US rental cars into Canada. This restriction was recently lifted during the summer of 2012. Just be sure to inform that rental car company at the counter that you are intending on bringing the car to Canada.
If you are visiting Toronto and you are using Buffalo airport for both your inbound and outbound flights, then renting a car at BUF is a good idea. The car rental agencies are very close to the terminal and you can generally get a car for about $20/day. I also suggest buying the liability insurance from the car rental agency, or at least confirm that you have liability insurance from your personal car insurance before you go.