Car rental Ottawa Airport

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Make your move with an Ottawa car rental

With a rental car from Ottawa Airport, you can see not only this fabulous city but all that lies beyond. And there’s plenty on that list: elegant Montréal, the Great Lakes, the US border, and all of the great nation of Canada. Find your airport car hire, collect some ideas, and start planning—the adventure starts here.

Ottawa airport car rental locations

Most rental companies supplying to Ottawa International Airport (YOW) have depots on the airport itself, which is located around eight miles south of the city center. These can be found in the Parkade building opposite the terminal.

If you are using an “off-airport” supplier such as Routes Car Rental, a free shuttle is provided to the depot nearby.

A bridge over a river towards the city in Ottawa.

Important information for your Ottawa car rental adventure

Ottawa International Airport guide

Officially named Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (IATA: YOW), the city’s airport is a busy hub for air transport in the National Capital Region. It has one large terminal and two runways used by commercial airlines. The terminal is home to many pieces of art commissioned from Canadian artists, including a traditional birch bark canoe and an inukshuk (manmade stone landmark or cairn).

Shopping available at Ottawa Airport ranges from a Best Buy electronics dispenser to a duty-free outlet selling luxury goods. Eateries offer pub fare, takeaways, coffee, and more. Comfort facilities for passengers include an adult change room, animal relief area, guest lounge (paid access), and free Wifi.

Car rentals Ottawa airport counters are located in the Parkade, directly across from the terminal. This is also where car parking is available, which can be booked online.

Guide to driving in Ottawa

To stay safe and have a road trip that’s memorable in all the right ways, it’s important to be prepared with some local knowledge and awareness of the road rules in Ottawa and beyond. Here are our top tips for drivers new to the area—we hope they will get you off to a good start:

  • Always drive on the right side of the road in Canada. If you are used to driving on the left, take an hour or two to practice on quiet roads.
  • Ottawa’s downtown area is laid out as a grid, making it relatively easy to navigate. However, be aware that many streets are one-way routes. This will be indicated by signage, so keep your eye peeled.
  • Be prepared for roundabout intersections! These are common in Ottawa. Give way to all traffic already on the roundabout, and travel around it in an anti-clockwise direction.
  • Ottawa and the surrounding regions—in fact, all of Canada—get cold and snowy in winter. Check with your rental company that they provide winter tires when necessary.
  • The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in Ottawa is 0.08%.
  • The US border is not far from Ottawa. If you’re planning to head across, ensure that this is permitted in your rental agreement. You should also check the current customs and immigration rules to make sure that you have the right to enter the USA and that you are not bringing anything illegal across with you.

Ottawa car rental destinations

A set of rented wheels can take you in many directions from Ottawa. If you’re planning to see some more of Canada with a long road trip, you might consider a one-way hire finishing somewhere like Toronto or London. A car hire adventure in Hamilton or Montréal is also a popular choice.

If you’re sticking closer to Ottawa, never fear: there are so many amazing places to explore and enjoy in the city and the immediate surroundings. Here are just a few ideas to get you started planning your Ottawa car rental adventure.

Parliament Hill

This iconic Ottawa landmark is located right in the center of the city, overlooking the Ottawa River. The very striking historical building is full of Canadian history, and a tour here will be enlightening and interesting.

Canadian Museum of History

Canada’s national museum of history and the most visited in the country, this place is a must-see. It is located in the Hull section of Gatineau, Quebec, right across the river from the parliament buildings.

More museums

There is a very wide array of museums in Ottawa, making it the ideal destination for history lovers. Take your pick: the Science and Technology Museum, the National Gallery, the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Aviation and Space Museum, and many more.

Westboro Beach

Did you know that you can visit a beach in Ottawa? Westboro beach on the Ottawa River is a popular place to walk, swim, eat and enjoy. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer.

Rideau Canal

This waterway is a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site. It winds through the city center and eventually connects it with Lake Ontario. In the summer you can walk its banks or travel it by boat, and in the winter you can ice skate along it.

Merrickville

Less than an hour’s drive from Ottawa is this charming town dubbed “Canada’s Most Beautiful Village”. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip from the city and features plenty of artisan shops, galleries, and antique stores.

Fitzroy Provincial Park

45 minutes’ drive west from Ottawa is Fitzroy Provincial Park, a beautiful spot with multiple campgrounds, beaches, a century-old White Pine forest, and plenty of opportunity for water-based recreation. A fantastic summer destination.

An Ottawa sign in a city square.

What our customers say

She was awesome, great lady over the phone, She explained everything in detail.
Anthony Unabor
Having had an awful service with QEEB, despite having booked a car months ago, we needed to look for a new provider. It is only 3 weeks until our holiday so I was worried that we would face an expensive car hire. GoSee had reasonably priced cars and the experience was hugely different to that of QEEB.
GoSee website was easy to use, straight forward and we were able to save a quote for the car we were interested in. A member of the GoSee team called that evening to make sure we had all of the information we needed and she sent us through the quote again... Thank you for making a stressful situation much more tolerable!!
Catherine
fast reaction on our request
Huub
The whole booking experience was alright. The necessary information was given to find the right choice.
Rene Beyer
Online booking process was nice and easy, no complications at all. Confirmation email sent soon after booking is completed.
Max
There was no problems from the initial on line booking to returning the car to Perth Airport.
Lorraine
Easy and efficient with a competitive price to boot!
Jerry O Gorman
This company is very good. They have saved me money.
Barry Rose
The call centre agent was polite, knowledgable , courteous and very pleasant to deal with.
Shirley Williams

Ottawa Airport car rental: Frequently asked questions

See all of our FAQs

How much does it cost to rent a car from Ottawa Airport?

The price of your rental car from Ottawa International Airport (YOW) will depend on the supplier and vehicle that you choose, the time of the year, and any current specials or deals. GoSee is committed to ensuring that you always get the lowest prices we can negotiate.

As a rough guide, you might expect to pay around CAD$50 per day for the cheapest car rentals from Ottawa Airport, and up to CAD$300+ for a luxury car, SUV, people-mover, or other top-of-the-range option.

Is it cheaper to get a rental car at the airport?

Airport car rental prices are similar to those found elsewhere in Ottawa. IF you are planning to fly in and rent elsewhere in the city, remember to factor in the cost of other transport.

Which car rental companies in Ottawa have updated their vehicle cleaning and safety policies because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Many international and Canadian rental companies have special safety policies created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out more on their websites.

What type of car is recommended for driving in Ottawa?

This will depend on your itinerary! For cruising the city, a compact car or small sedan will be the most convenient. For a longer road trip out of Ottawa, you may prefer the space and comfort offered by a larger sedan or SUV. If you are traveling in winter, ensure that your vehicle will be fitted with winter tires. Contact the rental office directly to request winter tires ahead of your vehicle reservation date to determine availability and pricing.

Can I book now and pay later for my car rental in Ottawa?

Yes—look for “pay later” in the listed features of any vehicle.

How old do I have to be to book an Ottawa car rental?

Most suppliers in Canada require that you be 21 years of age or older to rent a car. Some companies will allow drivers aged 18 and over to rent vehicles, but there often are youthful driver charges applied.

You can enter your age when searching to see only vehicles that are available for you.

What do I need to bring when I pick up my car rental from Ottawa Airport? 

Bring the major credit card used for the booking and your rental confirmation paperwork. To book and drive rental cars in Ottawa, the renter should likewise be qualified as the main driver who possesses a valid driver's license in his / her name. Remember that temporary driver's licenses are prohibited.

For non-residents of Canada or those who have not secured a Canadian driver's license, the home country driver's license plus international driver's permit / IDP must be brought during the entire rental period. The individual's home country license should also have a photo. Any temporary license or expired home state license will not be enough. US driver's license is generally accepted, however certain car rental locations may have different mandates according to various licensing laws. Note that digital licenses are still being tested, and so, refer to the driver's license information policy of your state about these. It is best practice to bring along additional government-issued identification at all times which supports the home country license, like a valid passport.

Aside from the hirer, only permitted additional driver is allowed to drive the rental vehicle any time during the rental period. Any additional authorized driver should be listed through the booking process, the same laws governing the renter's driver's license are imposed on the driver's licenses of all authorized drivers.

Is it possible to book a one-way car rental at Ottawa Airport? 

Yes, most of the car rentals Ottawa suppliers have depots in other cities throughout Canada. When searching, specify your preferred pick-up and drop-off locations. 

Are there car rentals with unlimited mileage?

Yes, many car rental Ottawa Airport deals come with unlimited mileage. This will be indicated in the search listing under the free benefits section.

What is the speed limit in Ottawa?

The speed limit for urban roads ranges between 40 and 60 kilometers per hour. Freeways are usually set at 80-100 kilometers per hour. Always check the posted signs for an accurate speed limit.