5 Most Needed Documents for Car Rental in Canada if You are a U.S. American living in Germany

Traveling is a wonderful thing. I have come to the point to believe it would be easier to rent a car in Uzbekistan and drive it into Turkmenistan. At least, security could not be much tighter. Our rental procedure is so complicated as we are heading to an exotic country… such as Canada.

We have been having a challenging time trying to get a rental car for when we arrive in Halifax/Canada. We could not anticipate the difficulties we would encounter when a U.S. American, residing in Germany, wants to rent a car in Canada AND take it across the U.S. border.

The first stage included finding a car rental agency who would even rent a car to an U.S. American in Canada. Out of the about 30 car rental agencies on the Canadian market, only two were willing to let us rent a car. We settled on Alamo as they had the better offer of the two.

Then we gathered the four extra required documents.

* International driver’s license in English. Strange as it might seem, official German paperwork such as the International Driver’s License is issued in German, among various other languages. The very last page is in English. We are still awaiting their confirmation that one page in English is sufficient as we were told “When renting a car in Canada, you must provide an international drivers license that is issued in English.  All the documents that you have to provide must be in English and must be original.”

We have run into so many unexpected challenges along the way, we need to make very sure that one page in English is sufficient.

* German registration

* Certified English translation of the German registration

* Proof of our return tickets

* We also decided to bring my husband’s confirmation of employment in Germany.


Now, if you are foolish like us, you might think “Why not combine our trip to Canada (where we attend a wedding) with a short visit down to Maine?” This is part two of the fun:

* For taking the car into the U.S., we have to get a written addendum in our rental contract that specifically permits us to drive the rental car into the US.

 or we will get into trouble at the Canadian/U.S. border.

Not to mention my German nationality, being the spouse of a U.S. citizen without a green card puts me in the second highest risk group for illegal immigration. If we get through with the car – and myself included – we get to visit a friend, spend some U.S. Dollars, then turn back to Saint John/Canada to visit another friend.

As a German citizen, I have never flown into Canada trying to rent a car with my American husband and his driver’s license. And I don’t think I will ever do this again.

Living with Less Adds More to Life

Whenever I read another  article about decluttering one’s life, I promise myself to clear out more personal things to lighten my load.

On a daily basis, I have set up a little program called One Horrific Item Out (OHIO). In general, the item does not have to be horrific at all. I just have to be horrified enough to have kept it so long.

This could be a chipped vase going in the trash, a small stack of books readied for donation, or some dishes/cutlery for the drop-off table at my husband’s workplace (new teachers do appreciate this a lot).

The first part is the hardest – not always the part of letting go, but making the decision what to do with it. I tend to do more recycling and donating before putting anything in the trash bin.

On any given morning, when I push a salad bowl into my husband’s hands, he might give me a confused look. OHIO, I reply, and this answers his question. Mind you, there have been times I found OHIO stuff in his car trunk which had not made it to the drop-off table yet. I guess he did not want to be seen walking around with a salad bowl under his arm.

But at least the item was gone. Out of sight, out of mind.

Things I have bought are easy to let go. Even if I have not used the item much, I have no misgivings. Whatever money I had spent on it, I write it off as a long-term rental fee. This goes for new books (some are keepers, I do make exceptions), but most books can be passed on to friends or charities.

As of now I find it close to impossible for little possessions, left behind by my parents such as their wedding ring, my mom’s kitchen apron, etc., to let go.

After having moved overseas six times and started furnishing a new home from nil each time, I know how easy it can be. We bought stuff from flea markets, overseas family members were happy to get rid off their old couch, departing teachers were selling their used stuff and so much more. It was always easy getting stuff, but getting rid off it again is another story.

We have been in our current home for close to 18 years. A lot of stuff accumulates over such time. Lately, I have come to realize the following: What took us close to 20 years to pile up, will take us close to 25 years to tear down. We as a family have multiplied too. Now there are four of us.

Over the years, insurance salesmen have tried to sell me theft insurance in vain. Note to thief: Please start with the basement. Make sure to take my husband’s flippers first, which he has not used since our trip to Okinawa in 1994.

They tried to sell me thunderstorm insurance, because lightning could ruin our lovely TV, made in 1990. It’s a monster of a TV and my kids’ prayers for lightning to strike or for the TV to go kaput (because of the promise for an LED TV) have not been answered.

They tried to sell me household insurance in case the place gets robbed, burned down, etc. I don’t need these material things, I just need to know my family is well. There is no angst in me for losing stuff, I lost more and more of this German trait with every move I made.

Have you ever considered how much we are dragging home on a weekly basis? For every item, e.g. clothing, another item should go out at the same time. Easier said than done, I know. Just remember OHIO next time.

And I’m so glad we don’t have a garage either.



A Good Reason to Travel

There is no happiness for the man who does not travel. Living in the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner. For Indra is the friend of the traveller. Therefore wander!

– Aitareya Brāhmana –

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