city bus

Local and Regional Travel

The US is known for its car culture, but the Bellingham area has great transportation connections, making it easy to get around without an automobile. 

Western’s Transportation Office is a wonderful resource for local and regional travel.

Call x7960 or e-mail transportation@wwu.edu to set up an appointment.

Important transportation note

Do not hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers anywhere in the United States.  This practice can be dangerous and is outlawed in some areas

Driving

If you plan on driving in the US, it is a good idea to obtain an International Driving Permit before you leave your home country.  Many people are able to rent cars and drive in the US using just their home license, but it is a good idea to get an IDP before you leave just in case.  International Driving

Permits can only be obtained in your home country – you will not be able to get one in the US.  Contact your national licensing authority or motoring association for more information.

When renting a car in the US, be sure to check what identification you will need, as this varies from company to company.  Also keep in mind that rental rates are significantly higher for drivers under the age of 25 and most car rental companies do not accept debit cards.

Zipcar is a carsharing program that allows members to rent a car by the day or the hour, so you can reserve a car for a weekend, a day trip, or just for bringing large purchases home from the store. Western has two Zipcars on campus and students, faculty, and staff can join at a discounted rate. If you have a driver's license from outside the US, you will still be able to join -- you will just need to fill out some additional paperwork when you submit your membership application.

If you will be staying in the area long-term and wish to buy a car, consult the Washington Department of Licensing for information on how to proceed.

 In the US, driver’s licenses are commonly used for identity and age verification.  However, it is not necessary to obtain a driver’s license for the sole purpose of identification.  The Washington Department of Licensing also issues State ID Cards which are also widely accepted as a form of photo ID.  For more information, see the Identification section below. 

Identification

A Washington State ID Card looks like a driver’s license and is also accepted as proof of age and identity.  It is a good idea to obtain a State ID – especially if you will be visiting venues with age restrictions or purchasing alcohol – as you don’t want to carry your passport around all the time and risk it being lost or stolen.  In order to apply for a State ID card, you will need a letter from ISSS confirming your student status.   You will also need to present your passport and immigration documents.  Please contact ISSS for more information.