ESTA question – British citizens traveling to the United States and Canada

My brother and I are planning a trip next year to visit our uncle in Canada and spend some of our time in the United States.

On the official ESTA online application form, under the heading "Travel Information", you indicate "Does your trip to the United States take place in transit to another country?"

I am not sure whether to say yes or no to this question because of our planned itinerary, which is as follows:


  • Flight from London to Seattle
  • Take the rental car to downtown Seattle and
    drive north
  • Find a motel and stay overnight (this may be in the US or Canada)


  • Drive the rest of the way up to our AirBnB in Canada


  • Departure from Canada and return to Seattle
  • Return your rental car and spend a few days at another AirBnB in Seattle.


  • Fly from Seattle to London

So, some problems here:

Yes we are traveling to the United States en route to another country, but we could spend the night in the United States the first night, and if we do, does that mean we're not?

When we get to the United States, I guess they'll want to know where we're going, and I'm afraid they're not happy with our response, which will basically "I do not know yet, maybe stay in the United States, maybe go straight to Canada"

Even if we say that we plan to stay in a motel (regardless of the side of the border), will they insist on which motel?