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SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/11/12 7:20 p.m.

The wife and I are planning a road trip vacation for September and we are deciding if it would be more affordable if we rented a car for a week rather than drive our gas guzzling SUV.

A friend of mine said to try Hotwire or other travel deal sites to find deals. I've never rented a car on my own. I've only dealt with them through insurance, so I've never had to set anything up.

Is there any car rental places better than others?

Thanks.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/11/12 7:23 p.m.

We rented a car last summer through Hotwire (or Cheaptickets.com...can't recall) when we flew to Colorado for a visit. It was ridiculously cheap to do so. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Toyman01
Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/11/12 7:34 p.m.

We usually just get them from Enterprise. Reasonable rates, decent cars, and close by.

DoctorBlade
DoctorBlade Dork
4/11/12 7:35 p.m.

Enterprise is what I've used. Much more fun to put miles on what they offer.

jde
jde Reader
4/11/12 7:43 p.m.

My wife and I just did this for a trip last week. My high-mileage Caddy does ~20mpg, and neither of us wanted to ride in her MINI for 10 hrs each way.

Got a Focus from Budget through Priceline, averaged 34.4mpg for the 1750 miles we did. So, the rental roughly cost us $30-$40 over the fuel savings for a week rental.

I've also used Priceline for one-way rentals to chauffeur myself home from the airport a couple times. No problems.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/11/12 8:19 p.m.

I tend to Hertz cars when I (occasionally) rent a car, but that's mainly because I usually try and rent something like a Mustang or a Prius.

If it doesn't matter what sort of appliance you drive and all it has to be is good on fuel and reliable, I don't think it makes much difference who you rent from, at least when you're comparing national chains.

If you're a AAA member, they have a rental car booking portal on their website that tends to save you a few bucks, at least over the usual quoted prices. Oh, and top tip from Clark Howard - check your booking about a week before pickup. If the price for the vehicle you want has gone down, cancel the booking and rebook.

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
4/11/12 8:19 p.m.

Some recent discussion:
http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/renting-a-car-vs-taking-own-for-road-trip/45691/page2/

Key items:
Avoid airport pickup if possible, it may cause significant additional fees/taxes.
Priceline "name your own" works well but be mindful of the 24 hr day. Keep the car for 25 hours and pay for two days.

GrantMLS
GrantMLS Reader
4/11/12 8:23 p.m.

i do it a lot enterprise seems to be the easiest..wife finds a long trip in a car with heat and ac more enjoyable me i dont care

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/11/12 8:44 p.m.
BoxheadTim wrote: Oh, and top tip from Clark Howard - check your booking about a week before pickup. If the price for the vehicle you want has gone down, cancel the booking and rebook.

I'm not understanding this.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie Reader
4/11/12 8:46 p.m.

You may also want to check if your employer has a negotiated deal with a car rental company. Mine does with all the majors, and it makes anything larger than compact significantly cheaper than what's available normally.

mtn
mtn PowerDork
4/11/12 9:18 p.m.
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: Oh, and top tip from Clark Howard - check your booking about a week before pickup. If the price for the vehicle you want has gone down, cancel the booking and rebook.
I'm not understanding this.

Lets say you book on Monday the 1st at $100. Check again on Sunday the 7th; the price might have gone down to $85. If it has, cancel your booking and rebook it at the lower price.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/11/12 10:13 p.m.

My company has a deal with AVIS, but even with the discount, Enterprise is still cheaper.

I added it up. I'm using a Chevy Cruze as a model to work off of, I probably will not go smaller than that size of car.

My round trip would be 1336 miles. The car gets 35 mpg. I would need about 4 tanks of gas. 15.6 gallon tank at $4.29/gal, about $66 a tank. 4 tanks = $264.

$264 in fuel + $190 week rental = $454

My Durango -

Truck gets 17 mpg highway. Has a 22 gallon tank, at $4.29, about $94 a tank. I could get about 325 on the empty mark on the gauge (that's as far as I will take it). I would probably need 5 tanks of gas.

That would ~ $470 in fuel.

Ugh. Hopefully we can find a good deal to bring the rental price down. Maybe if I drop it down to 6 or 5 days, it will drop it enough to justify the total price vs what I would pay with the truck. It's still in the works, so it will probably work out in the end.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/11/12 10:14 p.m.
mtn wrote:
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote:
BoxheadTim wrote: Oh, and top tip from Clark Howard - check your booking about a week before pickup. If the price for the vehicle you want has gone down, cancel the booking and rebook.
I'm not understanding this.
Lets say you book on Monday the 1st at $100. Check again on Sunday the 7th; the price might have gone down to $85. If it has, cancel your booking and rebook it at the lower price.

Ahh, now I got it.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UberDork
4/11/12 10:14 p.m.

In Minnesota at least, the Enterprise rental stores won't let you take their cars on multi-state trips - I can drive to Wisconsin or Iowa, but no further than that.

I rented a car from Hertz for a big trip last summer and it worked out well. I went through AAA to get a good deal.

mtn
mtn PowerDork
4/11/12 10:49 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: In Minnesota at least, the Enterprise rental stores won't let you take their cars on multi-state trips - I can drive to Wisconsin or Iowa, but no further than that. I rented a car from Hertz for a big trip last summer and it worked out well. I went through AAA to get a good deal.

We rented from Enterprise last year and went from Chicago to Virginia--Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina were all driven through. Possibly Tennessee as well.

mtn
mtn PowerDork
4/11/12 10:50 p.m.
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote: My company has a deal with AVIS, but even with the discount, Enterprise is still cheaper. I added it up. I'm using a Chevy Cruze as a model to work off of, I probably will not go smaller than that size of car. My round trip would be 1336 miles. The car gets 35 mpg. I would need about 4 tanks of gas. 15.6 gallon tank at $4.29/gal, about $66 a tank. 4 tanks = $264. $264 in fuel + $190 week rental = $454 My Durango - Truck gets 17 mpg highway. Has a 22 gallon tank, at $4.29, about $94 a tank. I could get about 325 on the empty mark on the gauge (that's as far as I will take it). I would probably need 5 tanks of gas. That would ~ $470 in fuel. Ugh. Hopefully we can find a good deal to bring the rental price down. Maybe if I drop it down to 6 or 5 days, it will drop it enough to justify the total price vs what I would pay with the truck. It's still in the works, so it will probably work out in the end.

Don't forget that you aren't putting wear and tear on your car, which does amount to something.

Are you a member of Sams Club or Costco? They have some pretty awesome deals with certain rental companies.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/11/12 11:00 p.m.

In reply to mtn:

I have to renew my membership to Costco. I'll look into that.

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
4/12/12 3:05 a.m.
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote: Ugh. Hopefully we can find a good deal to bring the rental price down. Maybe if I drop it down to 6 or 5 days, it will drop it enough to justify the total price vs what I would pay with the truck. It's still in the works, so it will probably work out in the end.

It used to be in the rental world that 5 day price was the same as 7 days. That is, the single daily rate times 5 was about price equal to the discount rate of a full week rental.
Shop and compare.

RossD
RossD UltraDork
4/12/12 7:36 a.m.

I did a one way rental last year. Flew to Vegas, rented a car, drove to San Fran, flew home.

Lots of places don't like to rent one way and across multiple states, so do your homework.

Also talk to your insurance agent about car rental insurance and if you need them in any of the states you'll be traveling in. I think I got hosed on some fees for the car because of some weird law in Nevada. If I did my homework, I bet I could have just said no and saved myself $300.

poopshovel
poopshovel PowerDork
4/12/12 7:44 a.m.

Also, check with your insurance company/CC you book the car with. You may already be paying for rental car insurance, so no need to pay the rental place for it.

carguy123
carguy123 PowerDork
4/12/12 8:28 a.m.
poopshovel wrote: Also, check with your insurance company/CC you book the car with. You may already be paying for rental car insurance, so no need to pay the rental place for it.

Your insurance only pays for a rental car when you need one after you wreck your insured car. They don't pay for a rental car just because you want one.

And like someone else said, check the terms some have mileage limitations.

I have never gotten as good a deal going through a third party like Priceline as I have going straight to the source.

GrantMLS
GrantMLS Reader
4/12/12 8:31 a.m.

In reply to carguy123: That depends on policy but it is getting more common. I use an Amex card for renting they have an insurance.

jrw1621
jrw1621 PowerDork
4/12/12 8:48 a.m.
carguy123 wrote:
poopshovel wrote: Also, check with your insurance company/CC you book the car with. You may already be paying for rental car insurance, so no need to pay the rental place for it.
Your insurance only pays for a rental car when you need one after you wreck your insured car. They don't pay for a rental car just because you want one.

Not the case with my insurer but I recommend checking. That is, my full coverage policy also provides full coverage when I am driving a car owned by another even if that other is a rental company. Sure, I get hit with a deductible if an event happens and I could see an increase in rates.

When you buy the insurance that is highly profitable to the rental car companies, in the event of a claim there is no deductible. Buying this full coverage from the rental company would only be needed if you do not have a personal policy that provides full coverage or if you are the type of person who just does not own a car.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
2/25/14 9:51 a.m.
carguy123 wrote:
poopshovel wrote: Also, check with your insurance company/CC you book the car with. You may already be paying for rental car insurance, so no need to pay the rental place for it.
Your insurance only pays for a rental car when you need one after you wreck your insured car. They don't pay for a rental car just because you want one. And like someone else said, check the terms some have mileage limitations. I have never gotten as good a deal going through a third party like Priceline as I have going straight to the source.

Pretty sure he is talking about insurance FOR the rental car... not for the insurance co to pay for the rental but that your current coverage may over the insurance on the rental...

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
2/25/14 10:16 a.m.

Working here I travel a bunch, and rent many, many cars. Here are the sites I've had the most luck with:

www.Southwest.com ( airline website, but frequently they have the lowest car rental options as well)

www.Kayak.com (search engine for rentals-- usually hard to beat)

Last year I rented a Focus to visit my brother in AL. My BMW would have got about 25mpg, the focus got over 30. The rental didn't need premium, which the M3 drinks. I forgot the exact $$ figures, but the rental ended up costing me $40 or so after the gas savings. It was totally worth it not to put the extra wear and tear on my car. The driving part was way less fun, but at least I didn't feel guilty jumping things ala the Duke boys.......it was a rental after all.....

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