Car rental in the USA

Discussion in 'Car Hire, Taxis and Limos' started by Soundguy, Oct 31, 2006.

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  1. Soundguy

    Soundguy Member

    Jun 15, 2006
    323
    3
    Rudd's Banana Republic
    I have travelled several thousands of miles in rental cars in the US recently and of course there are many differences to car rental in Australia that one needs to be aware of. A few points that spring to mind; sure others can add more:

    1) The daily rates quoted (most US bookings are done via the internet) are often quite reasonable (eg $25 - $35) but generally don't include taxes and fees - this is much the same as in Australia, however note that there are several different taxes and in some locations these can be quite steep. Most rental car lots are not on the airport site (each company supplies a shuttle bus service) however you will still be charged an airport tax. My most recent rental out of Boston had more than $16 per day in taxes and misc fees added.

    2) If you want to extend a rental be aware that the extra day(s) will generally be at a higher rate and that they will also add an extension fee.

    3) In Australia you generally get an hours grace when returning a car - and sometimes more. Not so in the US. Thrifty for example will charge you extra "even if you are 1 minute late returning" (their words). Greedy, but they seem to get away with it!

    4) In the US rental car business everything is big, fast and high turnover; you are made very much aware that you are just one of many, many customers. When you return a car you are expected to get your gear out quickly and the moment you leave the car it will be taken away for cleaning. For this reason when returning it never walk away from the car even momentarily before you have taken everything out and checked it over.

    5) Child car seats are around $6 - $9 per day, however they are very cheap to buy in the US. If you are renting for a week or more it is often cheaper to buy one (eg Walmart, Target or Babys-R-us).

    6) Insurance isn't cheap ($20 - $30 per day for basic CDW & TPP) but I always take it in the US because things can get very messy with even a minor acident in this country (thankfully I have never had this happen). If there is any damage and you have no insurance you are essentially at the mercy of the rental company to charge what they like. Consider the cost and hassle of a court case to challenge their charges..... Even if your credit card or travel insurance provides cover, read the fine print carefully. For example the rental company will often charge their daily rate for the period the car is off the road being repaired, on top of the repair cost itself. Your own insurance may cover the car repair but not the additional rental charges. Then you need to consider third party cover.

    7) Some rental companies now offer GPS units for around $10 per day. If you are travelling through major cities these are invaluable & well worth the expense (remember that buying a GPS unit in the US will not give you Australian maps for use here). These units also help you find shops, food outlets and lodging - invaluable if you are travelling about a lot. Try to book a GPS unit ahead as they only have a limited number for rent and they go fast; speak to the branch manager - a request on an internet booking will likely be ignored.
     

  2. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    1,253
    193
    Sydney
    In September 2006 I rented an Avis car out of Seattle for 21 days. It was booked through my TA who got it through driveaway holidays. It included ALL taxes etc, and I was told when I collected the vehicle to refuse any other options offered to me. However, the Avis lady at SEA noted that everything was included and did not offer anything in any event.

    It was $1300 for the 21 days which worked out at AUD$62 per day so its something to consider, however, I booked it 3 months before I left which would not assist those who need to rent a car at short notice. DriveAway Holidays International Car Hire, Car Rentals in Europe & England!
     
  3. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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    Thanks for the link. I'm always ready to compare the various rates.
     
  4. CO BNE

    CO BNE Junior Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    40
    0
    I have so far prepaid two car rentals through Expedia Australia this year as their rates included CDW/LDW and all taxes.

    Purchase the full tank of petrol upfront and return the car empty to Alamo.

    10 days in HSV - AU$448.43 (Economy 2Door Car Auto)
    7 days in IAD - AU$305.84 (Economy 4Door Car Auto)

    I'll be a return customer for Expedia Australia if these rates continue.
     
  5. Dee Thom

    Dee Thom Member

    Aug 2, 2006
    337
    11
    Sunshine Coast-Yes!!
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    I've also used Alamo thru a T/A, out of LAX and thru South Western States, leaving car "empty" in TCN.
    All Tax was included,
    16 days-- Jeep Commander(large 4x4)-- AU$920.57
    Can recomend Alamo,great to deal with
    Cheers Guys
     
  6. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    17,559
    15,610
    Sunshine Coast
    For the last 2 years we have used global cars for prepaid car rentals in the states .the rates are with unlimited miles and all insurance and they use hertz.Never a problem and on the last trip we were hiring a car in Anchorage.Because our friends who were to be travelling with us had an accident and had to return to australia we had to change the rental.We had no problems doing so.And no extra costs.
    Car Rental Sydney Melbourne Perth Brisbane Adelaide and all over Australia - Budget Rates on Holiday Car Hire and Car Rental and Car Leasing
     
  7. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    17,559
    15,610
    Sunshine Coast
    I know tis is a very old thread but I am just updating as things have changed a lot.I was booking my rentals with Globalcars and more recently Driveaway.However for an upcoming trip in august the best quote is direct with Hertz.Globalcars came in at $A1400+1way drop fee of $A400.Drivaway was $A1250+ 1way drop fee of $A500.Hertz is $US940 including drop fee + insurances of $US159 ie~$A1550 all up.As well by booking direct mrsdrron can drive it for no extra cost and i earn airline miles.
     
  8. Skyring

    Skyring Established Member

    Oct 18, 2005
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    #8 Skyring, Jun 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
    Interesting advice in this thread. I've got two trips coming up, with different requirements.

    First is next month. I want to leave my daughter in DC to browse the Smithsonians, hire a car and drive up to the Gettysburg battlefield, returning that evening and then keeping the car on to drive to Reagan National for my onward flight around noon.

    I'm guessing that I need to make sure I return it within 24 hours or be charged extra if I'm over by a short amount.

    My second trip will be another round the worlder, spending a couple of weeks in the US. I want to drive from Charleston to Kansas City, taking ten days or so to do it via New Orleans and Texas.

    Reading above, with talk of $500 repositioning charges, it might be easier for me to pick up the car in Kansas City and drive to Charleston via a couple of battlefields in Tennessee and Virginia, before heading south through Georgia and Florida.

    I'm staying with a mate in Alexandria for the first trip, but for the second I wasn't planning on making anything more than a rough itinerary. I'd probably be right just ducking into a random motel each night? Or should I check Wotif to see if I can score last-minute bargains?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA&feature=related
     
  9. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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  10. pblackm

    pblackm Member

    Dec 26, 2007
    131
    0
    Sydney
    Looking at Alamo for a pickup at El Paso ELP for 8 days. US citizen US$243. Aussie - US$418. We must be bad drivers.
     
  11. trooper

    trooper Established Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    1,451
    283
    Canberra
    I think if you register as Australian on the Alamo site it quotes rates that include CDW..

    No point comparing that to the "US" rate unless you are crazy enough to rent a car over there WITHOUT CDW!!!! :shock:

    I have taken to using one of the European based consolidators - as many others here do - and the rates are quite reasonable and all inclusive... I rarely find better/equal on the companies own websites...
     
  12. serfty

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    Nov 16, 2004
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  13. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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    The rates through Alaska Air seem quite good compared to a lot ot others.
     
  14. auriga

    auriga Active Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    806
    22
    Has anyone used Alamo for car rentals in Australia? Going through their website, they do come up with very good prices for car rental (I was looking at Melbourne), serviced by Europcar, and the rates include "Total Protection Plus". The only problem is I cannot find what exactly this "TPP" is.:?:
     
  15. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    1,253
    193
    Sydney
    I just had a look at the Alaska site as I a need a rental out of Seattle and note that their rentals don't appear to include the relevant insurances whereas some of the other rental firms do include them.
     
  16. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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    I am still trying to find the most appropriate deal out of SEA for one week starting 1 Oct. The best by far is Netflights (via Thrifty) but that is a problem if you ned to travel into Canada. The next best I have found is also Netflights (via Hertz) if Canada is necessary though it is a lot more expensive.
     
  17. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    1,253
    193
    Sydney
    I went onto Drive Away Holidays International & Local Car Rentals Book Today! and looked at a quote for 7 days from 1st October 09 for a compact (Pontiac Sunfire (or similar) Auto ECAR) and the all up cost was $454.01, and it allows you to drive into Canada, and includes the following (Driveaway use Avis/Hertz etc, whatever it the best deal for them:

    YOUR RENTAL FROM AVIS INCLUDES

    * Collision Damage coverage which limits potential vehicle damage liability to an excess of approximately NIL.
    * Theft Protection for the vehicle which limits potential vehicle damage liability to an excess of approximately NIL.
    * Unlimited Mileage.
    * Loss Damage Waiver.
    * Additional Liability Insurance.
    * Third Party Liability Insurance for injuries or damages to persons or things outside the vehicle.
    * Customer Facility Charge .
    * Premium Location Surcharge.
    * Vehicle Licensing Fee.
    * 24 Hour Roadside Assistance.
    * State Imposed Surcharges.
    * Local tax as of booking date 19-Sep-2009

    RENTAL DOES NOT INCLUDE

    * Insurance for personal injuries / damage to drivers and passengers, optional coverage may be offered locally for an additional fee.
    * Local tolls, congestion areas, highway fees and passes or travel stickers which may be required by local authorities.
    * Airport fee (on one way rentals only).

    Vehicles may be driven throughout USA and Canada on paved roads only.

    I have used this company on two occasions previously, the last being August 08 and have had no problems whatsoever.
     
  18. zinkle

    zinkle Intern

    Sep 22, 2009
    80
    6
    Thanks for the link serfty, I tried it out and got lucky over the weekend

    I don't seem to be able to quote you without removing the link to netflights, :confused: tried twice already, anyhows...

    20% off USA car rentals + good AUD/GBP conversion = more savings :D

    did anyone notice that prepaid fuel is charged as per day cost rather than a once off cost? weird
     
  19. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
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    Welcome to AFF :D

    I noticed prepaid fuel on a rental I'm looking at was bundled with 'additional driver' charges. The latter is generally a daily charge; the former, per rental. Since I need neither, it's not an issue.

    A bit weird, but a trap nonetheless.

    (Note, you need a certain number of posts before you can post web links)
     
  20. pblackm

    pblackm Member

    Dec 26, 2007
    131
    0
    Sydney
    Thanks Trooper. My annual travel insurance policy includes full CDW for rental vehicles, so i try not to pay it twice.
     
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