So you want to rent a car this summer and take a road trip? Not so fast—car rental prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks. According to Insider, contributing factors to the price rise include an increased demand for travel, and a shortage of available cars, nationwide. COVID-19 is responsible for both issues: people are itching to travel after all those months under lockdown, and car rental companies, like Avis and Hertz were forced to sell some of their fleet to keep from folding during the worst of the pandemic.
Rent a Car Highway Robbery
How bad is the rise in price for rental cars? It seems that some rentals go for as much as $700 a day. You would not be wrong to call that a case of highway robbery.
So what’s a wannabe summer traveler to do to get some wheels on the road? Really yearning for that summer road trip? Insider suggests these six out-of-the-box ideas for renting a vehicle you can afford.
- Rent a personal car with car-sharing app Turo. Turo is like Airbnb for cars. Car owners list their personal cars for rent, which can be hired for a few hours or even months. Turo has over 450,000 listings in the United States and Canada, so it seems like a good bet you can find what you need at a price you can afford.
- Rent a personal RV from Outdoorsy. Like Turo, Outdoorsy is a platform for renting wheels from their owners, but in this case, it’s all about RVs. The company says prices range from $50-$275 per night. Some owners will deliver an RV rental to your chosen location, for a fee.
- Consider renting a pickup truck from U-Haul. Everyone knows that U-Haul is a less expensive option for moving items to a new home. But you can just as well use a U-Haul rental for travel. And talk about a bargain! The pickup trucks begin at $20 a day, and are available in 20,000 locations in the US and in Canada.
- Rent a truck from Home Depot or Lowe’s. Like U-Haul, Home Depot and Lowe’s offer truck rentals though they run a bit higher, price-wise. According to estimates on Insider, Home Depot charges from $129 for its F250 flatbed truck. Rent one through the special services desk or the tool rental center at any Home Depot. Lowe’s is a bit less expensive, starting at $89 a day for its eight-foot Chevy Silverado 1500. It’s a good idea to call ahead as supplies are limited.
- Amtrak’s Auto Train works great for travel between Virginia and Florida. If you’re traveling anywhere between Virginia and Florida this summer, check out the Amtrak Auto Train. Whether you are a passenger or a car, the Auto Train will take you where you need to go. The train route runs from Lorton, VA, some 20 miles south of Washington, DC, and finishes up some 14 hours later in Sanford Florida, just outside of Orlando. Seats for adults begin at $89 one way. If you don’t mind paying more, you can get a “roomette” or sleeper cabin.
- Some car dealerships offer cars for rent or cars to try before you buy. Last but not least, make calls to local car dealerships. Dealers often have rental programs or car trials, where you pay a fee to try a car prior to purchase. Nissan and Toyota both have rental-car programs, but it’s hit or miss: not every dealership offers this service and the price varies from place to place. It still seems like a pretty good deal even if the same car costs $20 per day in Orange, California, and $50 a day in Jackson Heights, New York.