Travel Tuesday ~ The Car Rental Mess!

by Danielle Garrett of PlanIt Itineraries for The Aha! Connection

If you have traveled lately and needed a rental car, you were likely surprised by the latest pricing.  The current rule on trip planning:  If you need a rental car, book it as soon as you pick your dates.  Do not wait!

We can all thank Covid for the car rental dilemma!  Rental car companies sold a ton of their fleet  (hundreds of thousands of vehicles) in order to survive the pandemic.  Now they can’t get new cars into their lots fast enough to meet the growing demand.  The result…you guessed it…is sky-high pricing!  Travelers are also having a hard time securing a car if they wait until closer to their travel dates.  What does this mean for the last-minute business traveler?  It means yikes! 

Companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise are saying they expect these shortages to continue.  Car rental companies have been running into delays in getting cars due to the auto-manufacturing slowdown.  You probably remember hearing last Fall that Hertz was filing for bankruptcy.  Selling cars into an extremely high-used car market saved them, but now travelers are stuck with the consequences.

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Below are some tips to help avoid this problem!

  • As already mentioned, BOOK YOUR CAR RENTAL FIRST!
  • Rent outside the airport.It may be cheaper to Uber 20 min away to pick up your car rental!
  • Check the price of reserving the car a little longer than you actually need.Sometimes an extra few hours or a day can lower the price.
  • Look for membership discounts.Organizations like AAA, AARP, Costco, USAA offer car rental discounts. 
  • If speaking to a car rental agent over the phone, ask them to look for any current promotions.

Please remember to travel responsibly, wear your mask and do not travel unnecessarily if you are elderly or immune-compromised! And remember to check your destination’s travel restrictions/requirements before and during planning, as well as double-checking before departure!

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