11-day Car/Van Rental How-To Question?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by booyaa, Mar 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. booyaa
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    booyaa Silver Member

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    My family and some relatives are coming for my graduation end of May, beginning of June (think TPAC visiting). Some of them have never been to the States, so we are planning on taking them around East Coast cities and such. They will be staying for about 2 weeks and we will most likely be needing a mini-van for about 11 days. We could travel with 2 cars, renting the second car, but with gas and parking almost doubled, not sure its worth it. Plus, we get to stay together with a mini-van.

    I don't rent cars ever, so am completely new. How should I go about doing this? Hotwire? Weekly rate? I do have AMEX Plat card that gives me some preferred status with Hertz/Avis/Enterprise I believe, would any of that be handy? Also, I am under 25.

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    For the AmEx Plat charge card preferred status with IIRC Hertz/Avis/National, you must sign up in advance. The card also gives you some insurance for rental cars, but check the fine print carefully.

    You should compare prices and other terms. Think about gas mileage and comfort of the vehicle for the number of people you'll have, as well as space for luggage. Check renting directly (from the majors) versus an online travel agency. A minivan might be too specialized to be covered by Hotwire, etc. If you go this route, be sure that vehicle type is guaranteed and that they will rent to an under-25.
     
  3. Skyvillager
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    Skyvillager Silver Member

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    Most rental companies charge "underage" fees for renting to those under 25.
    If you want to avoid fees - options left are very limited.
     
  4. booyaa
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    booyaa Silver Member

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    Right, I know there is a fee for under 25. I also thought about putting my Dad's name for the rental, he does have an international driving permit.

    What websites do you guys use to help you check rates aside from the usual Kayak, travel agencies, etc? Is there something equivalent to betterbidding.com for rental cars?
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Don't put your father's name on the rental unless he will be the only driver. You could be listed as an additional driver, but the under-25 surcharge would probably still apply. If there would be an accident when the vehicle is not being driven by a listed driver, you could be in big legal trouble, including possibly losing insurance coverage for the damages and liability. Please do not try this.
     
  6. Skyvillager
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    Skyvillager Silver Member

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    Don't know of any bidding sites.

    According to "Ads by Goodle" running in this thread right now :D - Priceline.com is offering "Weekend car rental deals from $13/day".
     
  7. Skyvillager
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    Skyvillager Silver Member

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    You should definetely disclose all drivers for rental car ahead of time.
    Keep in mind and add to your budget - some rental companies charge fees for "additional driver(s)".

    Rates change up/down and new deals/promotions pop up all the time.
    Many car rental companies allow customers to make cancellable reservations, some ask for only your name & email, no credit card.

    I suggest to look for something now in all places you can think of and make a few reservations.
    If/when you find something better - make new reservations, then cancel old ones.

    Don't take anything 100% pre-paid right now. I bet something better will show up later.

    While comparing rates - read fine print to determine all costs:
    - rental
    - insurance
    - extra fees for under-age and extra driver
    - assorted taxes (in some areas one can have 10+ different taxes added, exceeding cost of rental itself).
     
  8. anng3
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    anng3 Silver Member

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    Go to betterbidding.com or biddingfortravel.com to see what priceline car rentals have been going for in your pickup city. Same with hotwire. Priceline is always cheaper for hotels but sometimes hotwire can be cheaper for car rentals. Since gas is so high vans will probably cheaper than economy cars. I thought Hertz had a special discount program for under 25 year olds. I think I read about it on slickdeals.net or do a google search. As an aside United gived 10,000 points to recent grads.
     
  9. Art234
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    Art234 Milepoint Guide

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    I think you'd be better off dealing directly with the rental companies....sometimes using the third party sites could have unintended consequences. If the toll free number doesn't want to be helpful, call the renting station directly and speak to the manager. Be up front about everything and ask for the best possible price....and consideration for your age.

    I have heard of some rental companies waiving the under 25 surcharge if you can prove a clean driving record, but I don't recall where or when.....

    Also make sure that a mini van would be big enough for all in your party and luggage....in my experience, sometimes full size vans are warranted and may be available at discount since there is little demand.
     
  10. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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