Most of the time, when we think about renting a car, we think of picking the car up from the car rental company, using it for our trip, and returning it to the same place we picked it up.
However, there are instances where renting a car for a one-way trip is more practical. If you just got back from a trip at the airport and you need to get to your hometown, you may find it inconvenient to drop the car back off where you rented it from. In this instance, it makes a lot of sense to rent a car at the airport and return it at an approved and selected neighborhood location for your rental car company.
Often, you’ll find that one-way rentals come at a lower price with miles and fuel included. So, not only is the one-way rental more practical in specific scenarios, but it can also save you money.
Think about it. If you had to pay the standard car rental rate just to get home from the airport and you still had to drive the car back to where you got it from, it would hardly seem worth it to you. So, to save yourself some money and time, you’d have to find someone to pick you up from the airport.
There’s a reason comedians joke about the level of friendship it takes to agree to pick someone up from the airport. You just got back into town, and you already have to ask someone to do you a favor. What if you want to stop somewhere on the way home? You’ve got to pass right by your favorite store, but you don’t want to ask someone to make an additional stop after asking them to pick you up from the airport.
Calling a rideshare service could be an option, but it will cost you money too. If you’re paying someone else to do you the favor of getting you from the airport, they typically won’t sit and wait for you while you run into your extra stop. So, now you’re lugging your baggage along with you. You have to book a second rideshare. It’s just a lot of hassle when there’s just something peaceful about handling your trip home from the airport on your own.
If you’re going to be paying for a way home anyway, it just makes sense to use the one-way car rental deals available to you. But, you need to understand how the process works before you take charge of your trip home from the airport.
What to know about one-way car rentals
If it is your first one-way car rental, here’s what you need to know:
- Contact your car rental company’s airport location to ensure they are a participating location for one-way car rentals.
- Verify the select neighborhood drop-off locations to be sure there is one conveniently located to your destination.
- Ask about one-way rates. Some companies have daily rates that start as low as $9.99.
- The length of the rental for a one-way car rental is typically less than 24 hours.
- Ask about the allowable mileage, which could be around 150 free miles with complimentary refueling.
- One-way car rentals are subject to availability when you make your reservation, so it’s best to plan when you have the time.
- Check that one-way car rental is still offered at your location every time. Just because the location has offered them in the past doesn’t mean that’s still the case. Like most rental policies, one-way car rentals are subject to change or termination at any time.
When to use a one-way car rental
You may already know of a few instances where a one-way car rental would be useful, but here are a few scenarios that you might not plan for or think about, for example:
- Your flight is canceled after you’re already at the airport with no ride. A canceled flight can be frustrating enough on its own. Trying to find a ride shouldn’t be part of that frustration. A one-way car rental can help you get back home quickly and easily, and you can spend more time readjusting your plans regarding your canceled flight.
- You’ve landed at your destination, but you just need a ride into the city. You already know how you’ll be traveling around town for the duration of your stay, but you just need to get to where you’re staying. A one-way car rental can help. You save money on cab fares, reduce unnecessary contact with others, and give yourself the option to make any additional stops.
- After being on a flight and before you arrive at your destination, a peaceful drive in the quiet comfort and safety of a rental car can be just what you need to arrive more refreshed and familiar with your surroundings. Just remember to ask for the approved drop locations. It’s okay to request the address to make it easier to find on GPS.
- You want to explore the city for the day. You have a conference that will have you busy for almost the entire week, but you arrived early so that you could have the opportunity to explore the city you’re visiting on this trip. Renting a car for a one-way rental can empower you to see all that you came to see and experience traveling in a whole new way. It’s more affordable than hiring a cab to take you around, and it makes for a more private and enjoyable experience when you can explore the city at your own pace in a private vehicle.
- You have family or friends in the area. You may have something else that brought you to your location, but you’re within reach of your family or friends you haven’t seen in a while. Considering how much isolation we’ve all experienced, seeing those we care about means more now than it has before. Leaving from the airport and driving 60 miles for that long-overdue embrace is not only possible, but it’s also affordable. Adding a moment like that to your trip is priceless.
Terms and conditions to be aware of
One-way car rental deals can make your trips easier, more enjoyable, and more affordable. But, like most conveniences, terms and conditions may apply.
- Taxes and fees may be excluded from the rates.
- Rates may include free miles and/or a complimentary fuel refill.
- Rentals are subject to availability.
- One-way offers are typically available at select company markets. Make sure you know which ones.
- Ask about pickup and drop-off locations.
- Offers are only valid on rentals for less than 24 hours.
- Some car classes may not be eligible. Typical eligible car classes range from economy to full-size cars.
- Not all vehicles, additional vehicle equipment, and services will be available at all locations. Be sure to ask.
- Reservation is required.
- One-way car rental offers are subject to be changed, canceled, or modified at any time at the discretion of the rental car company.
- One-way car rental offers have no cash value.
- One-way car rental offers may be nullified if other discounts, special rates, or promotions are used.
- Blackout periods and restrictions may apply to meet the demands of car rental needs.
- Availability may be limited.
- Additional mandatory charges may exist, and it’s important to ask about this upfront. Examples include airport fees, tourism fees, vehicle license recovery fees, and taxes or governmental fees.
- Optional goods and services, like a damage waiver, may affect your rates when purchased.
Booking your reservation is the best way to get an idea of what you can expect your rental to cost. It is better to book early with the possibility of canceling in car rentals than to wait and be unable to make a reservation when you need one.
Plans change, things happen, and sometimes you just want to do things on your own. One-way car rentals are a great answer to your short-term car rental needs. From sightseeing to privacy to convenience, a one-way car rental can be the affordable solution you need.
Remember to book early, ask questions, and verify participating locations every time. You don’t have to be stuck at the airport, stuck in your coworker’s car, or stuck at the hotel. One-way car rentals can get you back home, take you to places you’ve never been, or be the quick route to reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in forever.
With more privacy and affordability than a cab ride or rideshare, you can enjoy hitting the road for the day and listening to what you want on the radio without making idle conversation with someone you don’t know. After your first one-way rental, you’ll wonder why you never thought of doing it before.
With one-way rentals, there’s no reason why your next trip can’t be the best trip you’ve ever taken. As a result, you may find yourself thinking of even more ways to use one-way car rentals in your trips.
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