Should I Rent a Car for a Road Trip?

Should I Rent a Car for a Road Trip?

Road trips can be great fun, especially when you bring along good friends for the ride. But when planning your road trip, it’s important to decide between bringing your personal vehicle or renting a car for the duration of your journey. Renting a car can be a bit pricey, especially if your road trip will last for a week or more.

That said, there are also great points in rental cars’ favor for road trips. Not sure whether you should rent a car for your road trip or not? Read on for more information and some points you may not have considered before deciding.

Reasons To Drive Your Own Car

When you’re planning a road trip with your friends and/or family members, there are lots of reasons why you might consider bringing a car that you or someone else in your party owns.

May Be Cheaper

For starters, your own car might be cheaper to drive in aggregate even if it seems cheaper to rent a car on paper. That’s because rentals usually come with ancillary fees or charges, especially if multiple people drive the vehicle or if one of the drivers is under the age of 25.

In contrast, if you own your vehicle, you just have to pay the monthly fee for your loan, then pay for gas and insurance. These fees, while they can be expensive, may also be significantly easier to bear, especially for young drivers.

Depending on the car you have, you might also benefit from better gas mileage. This might save you money over the course of your road trip.

Total Control

If you own your car and drive it on your road trip, you get to enjoy complete control over the destination, how long you drive, and more. When you rent a car, you are always tethered to a specific rental location where you agreed to drop off the vehicle at the end of the rental period.

As a result, you’ll need to come up with transportation arrangements to get home after your road trip, whether it’s a taxi or someone who picks you up from the car rental lot. In addition, renting a car means you have to start your trip from a specific location; you can’t just pack up your things from home and hit the road. Plus, you don’t have to totally clean your car when the trip is over!

No Need To Pay for Extra Insurance

It’s never a wise idea to rent a vehicle without insurance. If you already have private driver insurance, you’ll need to purchase extra insurance from the rental agency. This could add $30 a day or more to your total rental rate.

If you have your own car, you are legally required to have driver’s insurance. As a result, you don’t have to pay extra for additional insurance if you don’t want to. Some rental companies do provide good insurance add-ons, like personal effects liability insurance and similar packages.

But none of these insurance add-ons are necessary, so it could save you money overall.

Avoid Young Driver Fees

Lastly, driving your own car means you get to avoid the extra young driver fees that rental companies tack on when you are under the age of 25. If you have driver’s insurance what are under 25, you probably pay a higher monthly rate anyway. But you still pay less money than the typical fees for renting a car under this age limit.

Reasons To Drive a Rental

While there are plenty of good reasons to drive your own car, renting could also be wise depending on your circumstances and the below factors.

Keep Miles Off Your Car

For instance, driving a rental means you get to keep all the miles of your road trip off your personal vehicle. Depending on how old your car is, this could be mechanically smart. The more miles you add to your vehicle, the more you wear it down, and the sooner it will need maintenance at an auto mechanic shop.

If you have an old car, taking it on a road trip might not be smart if you want it to last for another few years for your daily commutes to and from work. You don’t have to worry about adding miles to a rental car since you will turn it in at the end of your journey and wash your hands of the vehicle.

Drive for Less Time

In some cases, renting a vehicle means you drive for less time overall. Say that you want to go on a road trip starting in another city far from your hometown. In that case, you can fly to that city, then rent a car in that city and go on your road trip.

This could also cut down the time you spend traveling on your road trip between major spots or attractions. For many people, driving is a necessity but isn’t particularly enjoyable. If you want to cut down on the time you spend in the driver’s seat, a rental car could be the way to go.

Greater Selection of Vehicles

Many top-tier car rental agencies offer fantastic fleets with a wide selection of vehicles, ranging from economy cars, awesome trucks, vans, and luxury and sports cars depending on your price limits.

As a result, you can choose the ideal car for your journey from a rental company even if you don’t own that car at home. For example, if you plan to do a lot of off-roading, an off-roading capable vehicle is a great pick, like certain types of SUVs, Jeeps, and trucks.

In this way, the variety of vehicles available at rental companies could let you complete your road trip just as you planned it without having to accommodate the inherent limitations of your personal vehicle. 

Your Car Isn’t Dependable

Lastly, a rental car may be a better idea if your personal car isn’t dependable or you fear that it might break down in the middle of nowhere. When you rent a car, each vehicle is inspected before it is given to you, so you don’t need to worry as much about mechanical failures.

While the possibility of a breakdown still persists, a rental car is definitely more dependable than an old junker you have that just gets you to school and back. In some cases, renting a car could be much cheaper than trying to use your personal vehicle for a road trip, only to completely break its transmission and require several thousands of dollars worth of repairs.


All in all, whether or not you should rent a vehicle for a road trip is dependent on your budget limitations, your eventual destinations, and your schedule. Renting a car could be smart, especially if you rent from a worthwhile and affordable agency like Advantage.

In fact, Advantage is perfect for renting a road trip car because many of our best vehicles are located at airport lots. You can hop off the plane, hop into your rental vehicle, and hit the road in a matter of minutes. Check out our fleet or contact us today for more information about our rental options.


How to Avoid Paying the Under 25 Car Rental Fee | NerdWallet
Teen Drivers: Get the Facts | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center
Is it legal to drive without insurance? |

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