Bracing yourself for miles of wear and tear on the family car while on vacation this summer? Maybe it’s time to switch things up. Here are five reasons to leave your wheels at home and rent a car for vacation this year:
Your car may deserve a little vacation, too. Prolonged driving takes a toll on our favorite mode of transportation, and maintaining a car is expensive: According to the 2021 AAA “Your Driving Costs” study, the average annual cost of owning and operating a new vehicle is $9,666, or $805.50 per month. When you rent a car for vacation, you log those hefty vacation miles on the rental, rather than your own car. One benefit: Perhaps you can put off trading in your car for another year or two.
If weaving through big-city streets is part of your epic summer adventure, the family minivan—while perfect for trips to soccer practice, school and work—might not be ideal. When you rent a car for vacation, you can get a smaller vehicle that’s still big enough for the family and luggage, yet gives you more maneuverability and better gas mileage.
If you’re taking a long sightseeing vacation, you may want more legroom or even a few extra seats so the kids can spread out. A larger rental provides the space that your vehicle doesn’t. Legroom is one of the most complicated measurements that goes into designing a vehicle, so make sure you do a “test sit” before deciding.
If you’re in the market for a car or truck, renting a vacation car can be the perfect way for the family to test a new ride. You can get input from your crew and give the vehicle a much more thorough test drive than you’d get at a car dealership. Maybe you’re considering an electric vehicle (EV) for your next purchase. Hertz has, what might be, the largest EV rental fleet in North America and can put you behind the wheel of the Tesla Model 3, a four-door sedan with a 260-mile driving range (the long-range offering of the car can go roughly 100 miles further). Ultimately, you’ll be able to see how the car fits your needs before going all-in with a purchase.
If your vacation destination is far away, you may want to save time by flying—and rent a car when you arrive. Given the true cost of driving your car long distances, this option may be more affordable than you think.
Keeping Your Rental Options Open
New cars use microchips to operate features like driver-assistance controls, window motors, navigation systems and more. Unfortunately, as you may have heard, there’s currently a global chip shortage that has disrupted auto production. Fewer cars produced means more competition for what’s available—and more chances for unwelcome surprises—even when you’re only looking for a rental. Here are tips for getting the right rental car when you need it.
Make advance arrangements. Waiting until the last minute to rent is never a good idea. Avoid frustration by securing your rental car when you plan or book your trip.
Expand your search. Don’t limit yourself to high-demand rental locations. Off-airport locations, for example, will often have better selections, and you may even be able to avoid long lines.
Know what you want. If you need a vehicle that seats five adults, an economy or compact car won’t do. And remember to account for other friends or family members who may need to ride with you once you’re at your destination.
Be flexible. High demand will probably mean higher prices than you’re used to seeing, so make sure you take advantage of any available rental discounts.