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Car Rental Cost - we saved $500 - maybe this will help you too.
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October 3, 2014
4:01 pm
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denbo
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We've just booked our next trip to drive in USA (28 days next year).

Went direct to the Alamo web site to check cost for vehicle we've decided on - it was $1,892 (Aussi dollars).

I decided to check options from other suppliers and a Google search Found Car Rental web site at http://www.rentalcars.com

The result?

EXACTLY the same vehicle - and still with Alamo - cost $1,392 (still Aussi dollars)

$500 less for EXACTLY the same vehicle, EXACTLY same supplier, EXACTLY same dates - but booked through Rental Cars .com

Don't have to be a rocket scientist to see who we booked with - and, as confirmation came from Alamo it seems we're now dealing with Alamo just as if we'd done the booking with Alamo direct.

If you follow this post, please, post back your experience.

October 3, 2014
7:57 pm
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Wotacroc
Queensland Australia
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Hi Denbo
Car renals can be a bit of hit and miss as far as I am concerned. Sometimes it may depend on what State in the USA you are renting from. When we did Rouite 66 last year I paid under $1,000 for one month, for a large sedan. At that stage we were on parity with the US dollar. As we weren't in any hurry, we got off the plane at LAX and drove to Chicago via Utah and Colorado, then returned to LAX via Route 66. Also California, Nevada and Florida have no one way fees.

We are off to the USA in two weeks time, have a car booked at JFK in New York. I have tried every rental company company including Rentalcars.com and nothing comes close to a direct hire from Europcar. With this rental, there is a $600 difference between renting in California and New York for exactly the same period.

wotacroc

Drove Route 66 in 2012.

October 4, 2014
11:07 pm
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WillC
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Yes, it's amazing how much you can save if you shop around for car hire. I strongly recommend http://www.drive-usa.de (it's a German website but can be used by Europeans and perhaps others outside of Europe too).

One thing to remember is that, even if a website fails to charge you for the one-way drop-off fee, you'll almost certainly still have to pay it in person. It costs about $500. Just something to be aware of.

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

October 5, 2014
1:18 am
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denbo
Melbourne, Australia
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I just came across this :-

https://consumerist.com/2008/01/15/6-confessions-of-an-alamo-car-rental-agent/

Maybe it helps to explain things.

October 5, 2014
8:10 am
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WillC
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Hmm, an interesting read. It's sad how many businesses pay their employees commission for unethical / unnecessary upgrades, etc.

I laughed at the writers comments about 'The Brits'! Probably very true. I just booked a car for my Virginia/West Virginia holiday later this month and I paid for the best upgrades possible, ha!

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

October 13, 2014
7:30 am
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CEA5T
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WillC said

One thing to remember is that, even if a website fails to charge you for the one-way drop-off fee, you'll almost certainly still have to pay it in person. It costs about $500. Just something to be aware of.

Very true, as this is collected at the final destination irrespective of where and how you booked and paid for the actual rental.

When I dropped off our car, I paid the USD500 plus tax, and asked the rental what happens to the Illinois registered car now it has been dumped in California. He said "nothing, we're all the same company, so we just continue to rent it out in CA with IL tags." So why the one-way drop-off charge? "Because that's what the market will bear." In other words, profit.

Chris

Retiree from Essex UK

October 13, 2014
11:31 am
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denbo
Melbourne, Australia
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All I can say is - one trip a couple of years ago we picked up our vehicle in San Francisco, dropped it off eventually in Las Vegas.

This year we picked up our vehicle in Los Angeles. Dropped it of eventually in San Francisco.

Both times there was no drop-off fee.

Both times we used Alamo.

Maybe it's a state thing.

This time, no problems. We're picking up in Los Angeles, driving to Florida then back again in a big circle.

(For Aussies, the only way in to USA on a direct flight is by Los Angeles or San Franciso).

October 16, 2014
12:18 am
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Wotacroc
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WillC said

I just booked a car for my Virginia/West Virginia holiday later this month and I paid for the best upgrades possible, ha!

I may run into you over there Will. Leaving home on 18 October for NYC. Driving through Shanondoah National Park and Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway (On your recommendation).

I have also had a conversation with Frank (formerly of this site) and he has directed my down the Natchaz Trace Parkway from Nashville to Natchez. Heading down to New Orleans and returning to NYC via the Civil War States.

wotacroc

Drove Route 66 in 2012.

October 16, 2014
4:38 pm
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WillC
Oxford
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We're driving the Skyline Drive but not going onto the Blue Ridge Parkway due to a lack of time. Instead we're going to stay in Charlottesville ('happiest place to live in America' apparently!) and then onto Washington DC.

I remember Frank raving about the Natchaz Trace Parkway. Let me know what it's like!

--- Drove Route 66 in August 2012 ---

October 18, 2014
4:03 am
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phillipst47
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The thing to watch out for with third party sites like carrentals.com, is the fine print. Many do not disclose the drop off fee, additional driver fee, and other fees. But when you pick up your car, you will have to pay these fees if they apply. Also, they may not give you the info on the debit card vs. credit card policy. Always read the fine print, some of these third party sites don't guarantee you'll get a car, believe it or not!

Alamo and National do not have drop off fees, however the rate for a one way may be higher than the rate for a round trip would be. It depends on the two locations and how often cars go back and forth between them. Enterprise will have a drop off fee the majority of the time. Airport to Airport is always your best bet for a one way rental.

October 18, 2014
8:46 pm
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Wotacroc
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I have had a car booked at Jamaica in NYC for a month or so now with Europcar. I have tried all the third party sites for a quote and they can't get near Europcar.

From memory there are three States in the USA that are not allowed to impose one way fees. That is California, Nevada and I think Florida. That is, if you rent at LAX and drive one way to San Fran, then no fee is charged. Obviously if you drove LAX to a location in Colorado, then you would get charged. We once drove from Vegas to LAX one way without a one way fee.

wotacroc

Drove Route 66 in 2012.

October 19, 2014
1:23 pm
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denbo
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Hi Wotcacroc

When I read your post I went back to the Alamo web site and did a quote to hire a car, (the smallest available), to be picked up and drop off at LAX.

I chose Alamo for this exercise only because I find it's web site easy to use.

Then I did another quote to pick up at LAX and drop of at JFK There was a difference of an additional $608 to drop off at JFK - even though the journay is airport-airport at major cities

Then, I did another quote to pick up at JFK and drop of at LAX - same trip, just the other way around. There was a difference again of an ADDITIONAL $200, so, an extra $800 difference in total.

Now, this was for the smallest vehicle - I didn't check but likely the difference will vary even more depending on the vehicle hired.

I've now realisd that, while I wasn't charged for one-way-drop-off in the past, it was more because of luck rather than judgement on my part.

This has been a useful topic for me - I'll certainly be more aware about car-hire costs for trips in the future.

October 28, 2014
6:45 am
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thepengy
Adelaide South Australia
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We looked at all the options too, must agree the ammount of detail that is missing from third party sites like carrentals.com is worrying. We ended up booking direct with AVIS, join thier loyalty club first though. All fees were clearly there ( thats when you notice whats missing from others) drop off cost was clearly listed in the charges. We were hit with no extras

June 15th to July 13th 2016
Did the whole thing, Chicago to Santa Monica

December 5, 2014
6:25 am
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Wotacroc
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WillC said

We're driving the Skyline Drive but not going onto the Blue Ridge Parkway due to a lack of time. Instead we're going to stay in Charlottesville ('happiest place to live in America' apparently!) and then onto Washington DC.

I remember Frank raving about the Natchaz Trace Parkway. Let me know what it's like!

Hi Will

We are back from our drive that took us from New York down to New Orleans and back via the east coast back to New York.

I owe Frank a bottle of scotch for steering me onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. The road was previously hit with heavy rain, that caused the foliage to fall a bit prematurely, but just the same it was a magnificent drive. From memory it was well over four hundred miles long, from Nashville to Natchez. Without doubt the best part of the drive was between Nashville and Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis. The road was similar to Route 66 in that you could drive for ages without seeing a soul.

We also did the Shanendoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smoky Mountains. In all we continuously travelled south through National Parks for close to one thousand miles. The big difference between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Natchez Trace was the actual drive. The Blue Ridge is both hilly and winding, while the Natchez Trace is pretty well flat with minor curves, and once you set your cruise control to a speed under the 50 mph limit, it's smooth sailing.

While in Virginia, did you stay in Williamsburg?

The foliage down south was great, but if you want a greater variety of colours, then I would still recommend the New England States of Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

We are heading back to the New England either next fall in 2015, or the year after, but will spend more time in Maine.

wotacroc

Drove Route 66 in 2012.

October 25, 2015
8:43 am
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sups-mus
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WillC said

Yes, it's amazing how much you can save if you shop around for car hire. I strongly recommend http://www.drive-usa.de (it's a German website but can be used by Europeans and perhaps others outside of Europe too).

One thing to remember is that, even if a website fails to charge you for the one-way drop-off fee, you'll almost certainly still have to pay it in person. It costs about $500. Just something to be aware of.

I thinks it's worth to find out if you have to pay the one-way-fee when getting the car - even if you booked in advance from Europe and got no hint about this fee!

February 18, 2017
7:46 am
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KatiaMeza
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WillC said
Yes, it's amazing how much you can save if you shop around for car hire. I strongly recommend http://www.drive-usa.de (it's a German website but can be used by Europeans and perhaps others outside of Europe too).

One thing to remember is that, even if a website fails to charge you for the one-way drop-off fee, you'll almost certainly still have to pay it in person. It costs about $500. Just something to be aware of.  

Well thanks for sharing the Car Service company name but their i think their charges are not comparable to others.I have used many of them for tour and travels and i know their price of journey.

August 3, 2017
10:41 am
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Catherine207
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You should try the RealCar rental in NYC for it has very well-maintained vehicles for a fair price. Plus, their "wear and tear" policy allows some minor damages to the car like scratches and stuff, so you don't have to be afraid of unexpected charges.

September 5, 2017
9:37 am
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denbo
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I did a USA trip recently.

As our total stay was 5 weeks and we'd be travelling long distances I decided we'd get something decent and roomy - and booked a quality AMERICAN SUV months in advance with HERTZ .

Naturally, the website says ' XXX vehicle or SIMILAR'.

What we got was 'similar' and made in Korea.

Despite my protestations (at San Francisco airport) - there was NO chance of getting something different.

The attitude was -

'We don't guarantee the vehicle, just the CLASS of vehicle, and what you've been allocated is in the same CLASS - as we say on our web site.

Look, we're busy right now and all our vehicles are allocated - so, if you don't want it ... (take it or leave it)'.

So, we had to take it - or get nothing.

While I was unhappy with it's size, (I think Korean's must be small), it easily took 4 cases and was one of the most economical vehicles I've ever driven - even if it had no guts. (Push your foot on the accelerator and wait a while).

My point is, when I went to pick the vehicle up in the HERTZ car area I noticed just about ALL it's vehicles were Korean made - so I'm thinking don't believe what you see on the hire company web sites.

What you think you're paying for is not what you're likely to get - I think you WILL get something a lot less when you arrive, and when you do, there's not much you can do about it.

Have fun.

November 29, 2017
1:29 pm
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wavedancer
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Thanks for sharing.

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