Author Topic: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?  (Read 5051 times)

TravelStache

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How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« on: December 17, 2014, 02:13:01 PM »
So we’ve got a big family trip coming up this summer and I am looking for alternatives to a costly one way car rental.  Our family of four will be flying from the east coast to San Francisco, where we are planning to rent a car and drive to Yosemite National Park for a week of camping with friends.  In full disclosure, this will actually be more like “glamping” as we will be staying in a structure that has concrete walls, electricity and a canvas top.  Following the week of camping we will be headed to Lake Tahoe (Incline Village specifically) for a few days for the Fourth of July and flying home out of Reno.

We were able to pay for our flights and our stay in Tahoe through the use of credit card rewards points and the cost of camping is fixed, which we are comfortable with.  It looks like our biggest expense is now going to be the 11 day one way car rental from San Francisco to Reno.  We looked into a number of different options for our flights in an attempt to avoid this situation, but due to logistics it made the most sense to book it the way we did.

That all being said, does anyone have any advice on how to reduce the cost of the one way rental or know of any possible alternatives?

J'onn J'onzz

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 02:23:24 PM »
You could check out something like megabus, or I would bet they have some other bus services that run between SF and Reno. Just a quick look at megabus looks like about $15 a ticket. I have not used it so I have no idea how it is though. You could rent a car once there if you need it and at least not have to pay the extra charges for one way trips.

klystomane

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 03:31:35 PM »
So we’ve got a big family trip coming up this summer and I am looking for alternatives to a costly one way car rental.  Our family of four will be flying from the east coast to San Francisco, where we are planning to rent a car and drive to Yosemite National Park for a week of camping with friends.  In full disclosure, this will actually be more like “glamping” as we will be staying in a structure that has concrete walls, electricity and a canvas top.  Following the week of camping we will be headed to Lake Tahoe (Incline Village specifically) for a few days for the Fourth of July and flying home out of Reno.

We were able to pay for our flights and our stay in Tahoe through the use of credit card rewards points and the cost of camping is fixed, which we are comfortable with.  It looks like our biggest expense is now going to be the 11 day one way car rental from San Francisco to Reno.  We looked into a number of different options for our flights in an attempt to avoid this situation, but due to logistics it made the most sense to book it the way we did.

That all being said, does anyone have any advice on how to reduce the cost of the one way rental or know of any possible alternatives?

What's the lowest quote you've gotten?

Priceline shows one way vs same drop-off location are both about $70/day, depending on how big of a car you need.

TravelStache

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 04:24:25 PM »
I've found a full size car for $485 total cost from Thrifty.  I think our biggest issue is going to be whether we can pack the four of us (two in car seats), all of our bags and camping gear into the car.  Now that I think about it, my neighbor has a canvas car top carrier that we may be able to bring.  I'm not sure how small it packs down, but we have free checked bags because we are flying Southwest.

stash4cash

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 05:44:21 PM »
If you are getting a car rental one-way, shop each brand carefully, the price differences on one-way's can be dramatic.

Homey The Clown

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 06:16:38 PM »
If you're a Costco member, check their website. We only needed a one way for a single day (to buy a car), but we saved $30 through Costco.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 07:52:45 PM »
Haven't tried Costco but always worth a look.

Having worked for a famous car rental company that rhymes with worstz (and quit because they were idiots) I recommend the following:

1. First see if you can get on any of the car transport sites for SF to Reno/Incline: people pay to have someone drive their vehicle. Chancy due to the car seat situation though. And there are sometimes shuttles from the Reno airport to Incline (to the Hyatt).

2. Check to see if you can figure out a rideshare kind of thing at least to Reno, as then the car rental situation for Incline will be easier.

3. Definitely check each local rental carrier for specials and promotions...and sometimes the cc companies include special coupons in your bill (Amex does, anyway). And check to see if the weekly or monthly option is cheaper...I forget the cutoff point but especially at the other company that charges for miles...if you're near the cutoff point the longer rental adds up to cheaper versus the over mileage charges. You can always return early: wortz doesn't fine for that.

4. Check online to see if being a "gold club member" will help you...each company has their own promo thing and each one varies, big time. But I've always found Priceline Kayak/online sites to trump them.

5. Depending upon what company you choose, make sure that you either have unlimited mileage or know you can make your trip happen in allotted mileage...some are pretty short numbers. I'd mapquest your route, but keep in mind that you are so going to want to drive around Tahoe. And probably do some hiking things in Tahoe and everything is pretty spread out in this area. For biking I highly recommend Blackwood Forest as it's a lovely paved road that goes back several miles to a stream with a few places for fishing/swimming.

6. Ask for a AAA discount and "do you have any other discounts?" and "is this your BEST price?" because the way it works is...if you're bringing your car in to get it fixed, they will rent you a car at a lower rate than if you are a tourist. Yes, I know it sounds insane, but it's true. At the "H" company, anyway. But even the other companies have some wiggle room with prices on a sliding scale and things like 'vendor' discount (you work for a company they do a lot of biz with, like Ford) carries a hefty discount.

7. Do NOT buy the gas option!!!!!!!!!!!! Ever! Fill up at Arco with cheapo regular. And fill up in the valley as Tahoe is 20-30 cents a gallon more than Carson City. Reno is about 15 cents a gallon more than Carson City.

8. Call the actual location you are supposed to pick up the vehicle at one day early (keeping in mind that most will now pick you up for free at various locations, even your home) and ask to speak to the manager and get a COMMITTMENT (for what it's worth, ha ha snicker) that your vehicle will be ready when you're scheduled pickup time is. Why? Because at the one place in Carson City you will regularly wait 4-5 hours past your scheduled pickup time for them to have your vehicle ready. Sometimes more. And sometimes it will NEVER be ready. Ever. (trust me on this) Since most companies have a free cancellation policy, most local people and professionals who regularly travel here book with both big companies and then whichever one actually has the damn car is the one that they go with.

9. Be careful about "protection" which is their insanely overpriced insurance. Collision on a busy holiday weekend might be worth it as it's walkaway coverage. But all the other bs stuff isn't...one is for 'some' of your luggage...and ends up costing you 14 bucks and covers something like $300 worth of 'some' luggage with lots of exemptions...so basically useless. There are many package options and they gloss over it as though you "have" to purchase the big pricey one: you don't. You're not obligated to buy any of it. Due to drunks on the holiday it's your call but check with your insurance agent prior to leaving to see what they cover...supposedly as of 3 months ago, Visa was the best card to book on as they waived a lot of crap as covered in the event of an accident. But this crap changes all of the time.

10. Most important: try and pick the vehicle up in bright daylight or bring a flashlight and carefully inspect the windshield and the tire treads. You are responsible for ALL windshield damage and they're pricey...it can be difficult to notice a small star or one inch blip but they WILL charge you for a new windshield if you return with one. You change your own damn tires and the company I worked for regularly 'forgot' to check tread depth. They would also rent a car out with an idiot light on the dash saying "oh, it's for scheduled maintenance that's not due until you return the car" which is often utter bullshit: don't take any vehicle with a warning light, regardless.

Best of luck. Last time I rented a car I went online and got like a 47% discount.

highcountry

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 08:20:16 PM »
Amtrak service from the bay area to Yosemite is actually pretty good.  You switch from train to bus in Medford, and the bus takes you right into Yosemite Valley.  I have no idea if it would be a viable option for the rest of the trip.

arebelspy

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 04:24:58 PM »
Check TransferCar.  Tagline: "Free one-way car rentals. Transfer cars and RVs across the United States"

http://lifehacker.com/transfercar-lets-your-rent-a-car-one-way-for-free-1652055015
https://www.transfercarus.com/
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Goldielocks

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 04:30:41 PM »
Drive the car back to SF, and have one person fly out of SF a day after everyone else went home from Reno -- Its only what, a 3 hour drive?
You could shuttle back to reno, as well -- Southwest, Jet Blue, etc seem to have low fares that may offset the cost of gas + return fee.

Returnoftheyeti

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 10:14:32 PM »
4ish hour drive to Reno from SFO.  Very dependaant on the date and time of day.  Last I checked there are no direct flights from SFO/OAK to RNO, SJC may still have one. 

What is the actual cost of this one way rental?  What is the drop fee.  What is the cost if you return it back to SFO? 

frugaliknowit

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Re: How do we reduce the cost of our one way car rental?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2014, 12:28:45 AM »
I have looked into one way car rentals numerous times recently and found ZIPPO (at least anything that makes sense...).

Consider flying to Reno, instead of SF, which is about 90 minutes from Lake Tahoe (I've skied there before).  You can either rent a car in Reno or bus to Lake Tahoe (about 30 bux each) on the South Tahoe Express and rent a car in Tahoe.  Return the car to the same place.  FYI, flights to Reno are way cheaper than SF.

If you bought tickets on SW already, you can cancel and get "full credit" for use within one year (I love that!).

I honestly don't think you'll find a viable one-way car rental.  If you do, let me know!