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Southmartin

US/Canada Car Hire tips

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HI all. Hoping for group wisdom and advice!

I might be spending a month or two in the US and Canada over the summer, and will therefore need long-term transport.

It'll need to be a car (SUV ideally) as public transport/Uber won't cut it. So i'm looking at longer term car rental.

Seems pretty steep at the mo (granted I know it's peak tim). But does anyone have any thrifty tips for a DOSBODS skinflint?

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11 minutes ago, Long time lurking said:

Airbnb cars ?

Looks interesting. Not sure how the insurance is covered though

10 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Www.insuranceforcarhire.com or similar will save you a fortune.

that link goes to a very odd website!

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If you're there for a few months have you considered buying something? (Like a ten year old... pick favoured, robust brand). May not be as plush as a new hire, but is likely to work out considerably cheaper, especially with the small print on hire agreements.

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18 minutes ago, Southmartin said:

Looks interesting. Not sure how the insurance is covered though

that link goes to a very odd website!

You're right. So it does.

Should be inurance4carhire.com

 

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I've used Rent-A-Wreck in New York and despite the name it was a decent vehicle, much cheaper than standard Airport Hire Companies and they had a wide range of cars to choose from.

 

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16 hours ago, Melchett said:

If you're there for a few months have you considered buying something? (Like a ten year old... pick favoured, robust brand). May not be as plush as a new hire, but is likely to work out considerably cheaper, especially with the small print on hire agreements.

Problem with this is having to re-sell afterwards, time consuming or potentially lossy situation. Wonder if possible to do a deal with s/h car lot owner - explain situation, buy car and sell back with valuation pre-agreed based on estimated mileage/additional owner on logbook and returned in similar condition, might have some stock on hand that is not shifting and happy for a deal that washes its face.

Short term lease / Long term hire also possibility - about $1K a month, for the latter from Enterprise / SUV class cars.

Short term leases in the UK look damned cheap.

 

 

Edited by onlyme

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7 minutes ago, onlyme said:

Problem with this is having to re-sell afterwards, time consuming or potentially lossy situation. Wonder if possible to do a deal with s/h car lot owner - explain situation, buy car and sell back with valuation pre-agreed based on estimated mileage/additional owner on logbook and returned in similar condition, might have some stock on hand that is not shifting and happy for a deal that washes its face.

Short term lease / Long term hire also possibility - about $1K a month, for the latter from Enterprise / SUV class cars.

Short term leases in the UK look damned cheap.

 

 

Indeed. I just wonder if there isn't something like the informal Antipodean market for. VW camper vans there used to be in London? When people got back from their European tour they'd sell it on to the next Man or Woman from down under just off the plane. Perhaps there's a business opportunity there waiting to be plucked for the right person? Especially in these internet app days? Be my guest. All I ask is 5%.

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On 28/04/2018 at 16:58, Southmartin said:

So i'm looking at longer term car rental.

 Look everywhere for quotes, the third-party websites are like brokers, can be cheaper than direct. Always pay by credit card.

Join AA or swap to AA, this could give you 15% AAA discount off rate (hotels too).

The rental rate is usually quite cheap, the major cost is Collision Damage Waiver, Road Assistance, Supplementary Liability Insurance, various names. CDW isn't an insurance, its a fee for the rental company waiving the cost of collision damage.

A lot of US bank accounts and/or credit cards include CDW, so if you obtain the right one{s} it could save you a substantial sum, subject to t&cs applicable.

Booking in UK is usually cheaper, but normally upgrading is better value over there. For example, don't book SUV, Minivan, 7-Seater here, book Standard or Premium saloon, let desk clerk up sell you to your preference by cutting a deal.

Are there gaps in your itinerary when you don't need a car. For instance, you won't need a car in New York, New Orleans, Montreal, Quebec City, Chicago or Las Vegas. You'll save paying expensive parking charges. You need to check One-Way Drop-Off fees to work out savings if driving to a different city.

Picking up away from airports can be cheaper, premises on airport parks have much higher overheads. On the other hand airport location have more choice and higher turnover, so maybe little difference - but if you can save $40 on daily rate that will be worthwhile by the time you come home.

USA rates are normally cheaper than Canada like for like.

Don't even think about driving your rental car into Mexico. You'll never be seen again. 

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This is a bit odd as I had a dream a few nights ago where I was giving out some advice on hiring cars in the US - weird huh?

A couple of points I will make:

1. Get yourself a SUV - but do what @Bedrag Justesen suggests re letting them talk you into an upgrade. Don't get an open-top as I have lost count of the Brits I know who have got serious sun-burn driving in the US in an open-top car.

2. If you intend to drive between one or more states make sure that you are legally allowed to do so. Some car hire firms do not allow you to drive out of the state and, apart from not being covered insurance wise if you do, doing so is a serious crime with some serious jail time involved. I kid you not.

3. If your flight lands in the US late at night it is more than likely that all the best hire cars will have already been taken - first come first served. Some hire firms charge extra for reserving a particular car but I found that they never work as the workers hand out whatever cars they have available. So if you end up with a sh*tty car work out a plan to get it changed ASAP a day or so later on. But make sure that you are not charged for doing so because you probably will be.

There is a big difference between exchanging a car which, for example, might be playing up and one which you just don't like the model of.

4. If you are going to be driving in remote locations - i.e. desert areas - make sure that you stock up with some big bottles of water and some emergency food just in case you break down or get lost. The desert heat can make you consume far more water than you imagine. Don't laugh, but there is a reason why they sell snake bite kits in lots of US shops. Have some warm clothese for the night - it gets freezing in the desert at nights.

5. There was a discussion some years ago on TOS where one of the posters boughta car in the US for an extended stay rather than hire because it was much cheaper. I know nothing of herlp in this regard.

 

 

 

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