October 7, 2022


Let's Talk Car

Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or in the city?

(NerdWallet) – When it arrives to preserving dollars on rental vehicles, there’s no scarcity of suggestions. Some propose skipping mainstream companies and using a auto rental option, like a peer-to-peer car or truck-sharing assistance. Other individuals promote package discounts through on the net vacation businesses like Expedia. And then there’s this assistance: Hire as a result of a rental auto company’s downtown spot, alternatively than at the airport.

So how substantially do you truly conserve by reserving an off-airport vehicle rental? Are airport rental automobiles a lot more pricey? Turns out, it’s about 26% more high-priced to lease a auto at the airport compared to at its downtown counterpart.

That is in accordance to a NerdWallet investigation conducted in March of 360 rental vehicle costs (such as taxes and fees) across America’s 20 biggest airports. The study in comparison the selling price of a weeklong rental at 8 main automobile rental companies in opposition to the charge to hire at their nearby downtown counterparts.

How a lot dollars you actually help you save with an off-airport motor vehicle rental

NerdWallet found that weekly automobile rentals for downtown areas were being, on normal, $126 less expensive than airport areas. That is, you can count on to shell out about 26% additional for an airport rental compared to a downtown rental.

For rentals more time than a person week, anticipate even extra discounts.

Why are airport automobile rentals so significantly much more high priced?

The value variation could possibly not just be the car rental firms trying to choose advantage of weary air vacationers. Usually, the vehicle rental businesses are not even the types pocketing most of the 26% surplus.

Most airports cost rental auto organizations to run on their web-site. Expenses differ by airport, but they are often meant to deal with expenses that the airport fronts, these kinds of as shuttle, cleansing and stability companies. At times, airports simply say this rate covers the ideal to do company.

For instance, San Francisco Worldwide Airport prices rental auto operators 10% of gross receipt profits from airport prospects. SFO also rates a $16 transportation and facility rate for each signed rental car deal.

Aside from airport-imposed expenses, some states levy tourism fees on cars rented from hotel and airport destinations (which does not automatically utilize to cars and trucks rented at stand-by itself locations).

Most rental car or truck corporations move these expenses on to renters.

Gains of scheduling a rental auto off-site (past financial savings)

Price savings on the sticker price tag are not the only purpose to guide a rental vehicle off-web page.

You may conserve time

Just for the reason that a rental automobile is listed as “on-site” at the airport doesn’t often signify you can walk straight from your gate to the rental car counter. Some airports have a shuttle ride to the rental auto facility. The moment there, you may well be greeted by a lengthy line at the rental motor vehicle counter, particularly if a number of big flights just landed. If shuttle frequency is confined, it might be more quickly hailing a taxi and leasing downtown.

You are going to spend only for the times you need to have a auto

Dependent on the character of your vacation, you might will need to lease a car or truck for only a couple of days. Say you are headed to Colorado, in which you strategy to shell out a pair of days downtown in Denver in advance of driving out to the Rocky Mountains.

If you are flying into Denver International Airport, you could spend $10.50 to get the Denver airport rail to Denver Union Station. Say you were staying at The Westin Denver Downtown, which is just a 10-minute stroll from Union Station. It costs $35 for each day for parking (and $46 for valet).

By picking up your rental motor vehicle downtown the early morning that you generate off to the Rockies, you could not only avoid paying out for needless rental motor vehicle days in what is otherwise a rather public-transit-welcoming and walkable town — but you could steer clear of parking fees, also.

You can improve rideshare bargains on times you don’t need to have a comprehensive rental vehicle

If you go aspect of your excursion sans vehicle — or you close up having a rideshare to an off-site rental vehicle area — below are ways you can conserve on rideshares (or at the very least earn some rewards).

Lyft has partnerships with Delta Air Strains and Hilton, wherever you can receive both Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors details dependent on your fare’s cost. Spend for your Lyft with sure Chase credit history cards and receive up to 10x bonus points or as considerably as 5% funds back again.

In the meantime, sure American Convey playing cards give a month-to-month Uber Income profit, which can be made use of towards Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders. Conditions implement.

When to skip the downtown rental

Regardless of the savings, scheduling cars and trucks off-web-site might not always make sense. Currently being able to decide on up your automobile right away on landing could possibly be more effortless — and convenience could possibly effortlessly be really worth the extra price tag. In this article are a several other reasons to skip the downtown rental:

  • Some downtown destinations have limited hrs. While airport destinations are normally open 24/7, it is not unheard of to see the downtown locale shut on Sundays, or with much less running hrs (such as a closing time of 4 p.m.).
  • You even now want to come across a way downtown. If there’s no free of charge hotel shuttle or effortless public transit downtown, then you could possibly also have to pay out for a taxi or rideshare, which can try to eat into your price savings. NerdWallet’s review also analyzed normal Uber and Lyft fares in between airports and downtown. The average Uber fare was $28.21 each and every way, although the average Lyft fare was $22.86.
  • Downtown spots aren’t normally much less expensive. Though they are commonly more affordable than their airport counterparts, the pattern isn’t often genuine. If your vacation is versatile, review selling prices just before booking.

How to find a low cost airport rental motor vehicle

If you are going to book a rental automobile from the airport, there are a couple of methods:

  • Seem to the most economical rental auto corporations. An additional NerdWallet analysis of prices by rental vehicle corporations found that Business, Price range and Hertz round out the prime a few cheapest rental motor vehicle providers, on ordinary.
  • Attempt reserving at the last minute. Even though a little bit additional of a gamble, procrastinating can often save you funds. NerdWallet found that rental automobile rates tend to be much less expensive when booked 1 week in advance of the reservation date vs . three months in advance.
  • Seem to rental car or truck loyalty systems. Most important motor vehicle rental organizations have accompanying loyalty systems that can make you cost-free rentals and updates. For example, while National is among the the most pricey rental car or truck firms, its Countrywide Vehicle Rental Emerald Club is among the the very best, with added benefits like a absolutely free car rental day for every single 5 experienced vehicle rentals manufactured by members with Emerald Club Govt Elite Standing. They also acquire positive aspects like complimentary private airport shipping.

JT Genter and Sam Kemmis contributed to this report.

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