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Is It Cheaper to Rent a Car at the Airport?


When it arrives to saving funds on rental vehicles, there is no shortage of suggestions. Some suggest skipping mainstream organizations and utilizing a auto rental alternate, like a peer-to-peer automobile-sharing service. Others endorse offer offers through on the web travel companies like Expedia. And then there is this advice: Rent through a rental car company’s downtown locale, somewhat than at the airport.

So how considerably do you definitely save by reserving an off-airport car rental? Are airport rental vehicles additional highly-priced? Turns out, it’s about 26% much more expensive to rent a motor vehicle at the airport as opposed to at its downtown counterpart.

That is in accordance to a NerdWallet analysis conducted in March of 360 rental car prices (like taxes and costs) throughout America’s 20 largest airports. The analyze as opposed the price of a weeklong rental at 8 main motor vehicle rental corporations from the price to hire at their close by downtown counterparts.

How substantially money you in fact preserve with an off-airport motor vehicle rental

NerdWallet observed that weekly car rentals for downtown destinations were, on average, $126 cheaper than airport locations. That is, you can be expecting to invest about 26% extra for an airport rental in comparison to a downtown rental.



It is cheaper to rent a car downtown than at an airport by over $100 on average according to a NerdWallet study

For rentals for a longer period than one week, anticipate even a lot more financial savings.

Why are airport car or truck rentals so a lot far more high priced?

The selling price variance might not just be the motor vehicle rental firms hoping to get edge of weary air vacationers. Generally, the car or truck rental firms are not even the types pocketing most of the 26% excessive.

Most airports cost rental car or truck organizations to run on their internet site. Service fees fluctuate by airport, but they are often supposed to cover expenses that the airport fronts, these types of as shuttle, cleansing and safety products and services. At times, airports only say this cost handles the right to do company.

For illustration, San Francisco Global Airport charges rental car or truck operators 10% of gross receipt profits from airport shoppers. SFO also rates a $16 transportation and facility fee per signed rental car or truck agreement.

Aside from airport-imposed fees, some states levy tourism costs on automobiles rented from lodge and airport spots (which doesn’t automatically use to autos rented at stand-by itself spots).

Most rental auto organizations go these expenditures on to renters.

Rewards of scheduling a rental motor vehicle off-web page (over and above price savings)

Financial savings on the sticker value aren’t the only motive to book a rental automobile off-internet site.

You may well conserve time

Just for the reason that a rental vehicle is listed as “on-site” at the airport doesn’t generally mean you can stroll straight from your gate to the rental car counter. Some airports have a shuttle trip to the rental auto facility. As soon as there, you could be greeted by a extensive line at the rental vehicle counter, especially if numerous significant flights just landed. If shuttle frequency is constrained, it could be speedier hailing a taxi and renting downtown.

You are going to pay out only for the times you need to have a car or truck

Relying on the nature of your excursion, you could require to rent a auto for only a couple days. Say you are headed to Colorado, in which you approach to commit a pair of days downtown in Denver before driving out to the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re flying into Denver International Airport, you could shell out $10.50 to get the Denver airport rail to Denver Union Station. Say you have been being at The Westin Denver Downtown, which is just a 10-moment stroll from Union Station. It costs $35 for each working day for parking (and $46 for valet).

By choosing up your rental vehicle downtown the morning that you push off to the Rockies, you could not only stay clear of paying out for unwanted rental vehicle times in what’s or else a reasonably public-transit-pleasant and walkable town — but you could keep away from parking costs, too.

You can improve rideshare bargains on times you really do not need to have a entire rental automobile

If you go section of your journey sans car — or you conclusion up getting a rideshare to an off-site rental car place — below are means you can conserve on rideshares (or at the very least earn some benefits).

Lyft has partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Hilton, in which you can make possibly Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors points primarily based on your fare’s price. Pay for your Lyft with sure Chase credit rating cards and gain up to 10x bonus points or as substantially as 5% dollars again.

Meanwhile, selected American Convey cards give a regular Uber Hard cash reward, which can be used toward Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders. Terms utilize.

When to skip the downtown rental

Even with the price savings, booking vehicles off-internet site could possibly not always make feeling. Being ready to choose up your car or truck straight away on landing could be much more hassle-free — and ease may well very easily be worth the excess cost. In this article are a few other reasons to skip the downtown rental:

  • Some downtown spots have limited several hours. While airport locations are normally open up 24/7, it is not unusual to see the downtown site closed on Sundays, or with less working hours (such as a closing time of 4 p.m.).
  • You nevertheless will need to discover a way downtown. If there is no totally free hotel shuttle or simple public transit downtown, then you could possibly also have to pay for a taxi or rideshare, which can take in into your price savings. NerdWallet’s review also analyzed normal Uber and Lyft fares concerning airports and downtown. The normal Uber fare was $28.21 every way, even though the common Lyft fare was $22.86.
  • Downtown areas are not usually much less expensive. While they are typically less expensive than their airport counterparts, the development isn’t usually correct. If your journey is versatile, examine selling prices just before scheduling.

How to find a inexpensive airport rental car

If you are going to ebook a rental auto from the airport, there are a number of methods:

  • Search to the most affordable rental car or truck firms. A different NerdWallet investigation of prices by rental car organizations observed that Business, Spending budget and Hertz round out the leading three most affordable rental car or truck corporations, on common.
  • Test scheduling at the very last minute. While a bit much more of a gamble, procrastinating can in some cases save you money. NerdWallet identified that rental car or truck prices are likely to be more cost-effective when booked a person 7 days in advance of the reservation day versus three months in progress.
  • Glimpse to rental car loyalty programs. Most key auto rental firms have accompanying loyalty applications that can get paid you free of charge rentals and updates. For case in point, whilst Countrywide is among the the most costly rental car or truck companies, its Countrywide Auto Rental Emerald Club is amongst the greatest, with benefits like a free of charge auto rental day for each 5 experienced auto rentals created by members with Emerald Club Executive Elite Standing. They also get added benefits like complimentary personal airport delivery.

JT Genter and Sam Kemmis contributed to this report.



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