One-way car rentals allow you to rent a car at one location and return it to another.
One-way car rentals are among the priciest of options for those who travel for either business or pleasure, because the drivers rent the car at one location and drop it off in a different spot. However, this is an ideal choice for travelers who do not wish to retrace their steps on a vacation or those who want to travel cross-country without adding thousands of miles to their own automobile. According to the 2008 report from Auto Rental News, there were about 1.8 million rental cars in service. With so many rental automobiles available from a multitude of vendors, having the choice of one-way car rentals provides drivers with one more travel option.
Most major car rental companies offer one-way car rentals for travelers, although availability depends upon the company as well as the location of the rental and final destination. Smaller car rental companies may offer the option of one-way rental, but the city choices may be greatly limited.
Travelers can be a fickle bunch, but if they find a rental car company that goes above and beyond their expectations, they tend to come back. According to the 2008 Rental Car Satisfaction Survey completed by J.D. Power and Associates, more than 86 percent of the 13,000 travelers interviewed said they definitely would use the same rental car company. By offering such beneficial choices as one-way car rentals, and as long as the cars that are available work properly, travelers are content and car rental companies thrive.
When it comes to vacations that span several states, one-way rental may be beneficial, as the travelers do not need to go back to the pick-up spot to return the vehicle. Backtracking and visiting the same areas can cost time and money. Or if the travelers enjoy driving and are planning an extensive road trip, one-way car rentals can provide an easy transportation fix without adding extra miles to a personal automobile. Business travelers can also benefit from one-way car rentals if they are driving from state to state for sales purposes.
Additionally, if travelers are stuck at an airport and are relatively close to home, they could rent a car at the airport and return home, dropping the car off at a nearby car rental location. Another choice is for travelers to price the cost between two airports located nearby, one large and one smaller. Adding up the cost of a one-way car rental to the smaller airport might bring the overall cost down enough to make renting a car worthwhile.
The cost for using the one-way car rental will cost more than picking up and dropping the car off at the same location. This is due to two factors, which include the drop-off surcharges and high base rates. The drop-off surcharge is the penalty the company issues the traveler for not returning the car to its original location. This can cost upwards of several hundred dollars, depending upon the company's policy as well as the drop-off location. While some companies might boast a free one-way fee, they might increase the base, or basic, rates. Also, some car rental companies tack on extra mile fees, so travelers should be wary when driving those extra miles.
Travelers can benefit from lower costs by shopping around for one-way car rental prices. According to The Independent Traveler, using discounted traveling sites online can help travelers locate lower prices or coupons to apply to the cost of the car rental. Those discounted online sites, such as Priceline or Expedia, pride themselves in offering the lowest prices. Customers can determine the price straight from the car rental company's site and then compare the cost to the discounted site.
However, at certain times during the year, travelers can take advantage of lower rates by helping car rental companies move their fleet of cars from one part of the country to another. If travelers head in the same direction as rental companies who need their cars moved, the costs could be lowered. For instance, rental car companies usually send more automobiles down South when the weather turns cold, so if travelers plan to drive from New England to Florida, they could benefit by better rates. But travelers should check with the rental company before assuming this is the case.