On a family trip to California, we spent two nights in San Francisco and five nights in Lake Tahoe. I relied on one of my old tricks for car rental savings—rent more and pay less.
When planning our California trip, I knew we did not need a rental car in San Francisco. We were staying in an Airbnb apartment in a fantastic location—on the edge of Russian Hill, Chinatown, and North Beach. We could ride BART between the airport and downtown and, within the city, walk or ride the city transit options.
My ideal scenario was to pick up a rental car the morning we leave San Francisco and then drive to Lake Tahoe. Ideal, that is, except for the price.
For our travel dates, renting a car from:
- SFO airport for seven days would cost $300.
- SFO airport for five days would cost $500.
- downtown San Francisco for five days would cost $700. McCool Travel note: There was one $300 option for a convertible, which, darn it, is not convenient for four adults. Can I get a rain check?
Figuring I could find cheap parking in San Francisco for under $100 for two nights, I decided to rent the car from the airport for seven days.
Even though we did not NEED a car in San Francisco, I still rented a car, because I could save hundreds of dollars.
Not only did I park my car for almost two days, I did not even drive it. How crazy is that? Please read my parking experience with Luxe Valet for tips on cheap parking in San Francisco.
Factoring in the BART savings (at least $42.50) and my actual parking charge of $47, my car rental savings was $400.
Yes, it is a ridiculous rental car company policy, but I saved $400 by renting a car for an additional two days. Even though I did not use the car!
Rent more, pay less. I love it!
Besides saving money, we saved time and saved aggravation. A McCool Travel triple play!
We saved time exiting the airport, with our rental car instead of taking the BART train to downtown. I further saved the potential time and expense of taking BART back to the airport to rent a car two days later (which I have done before).
Honestly, it would not have been great fun getting from the downtown BART station to our vacation rental, so it was nice to be able to park the rental car nearby.
But Wait, There’s More McCool Travel Funness
Would you rent a car (and not use it) for an extra two days to save hundreds of dollars? Have you? Tell me!