The following is from the archives of my previous blog, Travel Skills, from December 2008. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@CharlesMcCool) and subscribe to this blog to be among the first notified when a new entry is posted.
For our family trip last summer, I booked our outgoing flight from Baltimore (BWI). After three weeks, our return flight was to Dulles airport. If the flight returned to BWI, I would have considered one of those stay and park deals at a hotel near BWI or just used long-term parking. Instead, I needed to find someone to give us a ride (75 minutes each way) or pay $100+ for a shuttle. On a whim, because that’s the way I roll, I checked the car rental rates. Hertz and Avis were too much. National, though, charged $30 total for the one-way rental. Sweet!
That was somewhat creative but I have also used rental cars to move between residences, when my car was too small (or broken) or I did not have a car at the time. I have used rental cars to move across the country but those were the days when I did not have much stuff. I would rent a car (or van) for three weeks, giving me enough time to drive each way between California and Florida with some time to visit. I did this three times in a row (nine weeks total). At about $100 a week, it was less expensive and more luxurious and fun than a moving truck. On the other hand, I have seen U-Haul dealers offering trucks for $100 or less, because they needed to get them to another location. Sort of similar to the Florida car deals in the spring.
Of course, people rent cars for many purposes—to haul junk to the dump, to move people around town, car is in the shop, whatever. If you need a car only for a short time, Zipcar is a cool concept. They rent cars by the hour.
What are your experiences with rental cars? Anything creative? Let me know.