You Don’t Always Need Your Rental Car the First Night

You don't always need your rental car the first nightEach Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from reader Jeff M., who says:

“This tip is obvious to frequent travelers to big cities but maybe not so much for occasional travelers, so I want to share it. I travel often to LAX arriving in the evening and needing a place to crash for the night. I have been disappointed when I go to the time and trouble to rent a car, then drive to the hotel, only to be greeted with a $35 a night (or more) parking fee. Now my car does not really need a hotel room nearly as badly as I do so now I know to shuttle to the hotel upon arrival, and leisurely pick the car up in the morning using Uber, or if you really want to save money and have the time, take the shuttle back to the airport and then the shuttle to the car rental facility. You save the money parking for the night and can save up to an extra day car rental as well. It is a simple tip but it will save you the equivalent of a dinner out that night.”

A good one. Thanks, Jeff!

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I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

3 Comments on "You Don’t Always Need Your Rental Car the First Night"

  1. I try not to get my car at the airport. As a regular visitor to Phoenix, I’ll get a Lyft to where I’m staying and rent from the local/neighborhood National,Budget etc.office and save about$100 dollars in extra fees and taxes the airport rentals add on.

  2. Good tip. And if you are travelling halfway around the world please don’t drive on the day of arrival especially if driving on the other side of the road. You will be far too tired and more likely to make a serious, perhaps deadly, mistake.

  3. This sometimes makes sense, especially if you have to pay to park at the hotel. But often if you get to an airport late at night and where parking is free, it might be better to rent the car since you’re already there and it just takes additional time to get back to the airport and then get a shuttle bus to the rental car location, since not every airport has on-site car rentals. Many times, the rental for 8 or 10 fewer hours isn’t worth it since you might still be within one 24-hour period.
    Another possibility, however, if you want to have a lot of money is to rent the car from an off-site location such as Enterprise. The Uber-ride to the location can save you a bundle since at the off-site places, you probably will not have to pay the exorbitant airport-location surcharges. In almost every place where it was feasible to rent off-site, I was able to return it to the airport at no extra charge.
    Obviously, the off-site locations don’t have the 24/7 convenience, so in many cases, this option isn’t even feasible.
    Then again, Costcotravel.com car rentals are by far cheaper than anyone’s best rates and as far as I know, only work for airport locations, so the whole off-site option idea isn’t worth pursuing!

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