How To Save A Lot Of Money On Your Next Car Rental From U.S. Airports
Unprecedented rates of consolidation within the industry, an addiction to pricey new centralized airport rental facilities (costs are nearly always billed back to the consumer) and a business model that appears to be on life-support add up to one simple fact: In far too many markets, consumers are paying way too much for their rental cars. Where they're most frequently being taken for a ride? The airport.
For experienced budget travelers, it's always been possible to avoid on-airport rates – all you've ever had to do is hop in a cab to a local agency branch, where you can save an often-astonishing amount of money. But with a much-needed increase in airport transit across North America, not to mention the cheaper-than-cabs (well, most of the time) ridesharing services that are now legal at more airports than you might have guessed, the most casual vacationers can quite easily take advantage of the deals waiting often just minutes from the airport perimeter.
To give you an idea of how easy it can be to beat the rental rates at some of the busiest North American airports, I've randomly sampled the cost of a week's economy car rental in the coming weeks, using one company per destination. (Make sure to compare as many as you can when you do your research.) I'll then show you the cheapest way to get to the off-airport location, finding out whether or not they'll allow you to drop the car at the airport at the end of your trip without a steep penalty – this will save you time and hassle on your last day in town.
SAVE $259 IN LAS VEGAS (LAS)
Rent at airport: $388/week plus $172 taxes and fees, Avis
Cheapest way to get there: Beginning Apr. 22, hop the new A Line train from DIA to Union Station ($9, 37 min.) then hail an Uber for the 12 block ride to the agency location ($5-$7). Until then, a $55 cab ride from the terminals will still save you plenty of money.
Additional cost to return at airport: Approximately $20 more, built into the daily rate.
SAVE $89 IN NEW YORK (JFK)
Rent at airport: $271/week plus $125 taxes and fees, Dollar