July 24, 2024


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Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or in the city?

(NerdWallet) – When it arrives to preserving revenue on rental autos, there’s no lack of information. Some suggest skipping mainstream organizations and applying a vehicle rental option, like a peer-to-peer vehicle-sharing services. Other individuals encourage bundle deals by means of on the net travel businesses like Expedia. And then there’s this advice: Hire through a rental car company’s downtown site, instead than at the airport.

So how significantly do you truly conserve by booking an off-airport automobile rental? Are airport rental vehicles much more costly? Turns out, it is about 26% extra high-priced to rent a car or truck at the airport versus at its downtown counterpart.

That is according to a NerdWallet analysis done in March of 360 rental vehicle rates (such as taxes and service fees) throughout America’s 20 major airports. The examine when compared the cost of a weeklong rental at 8 significant auto rental companies against the expense to hire at their nearby downtown counterparts.

How significantly dollars you really save with an off-airport automobile rental

NerdWallet discovered that weekly motor vehicle rentals for downtown destinations were, on common, $126 less costly than airport areas. That is, you can hope to expend about 26% far more for an airport rental in comparison to a downtown rental.

For rentals longer than just one week, expect even much more cost savings.

Why are airport motor vehicle rentals so much much more pricey?

The selling price big difference could possibly not just be the car or truck rental companies striving to acquire benefit of weary air travelers. Usually, the car or truck rental companies are not even the ones pocketing most of the 26% excess.

Most airports charge rental automobile firms to work on their website. Charges fluctuate by airport, but they are generally meant to go over prices that the airport fronts, these as shuttle, cleansing and security expert services. Occasionally, airports only say this cost addresses the correct to do business enterprise.

For case in point, San Francisco Worldwide Airport prices rental auto operators 10% of gross receipt earnings from airport customers. SFO also expenses a $16 transportation and facility fee for each signed rental car or truck contract.

Other than airport-imposed costs, some states levy tourism fees on cars rented from resort and airport destinations (which doesn’t automatically utilize to cars and trucks rented at stand-alone areas).

Most rental car or truck organizations move these charges on to renters.

Advantages of scheduling a rental automobile off-website (outside of savings)

Savings on the sticker value aren’t the only cause to book a rental car off-website.

You could help you save time

Just mainly because a rental motor vehicle is mentioned as “on-site” at the airport doesn’t always necessarily mean you can wander straight from your gate to the rental car counter. Some airports have a shuttle trip to the rental car facility. Once there, you may well be greeted by a extended line at the rental car or truck counter, specifically if various significant flights just landed. If shuttle frequency is minimal, it might be a lot quicker hailing a cab and leasing downtown.

You are going to fork out only for the days you need a car or truck

Dependent on the character of your trip, you may need to have to rent a vehicle for only a several times. Say you’re headed to Colorado, exactly where you plan to shell out a pair of days downtown in Denver prior to driving out to the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re traveling into Denver Intercontinental Airport, you could spend $10.50 to consider the Denver airport rail to Denver Union Station. Say you have been being at The Westin Denver Downtown, which is just a 10-minute walk from Union Station. It prices $35 per working day for parking (and $46 for valet).

By picking up your rental car downtown the morning that you travel off to the Rockies, you could not only avoid paying out for unwanted rental car days in what is otherwise a fairly general public-transit-helpful and walkable town — but you could steer clear of parking costs, much too.

You can increase rideshare reductions on times you really don’t need a complete rental car or truck

If you go element of your trip sans automobile — or you end up having a rideshare to an off-website rental vehicle spot — below are approaches you can help you save on rideshares (or at the very least make some rewards).

Lyft has partnerships with Delta Air Strains and Hilton, in which you can generate both Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors points based on your fare’s price tag. Fork out for your Lyft with specified Chase credit cards and make up to 10x bonus details or as significantly as 5% money back again.

In the meantime, certain American Specific playing cards offer you a month-to-month Uber Funds benefit, which can be used towards Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders. Terms use.

When to skip the downtown rental

Regardless of the cost savings, scheduling cars and trucks off-internet site could not generally make feeling. Becoming able to decide up your vehicle right away on landing may well be a lot more handy — and convenience may quickly be truly worth the extra charge. In this article are a handful of other good reasons to skip the downtown rental:

  • Some downtown locations have minimal hrs. While airport areas are usually open 24/7, it is not unheard of to see the downtown location closed on Sundays, or with fewer running several hours (such as a closing time of 4 p.m.).
  • You continue to need to have to locate a way downtown. If there is no totally free lodge shuttle or simple general public transit downtown, then you may also have to fork out for a taxi or rideshare, which can take in into your personal savings. NerdWallet’s study also analyzed ordinary Uber and Lyft fares among airports and downtown. The regular Uber fare was $28.21 each and every way, though the normal Lyft fare was $22.86.
  • Downtown areas aren’t constantly less costly. Even though they’re generally less expensive than their airport counterparts, the development isn’t normally genuine. If your journey is flexible, evaluate prices just before scheduling.

How to discover a low-cost airport rental vehicle

If you are heading to ebook a rental automobile from the airport, there are a couple of methods:

  • Seem to the lowest priced rental automobile firms. A different NerdWallet investigation of prices by rental vehicle companies observed that Business, Spending budget and Hertz spherical out the major 3 most economical rental car businesses, on ordinary.
  • Consider booking at the past moment. Whilst a bit more of a gamble, procrastinating can sometimes help save you dollars. NerdWallet located that rental vehicle prices are inclined to be more cost-effective when booked a single 7 days in progress of the reservation day as opposed to a few months in advance.
  • Appear to rental auto loyalty plans. Most key car rental companies have accompanying loyalty packages that can gain you totally free rentals and upgrades. For instance, although Nationwide is amid the most expensive rental car corporations, its Nationwide Automobile Rental Emerald Club is among the ideal, with positive aspects like a totally free car or truck rental day for just about every five capable motor vehicle rentals designed by customers with Emerald Club Government Elite Status. They also obtain added benefits like complimentary private airport supply.

JT Genter and Sam Kemmis contributed to this report.