The Off-Airport Car Rental Strategy
The off-airport car rental strategy is the single best way to save huge dollars on car rental. Phoenix/Scottsdale is a great example of a city where this off-airport strategy is powerful. Let’s say you were headed to Scottsdale for spring training from March 14-21, 2015. The best deal on my January 29, 2015, search on Costco.com had a full sized car for $443 for the week from Enterprise. You could have rented the same car from Enterprise in downtown Phoenix (approximately 5 miles from the airport) for $223 for the week ($294 if you want to return the car to the airport). You would have saved $149 to $220 for the week for the cost of a short cab ride…that’s real money (the strategy will save you less money in Phoenix during the summer season).
This Off-Airport strategy also works great in cities like Boston. Renting a mid-size car at Boston Logan from July 15-18, 2015, will set you back $349 renting from Enterprise through the Costco website. Take the short cab ride downtown ($28 according to taxifarefinder.com) and same car for the same dates will cost you $161.69 at Alamo’s downtown location (270 Atlantic Avenue) and you can return your car at Boston Logan airport. Some other cities where this strategy works great are Orlando (averages about $120 on a weekly rental), Cleveland ($85 on a three day rental) and Pittsburg ($230 on a weekly rental). Remember, car rentals prices can vary wildly from day-to-day but you get the idea.
The Off-Airport car rental strategy works because many municipalities have passed steep car rental taxes and fees that apply at the airport only—not at off airport locations. The Off-Airport car rental strategy works best if you are renting for a period of at least 72 hours in a high tax/fee airport (think Boston, Orlando, Cleveland and Pittsburg to name a few). It’s a bit of a pain but worth it when you’re pocketing $200 on a weekly rental. You can either cab it to the off-airport car rental office (I like to use Costco.com for these booking because they have a nice mapping tool) or pull a Popper. A Popper is when you take a one-way car rental from the airport and drop it off the next day at the off-site car rental office where you’re going to pick up your much, much cheaper new rental car. The trick here is to rent Budget to Budget, or Avis to Avis, etc., to avoid unnecessary hassle and be sure you’re not going to have to drive half way across town to pick up your new, cheap car. BE SURE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR DATES AND LOCATIONS SYNC UP PERFECTLY!
Hey, This is Way too Much Work for a Great Deal
If the off-airport car rental strategy does not appeal to you check out my other articles 8 Tips for the Best (and Smartest) Car Rental Deals and Uber vs Car Rental in the Era of $50 Hotel Valet Parking. Or just sign up for my weekly travel newsletter at Traveldealalert.com and I will send you two absolutely killer car rental coupon codes that will knock down your rental costs in high cost cities like Chicago and Boston by 40% to 60% (forget that 10% off noise)—although they may not help in low cost cities.