Is It Cheaper to Rent a Car at the Airport?


When it arrives to preserving money on rental cars and trucks, there is no lack of tips. Some advise skipping mainstream businesses and employing a automobile rental choice, like a peer-to-peer automobile-sharing support. Many others market package deal offers by means of on the net vacation organizations like Expedia. And then there’s this suggestions: Hire by a rental car or truck company’s downtown location, rather than at the airport.

So how significantly do you actually help you save by scheduling an off-airport auto rental? Are airport rental vehicles far more expensive? Turns out, it’s about 26% additional costly to lease a vehicle at the airport vs . at its downtown counterpart.

That’s according to a NerdWallet investigation performed in March of 360 rental motor vehicle rates (together with taxes and fees) throughout America’s 20 premier airports. The examine when compared the selling price of a weeklong rental at 8 main car or truck rental corporations towards the price to hire at their nearby downtown counterparts.

How significantly income you truly preserve with an off-airport automobile rental

NerdWallet identified that weekly car or truck rentals for downtown spots ended up, on typical, $126 less costly than airport spots. That is, you can be expecting to expend about 26% a lot more for an airport rental as opposed to a downtown rental.

It is cheaper to rent a car downtown than at an airport by over $100 on average according to a NerdWallet study

For rentals for a longer time than 1 7 days, expect even far more personal savings.

Why are airport car rentals so a lot much more expensive?

The rate distinction might not just be the automobile rental organizations making an attempt to take benefit of weary air vacationers. Commonly, the car or truck rental organizations are not even the types pocketing most of the 26% surplus.

Most airports cost rental car or truck businesses to work on their website. Service fees vary by airport, but they are often supposed to deal with expenditures that the airport fronts, these kinds of as shuttle, cleaning and stability products and services. From time to time, airports simply just say this fee covers the proper to do enterprise.

For instance, San Francisco Global Airport charges rental car or truck operators 10% of gross receipt revenue from airport customers. SFO also rates a $16 transportation and facility charge per signed rental car agreement.

Other than airport-imposed fees, some states levy tourism service fees on autos rented from resort and airport places (which doesn’t essentially apply to cars and trucks rented at stand-by itself areas).

Most rental car firms go these costs on to renters.

Gains of scheduling a rental auto off-web-site (further than financial savings)

Discounts on the sticker cost aren’t the only cause to e-book a rental auto off-website.

You may well preserve time

Just for the reason that a rental automobile is stated as “on-site” at the airport does not normally indicate you can stroll straight from your gate to the rental automobile counter. Some airports have a shuttle experience to the rental vehicle facility. The moment there, you may well be greeted by a prolonged line at the rental auto counter, in particular if many massive flights just landed. If shuttle frequency is confined, it could possibly be more quickly hailing a taxi and leasing downtown.

You’ll fork out only for the times you need to have a auto

Relying on the nature of your journey, you could possibly have to have to hire a vehicle for only a handful of days. Say you’re headed to Colorado, where you approach to expend a couple of days downtown in Denver in advance of driving out to the Rocky Mountains.

If you are traveling into Denver Global Airport, you could pay back $10.50 to choose the Denver airport rail to Denver Union Station. Say you have been remaining at The Westin Denver Downtown, which is just a 10-moment walk from Union Station. It charges $35 for each day for parking (and $46 for valet).

By finding up your rental car or truck downtown the early morning that you push off to the Rockies, you could not only steer clear of paying for unneeded rental vehicle times in what is if not a fairly community-transit-welcoming and walkable town — but you could steer clear of parking fees, much too.

You can increase rideshare bargains on days you never need to have a entire rental car

If you go component of your vacation sans vehicle — or you stop up using a rideshare to an off-website rental automobile spot — listed here are ways you can help save on rideshares (or at least earn some rewards).

Lyft has partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Hilton, exactly where you can generate possibly Delta SkyMiles or Hilton Honors details primarily based on your fare’s price tag. Fork out for your Lyft with sure Chase credit history playing cards and generate up to 10x bonus points or as a lot as 5% funds back.

Meanwhile, particular American Categorical cards provide a regular monthly Uber Income benefit, which can be applied toward Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders. Phrases use.

When to skip the downtown rental

Regardless of the personal savings, reserving autos off-web site may not constantly make feeling. Becoming ready to select up your car or truck right away on landing might be a lot more effortless — and convenience may possibly simply be well worth the excess price. In this article are a number of other motives to skip the downtown rental:

  • Some downtown destinations have limited several hours. While airport destinations are generally open 24/7, it is not unheard of to see the downtown site shut on Sundays, or with less running several hours (these types of as a closing time of 4 p.m.).
  • You still require to find a way downtown. If there is no free of charge hotel shuttle or straightforward general public transit downtown, then you may possibly also have to pay for a taxi or rideshare, which can take in into your discounts. NerdWallet’s study also analyzed typical Uber and Lyft fares between airports and downtown. The normal Uber fare was $28.21 each individual way, when the normal Lyft fare was $22.86.
  • Downtown places are not constantly less costly. Although they are typically less expensive than their airport counterparts, the trend is not always accurate. If your vacation is adaptable, examine prices prior to booking.

How to locate a low-priced airport rental car or truck

If you are heading to e-book a rental auto from the airport, there are a couple of tips:

  • Search to the lowest priced rental car or truck organizations. A further NerdWallet assessment of selling prices by rental motor vehicle companies found that Company, Spending budget and Hertz spherical out the best a few cheapest rental motor vehicle companies, on common.
  • Check out booking at the final moment. Whilst a bit much more of a gamble, procrastinating can occasionally save you money. NerdWallet uncovered that rental car price ranges are likely to be cheaper when booked a single 7 days in advance of the reservation date compared to a few months in advance.
  • Look to rental auto loyalty programs. Most key car rental businesses have accompanying loyalty plans that can make you free of charge rentals and upgrades. For example, although Nationwide is between the most high-priced rental auto corporations, its National Car or truck Rental Emerald Club is among the the ideal, with added benefits like a free car rental day for each and every 5 qualified vehicle rentals created by members with Emerald Club Govt Elite Standing. They also get gains like complimentary private airport shipping and delivery.

JT Genter and Sam Kemmis contributed to this report.

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