#one way car rentals
Ways to minimize your costs, and a less expensive alternative
One-way car rentals are one of the priciest propositions in the travel industry. If you drop your car off in a different place than you picked it up, your car rental company has to get the vehicle back to where it belongs — and you can be sure it will pass the associated costs on to you. One-way renters are typically penalized with high base rates or drop-off surcharges.
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Despite the added cost, travelers choose one-way rentals for a variety of reasons: to avoid retracing their steps on vacation, to take the place of an even more expensive flight or to take a cross-country road trip without putting miles on their own car.
If you’re considering a one-way car rental, read on to learn which companies offer them, how to minimize the cost and whether special arrangements called “driveaways” could be a less expensive alternative.
Who offers one-way car rentals?
Most of the major car rental companies offer one-way rentals, though availability varies significantly depending on which company you choose and on where you’re traveling. For example, neither National nor Alamo permits one-way rentals in El Salvador, and Enterprise generally allows one-way rentals only within the same metropolitan area or state.
While smaller car rental companies may also offer one-way rentals, you will have the most choice if you rent with a larger chain that has more rental locations. Contact your car rental company or visit its Web site to ask about policies on one-way rentals.
One-way car rentals are pricey due to two factors: drop-off surcharges and high base rates. The drop-off surcharge, which can add up to hundreds of dollars, is the penalty some companies charge for leaving your vehicle in a different location than where you picked it up. Even if your company doesn’t sock you with a drop-off surcharge, you’ll still pay more for your one-way rental because of higher base rates for one-way rentals.
We tested prices at the Budget Web site to see how significant the differences were for one-way versus roundtrip rentals. Here are the total prices with taxes and fees for a six-day rental in each of the locations below: