Renting a one-way car is ideal if you're planning a road trip, dealing with airline delays or cancellations, handling unplanned changes to a trip or emergencies, or moving. Most car rental companies offer one-way rental options and are convenient because they save you the time and hassle of returning your car to the original location. To rent a one-way car, take into account all the options in your area, make a reservation and return the car in the same condition in which you picked it up.
Method 1 of 2: Reserve a car
Step 1. Compare prices
One-way rentals typically cost more than reserving a round-trip car, and rates vary depending on the company you're renting from and the dates. Using a comparison website (for example, AutoSlash or KAYAK) can help you find the best deal and decide which rental company is right for you.
Ask about hidden fees. When you find a rental company that you like and would possibly rent a car from, check out their website. One-way rentals often have additional fees that round-trip rentals don't. The surcharge for leaving the car, which some companies charge to leave it in a place other than where you picked it up, can run into the hundreds of dollars. It is recommended that you look at what the company's website says about these rates
Step 2. Look for discounts
Individual rental companies often have special offers, extras, and coupons for one-way rentals, which can range from 24-hour roadside assistance and unlimited mileage to as much as 35% reduction in price if you pay. at the time of booking instead of leaving the car.
You can look for these discounts on the website of your chosen rental company, through membership programs (for example, AAA or AARP in the US), or on a general website like Groupon
Step 3. Find out which companies have locations in the departure and arrival cities
Large chains (for example, Budget, Hertz, or Enterprise) will offer more parking spaces than a small company. In addition to giving you more options, prices will generally be lower for companies that have more parking spaces.
Step 4. Choose the vehicle
Car rental companies offer a selection of options, including economy cars, full-size sedans, minivans, sports utility vehicles, and pickup cars. Choose a model based on your specific needs, although you should be aware that some car rental companies will only offer larger cars for one-way rentals.
Step 5. Determine if you should buy insurance
Check with your auto insurance company to determine if your coverage for your primary vehicle also extends to a rental car. It is likely that this is the case if you have full coverage, but it is best to check well by consulting your insurance policy.
Buy insurance over the phone or online rather than over the counter. The rate will likely be lower, and you won't feel pressure to buy insurance that you may not really need
Step 6. Make the reservation
You can do it online, over the phone or in person, whichever option is most convenient for you.
- List additional drivers, if applicable. This may cost more, but if you intend to let someone else drive, it is your responsibility if an accident occurs.
- Read the rental agreement line by line and ask the service agent any questions you have about the agreement. It is better to be certain of what you are going to sign than to have to deal with a surprise during your trip.
Method 2 of 2: Pick Up and Drop Off
Step 1. Choose a place to pick up the car
While airports are the most common option, rental companies charge more to rent a car from the terminal. Consider picking up the car at a rental car location, which will likely have lower rates and shorter lines.
Step 2. Inspect the car for damage
Do it before you get in the car. List the damages, no matter how small, from scratches to dents. This can help protect you from being overcharged for damages you haven't caused.
Take photos of the damage as evidence
Step 3. Be aware of mileage limits
There are some car rental companies that offer unlimited daily mileage, while some rental plans may set a limit of 240 km (150 miles) per day for larger cars or sport utility vehicles. Stay within the stipulated range so they don't overcharge you.
Step 4. Return the car at the end of the rental
The rental agreement will stipulate a time and place to return the car. Place the keys, the final odometer reading, and your signature in the designated envelope, and leave the car on the lot.
- Make sure to return the car within the specified time frame, as you may be overcharged for returning it early or later.
- Register the return of the car in the place where you should leave it. In many cases, companies offer the possibility of leaving the car out of hours. Therefore, in case it is after hours, call the customer service number to report that you returned the car before the end of your rental period.
- Make sure to collect all your belongings before returning the car.