Traveling for months at a time is a dream. But figuring out how to get around for that long can be a nightmare. If you want to have the most freedom, long term car rental is your best option. It’s easy to find a long-term car rental, but getting the best deal can take a lot of digging around. “How much is a long term car rental” you’re asking? Well, it depends a lot of where and when you need a car. A pretty fair ballpark estimate is at least $1,000/month for a basic economy car or standard sedan. There are plenty of tips, tricks, and hacks though if you’re willing to put in the work. Here’s how to get the best deal on a long term car rental.
Get a car at a traditional car rental company
Most major car rental companies (Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Alamo) have long-term rentals available year round. They offer discounts the longer you need a car, but the savings are often minimal compared to what you’re shelling out. If you can go without a car for a few days, it’s sometimes worth it to break up your long-term car rental into shorter spurts of a week or more. Because traditional car rental companies are usually catering to short and mid-term travelers, there are usually more deals and discounts for one to two week rentals. You might have to visit the car rental location a few times, but the savings could be worth it. Also–avoid doing long-term rentals at the airport (if you can). They’re more expensive and since you’ll be in the area awhile, the convenience factor of airport pickup/dropoff is dampened.
Try a car sharing company
In the United States, car sharing is a great car rental alternative. It’s fairly new compared to traditional rental cars, but gaining in popularity due to the convenience, value, and tech-centered business model. Car sharing companies can usually offer you better rates, as their cars are owned by real people and not part of a company-owned vehicle fleet. Car sharing companies inspect every car and make sure they’re reliable. You don’t have to worry about getting a lemon as all cars are under 10 years old and in great working condition. Plus, car sharing companies like Avail protect your trip with insurance coverage from Allstate and include roadside assistance at no extra charge. The only downside is that many car sharing companies aren’t quite nationwide yet. Still, many major and mid-market cities in the US will have a car sharing option at or near the airport.
Look into lease transfers
This one’s a bit tricky, but assuming someone else’s car lease can save you thousands. There are some upfront costs and you’ll need to register as a buyer on a site like leasetrader.com. From there, you can browse temporary car leases for sale, some as cheap as $100-$200/month. Even with one-time costs like transfer fee, commission, and a transportation fee, you can potentially save $1,000+. The downside to a lease transfer is that it requires a lot of moving parts and work. For some, the savings just aren’t worth the inconvenience of it all, especially when lining up other aspects of your trip.
What about insurance?
Good question. Many car rental companies only provide insurance for up to 30 days, so you’ll likely need to explore other options. Coverage from your personal insurance policy or credit card may only provide loss-damage waiver (LDW) insurance, but you might want to consider purchasing collision and liability insurance as well. Avail protects your trip with insurance coverage from Allstate. While initial costs for other options might be lower, the overall value of car sharing with insurance included might be worth it. As always, the best thing to do is research, shop around, and make the decision that’s best for you.