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  1. Default 2 foreign exchange students, car rental from Chicago to LA. Need help!

    Hey everyone
    My friend and I are currently studying abroad in Canada and the US, and after our semester is over, we plan on going on a roadtrip driving from Chicago on the 25th of December 2009 and flying back home from LA on the 20th of January 2010. In that regard, we would really appreciate it if you guys could help in getting the best trip possible.

    First, in terms of car rental, I have been looking online trying to find the cheapest car rental agency, but it is really difficult to get an overview of what the final price is going to be since the car rental agencies only seem to list the basic price. So my question is what car rental agency would be the cheapest? Or is there a site that compares car rental prices and quotes you the final price? We are both 22 and we both plan on driving. Also, is it absolutely neccessary to have an international drivers license? I have one but my friend does not.

    In addition to the car rental issues, we would also just like recommendations on where to go. Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon are must sees but other than that we are open to suggestions on anyplace between Chicago and LA.

    I really hope you guys can help us and come up with recommendations on what to do!
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default not singular

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are plenty of places to look for a car, but your two best bets will likely be going either directly through the rental agencies directly, or perhaps through an agency from your home country. Often times foreign brokers are able to secure better deals for some reason.

    There are several major online sites like kayak, expedia, etc that search all of the companies, but because of you are under 25 and looking at a one way drop off fee, many times it is hard to find a site that will factor all of those things into the estimate.

    As long as your home license is in English, you shouldn't have to worry about an International Drivers License. If its not, it might not be a deal breaker, but you'd probably want to talk directly to the rental car company to see what their policies are.

    For a route, a direct path would basically follow old route 66, however, with a month at your disposal, you really can go almost anywhere you'd want.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Whenever I have rented a vehicle in the US, I have gone directly to the site of the company. There are sites which do comparisons, but I have found that not all companies are represented on those sites. My favourite (and the cheapest for my purposes) does not have a presence on those sites. I also read recently about a rental company which does not charge the under 25 surcharge. (I should have made a note of it.) May be worth doing a search for that.

    Best thing I find is to go to the site of one company, decide what type of car you wish to rent, (e.g. compact), then click on it and see what all the charges are as you prepare to book it. Just do not submit a booking. Or get the office phone number and call them. Print the result, and go on to the next company.

    A lot of research, a lot of work, but in the end you will find it is worth it.

    Be aware that there can be a great deal of difference renting from different locations, even with the same company. I found that renting in San Francisco or at the airport was 30% more than renting a car from the same company in Silicon Valley. It is an easy train ride from SF to Silicon Valley.


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