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  1. Default Ouch! Drop fees on car rentals. What to do?

    We just booked flights for our family of four to take a trip from Phoenix to Denver over two weeks, taking in some of the major parks along the way. We then started looking into car rentals and saw the extortionate cost for that kind of one-way trip (the main cost being a $500 drop fee).
    Does anyone have any ideas on how we can minimize the cost?
    Fox Rent a car seem to quote significantly lower than the others, but then I see lots of poor reviews about their customers service.
    We're looking for a midsize SUV or family sedan.
    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Fact of Life

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One way drop-off fees are one of the not-well-advertised facts of car rentals, and as you've found out - for a very good reason. I agree that $500 seems pretty steep, but there is a major cost to the rental company involved in getting the car back to its rightful owner. You have to realize that Big Company A does not necessarily own the car, little franchisee b does. That's why the car is tagged in a particular state. So when you drop the car off in Denver, little franchisee b in Denver has to get it back to little franchisee a in Phoenix, and that entails not just fuel, but additional wear and tear on the vehicle, the salary of someone to drive it, and the cost of a flight for that driver to bet back to Denver. Not cheap. You can't just assume (and the rental company doesn't) that someone else will want a one way rental from Denver to Phoenix and it will all work out.

    OK - so much for why the fees exist in the first place. What can you do. You can shop around (and you apparently have) in search of a better deal. But the fact that no reputable company will offer a much lower price indicates that there simply isn't enough competition for your business to warrant the rental firm waiving their fees. So you have to ask yourself: Is it really necessary to do a one way trip? What do you intend to do once you drop off the car? If the answer is that you're flying back to Phoenix, then the answer really is simple. Drive back instead. That's a day and a half. But don't think of it like that, think of it as part of your RoadTrip which you've now made a loop. Up to Denver via the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches and I-70; Home via US-50, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the Million Dollar Highway, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelley, Petrified Forest and the Salt River Canyon.

    If you're going to stay in Denver or go on from there, your options are more limited. A drive away company really wouldn't work in your case because of the limited time you would have to deliver the vehicle in Denver. Using your own car is a possibility if you are flying out of Denver to somewhere else and returning to Denver and then home. You can buy a lot of off-site airport parking for $500. If you're flying into Phoenix from somewhere else and returning home from Denver on an 'open jaw' plane reservation, then I would strongly recommend that you change the reservation and do a loop (as described above) from whichever of those two cities offers the lowest round-trip fare from your home base.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-15-2012 at 12:09 AM.

  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck - we're flying from Minneapolis and will return here from Denver. We're looking into all options now, including a round-trip. Thanks for your detailed reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    FWIW - I've used Fox Rent a Car and had no problems at all with them. My reason for choosing them at the time was they had the lowest underage driver fee. I only used them once, so I can't promise that you'll have a great experience with them, but I wouldn't immediately discount them either (also keep in mind, people are much more likely to post to complain about a negative experience than to celebrate a postitive one.)

  5. Default

    Thanks Michael. My wife and I have the same concerns about complainers in review forums. If anyone else has views on Fox, I'd love to hear them here. (It looks like it's going to make approx $400 over two weeks.)

  6. #6


    no issue with FOX, they are just not HERTZ or AVIS.
    go for them, one way fees is approx 500 every where,
    Some time booking odd hours (say collecting car at 2 in morning) can you give you some good deals and cheap upgrade!
    just an idea

  7. Default

    Thanks astraclub - it's starting to sound like Fox is the way to go.
    I'll look into your odd hours idea too.

  8. #8


    I've had fees dropped, along with rates for the week or month of a rental because I called the local number and talked to someone at the car rental site - sometimes they DO have a car out somewhere and want it back and they'll give you a rate that's awesome for your rental time knowing the car is getting back to them without the fuss of them having to make arrangements to go get it. It's not a given, but I've had it happen twice now when I've needed to rent a car in location A and return it to location location B to ask them if they have any cars at or near your pick-up location A - if they do, they'll work with you on the rate and dates!

    In one instance I had a car pick-up in Richmond, VA (really wanted Norfolk, but changed to Richmond since the rate was too sweet to pass on) that had to get back to Westchester Airport, where I needed to drop off - Norfolk is the location that suggested I call Westchester as my starting point and they told me they had a car in Richmond they needed back. Another time I picked up in Miami (instead of Fort Lauderdale) with a return to Tampa, where I was flying out from and needed to drop off - calling Tampa, they suggested if I could pick-up in MIA they'd drop the drop-off fees and lower my weekly rate to bring the car back up to them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Some very good ideas herein

    RahRah, thanks for the great tips and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!


  10. Default

    RahRah - thanks very much for this tip. I'll probably leave it closer to the time (June) and give a few rental companies a call.

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