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  1. Default NYC to LA Car rental advice.

    Hi RTA members,

    I am looking to road trip with a couple of friends this August 2014, the plan is to do NYC to LA in 20 days of zig zagging across the country. My issue today is renting a vehicle. I have never rented a vehicle and am looking for advice to avoid tourist traps and the likes.
    Should i rent the vehicle in advance or should i just pop in a shop and leave with the car i like ?
    (I'm not sure about the RTA website policy on this but) if someone could suggest a decently priced car rental company i would appreciate it.

    Thank you

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You absolutely need to be making reservations in advance - it really is the only way you'll be able to compare prices and find out what your best options really are.

    Probably the biggest thing you need to be aware of is that a 1-way, cross country trip is going to be very expensive. It is pretty much a sure thing that you'll be dealing with a drop fee that will cost you several hundred dollars (or the fee will be rolled into the rental rate.) If you are under age 25, you can also expect a $25 per day per underage driver fee on top of all of your other costs. If you are age under 21, you will likely not be able to rent a car at all.

    You will get the best rates by going with a regular sedan. Vans, SUVs, Sports Cars, etc usually carry a major premium in price, and may not be available at all for a cross country trip.

    There is no single car rental company that is always going to have the best price, especially for a trip like this, you simply need to shop around. Keep in mind, Airport and In-Town locations often have different prices, and there is a decent chance that you'll find a lower price by renting in New Jersey rather than NYC. You can start your comparison shopping right from the RTA Website, just click the Hotels and Cars tab at the top of the page.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Define 'decently priced'.

    As stated, a one way cross country rental is expensive.

    On top of what Michael stated, be sure to check through all the rental links you can find on the internet. Use different search terms. I have found that one search does not necessarily bring up all rental companies. Be sure to also go direct to the many company's sites. Not all companies subscribe to the cheap rental search sites.

    And yes, from what I have heard, renting from Newark is much cheaper than NYC.

    Of course, if you are based outside of the US then your best option would be to through one of the consolidators.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I ran it through the search engine, and a one way 20 day rental from Newark to LA is about $4000 if you are 25 or older.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A better way. [possibly]

    As you plan on "Zig Zagging all across the country", I would consider doing a complete loop of the country. In many instances, taking a more northen route one way and a southern route the other and completing a loop, does not add up to a whole lot more miles than going up and down the country to 'catch' your wish list while heading east to west. This will dpened on your exact plans, but before commiting to a one way trip and the expense that goes with it, I would map out each option and check the real cost in mileage against the dreaded one way drop fee.

    As for 'Tourist traps", well the best of American sights such as the National parks can be classed as tourist traps, but they trap tourists for a reason. Getting off Interstate onto some 2 laners through small towns and talking with the Locals is the way to find little known gems, if they are good and shared on the Internet, they most probably are already a 'trap'.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I ran a 20 day rental from Newark returning to Newark, and it's less than $2000.

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