So coming from the UK to the US for a road trip of around 80 days, going from San Francisco to Orlando.
The burning question is on car rental, only Alamo seem to allow a one way rental across state. The problem is that Alamo in the UK and the US quote different information relating to how long we can rent and the associated terms.
Alamo US state that they allow for a maximum of 56 day hire, then you need to return the vehicle to an authorised depot before collecting another one, or you need to have a service every 30 days at a designated depot if you are keeping the same vehicle.
Alamo UK tell us that you can hire for more than 56 days and its just another voucher that is required, but you must then contact the pickup and dropoff stations to arrange it yourself, or that it will be at the discretion of the pickup station if you can take it out of state. This all depends who you speak to and which way the wind is blowing.
Does anyone know for definite what the policy is on one way vehicle hire and where the best company is, or whether there is an alternative to hiring from the large companies.
We have considered buying a second hand vehicle, but would need something reliable and since it is only for a short period, would be difficult to sell on before leaving the country.
Thoughts or assistance would be gratefully received.
Not much help
You'll find policies will not only vary by company, but by time of year and where they have an overabundance of vehicles at any one time. I'd start with the national customer service/reservation telephone number, then call the local office manager if you don't get what you are looking for from the national folks. (It doesn't hurt to try).
I would be surprised if Alamo is the only company that offers one-way rental. I have found that MOST of the majors do, although the terms and prices will vary greatly. You will find that Alamo is quite often one of the least expensive of the major companies, but check out the others as well. Last year, Advantage had a pretty good deal going on one-way rentals -- a flat rate on two or three different vehicles with no "drop" charges. So shop around a bit more.
I would lend more credibility to the USA offices when it comes to stating policies accurately -- just my opinion. Also, consider that the UK agency and the USA agency may NOT be telling you anything different -- perhaps the extra voucher they mention is simply a mechanism to provide for the maintenance service the USA agency told you about?
I cannot recommend second-tier car rental agencies. I've been ripped off too many times, mostly by hidden charges you don't find out about until you return the vehicle, other times by out and out fraud. Often, this makes them much more expensive than you'd have paid by going with one of the majors. If you do use one, make sure you use a credit card that has a liberal charge dispute policy. Diners Club, for example, covers you at no charge for damages to the rental vehicle -- so it's never necessary to buy the additional "waivers" (LDW, CDW, etc) the agencies always try to sell you. And, if there is any problem, they can intercede on your behalf with the agency and if your complaint has merit, you won't have to pay the disputed charges.
At the same time, you need to watch the majors also -- they all have little gimmicks to increase their profit margin at your expense. But you typically WON'T find abusive business practices with them, the gimmicks are usually some voluntary "option" they try to sell you -- like charging you in advance for the tank of fuel (not a good deal, no matter how they "spin" it).
One thing to remember is that even with the bigger companies, the local offices are often locally-owned as well (franchises), so this can create some differences and perhaps some problems. Try to deal with COMPANY-owned outlets if you have a choice as their practices will be more consistent with what you have been told. Sorry my answer can't be more definitive. Bob
I have used various car rentals but not lately. I just wanted to tell you to make sure your rates are written on the contract. It must be in writing. I have found alot of discrepancies in what I "assumed" & what is. My brother in law many years ago had an agreement for unlimited mileage when we drove from NJ to AZ & back. When we got home they maxed out his credit card by charging the daily mileage rate. When I looked at his contract, the unlimited mileage was not mentioned.
Also terms of returning car with gas tank full or what level. I was told return it the way I got it. I got it the gas was on fumes so I returned it that way then they wanted to charge me extremely high rate to fill the tank. But then the ashtray or car had never been cleaned so I think the car was returned & sent with me right away so they didn't know the gas was low. I told them to take that charge off or I would tell credit card company not to pay the bill. I would contest it. They did immediately remove that charge.
So just keep your eyes open. Not saying they are dishonest. Just that mistakes happen.
That is outrageous
In the example of the "unlimited mileage" rate, did your brother file an action against the rental company? If so, what happened?
He did not file an action. He did go in & talk to them & they removed a portion of the bill. He still had to pay alot.
A good resource
One of the road tripping pros, we stay in touch with is an ombudsman in the travel business, and so if you ever hear of a similar spate of nonsense, I would have <a href = "http://www.tripso.com/">Christopher Elliott<a/> give it a shot.
Think We got is Sorted
Thanks to those that replied.
We have made a booking with National who seem to allow one way drops, with no limits on mileage or time (other than 180 days as the maximum).
The price seems reasonable, but hopefully this will all go to plan.
Hopefully no-one has had a bad experience with National?
National is OK
I've rented from National on a few occasions with no problems! Bob
I am also looking at one way rentals, however how did you get no extra charge through National. I have just tried their website and seem to be picking up the extra cost.
Any info / links will be much appreciated
It won't hurt to call a couple of their local offices and see if you can get a special deal from them. Other than that, keep in mind that the market changes frequently, therefore the deals you can get also change.
It is possible the agency where the other guy got no drop charges added was a place where they were glutted with extra vehicles and needed to move a few to other locations. For one reason or another, what they offer today may not be available tomorrow. Be sure to call around and see if others are offering a rate that wasn't available last week! Good luck.