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Should You Rent a Car for Vacation?
You probably often rent a car when you fly to a vacation destination. But what if you are taking a driving vacation? It is possible that renting a car and leaving yours in the garage might still make sense. There are several things to consider:
What kind of car do you have? If your car is older and you are concerned about its road-worthiness, renting might provide added safety and peace of mind. It also can help you save wear and tear on your personal car. For example, if you are usually a low-mileage driver, you might want to avoid putting on a lot of vacation miles so that you can prolong the life of your car in its normal use.
You also might consider renting if you need more room than you have in your current car. Perhaps you are traveling with extra people or carrying a large amount of luggage. Or perhaps you just want everyone to have a little more space. A car can feel much more cramped when you are spending hours in it than it seems when you are tooling to the grocery store.
Where are you going? If you are going somewhere where the terrain or weather is significantly different than it is where you live, it is possible that your personal car is not really designed for your vacation destination. For example, if you are headed to the mountains from the plains, your car might not have the necessary power to make the climb. Or if your car’s air conditioning is not always reliable, you probably don’t want to drive it to the desert.
Are you considering buying a new car? Some people use a road trip to test out a vehicle they are considering buying, kind of like an extended test drive. And some people just like driving cars they don’t usually drive.
How far are you going? If you are driving a lot of miles in a relatively short time, you probably will pay considerably less for your rental – assuming you get unlimited miles – than you will if you are driving fewer miles but will be gone for longer. While deals are often available on short-term rentals, long-term rentals can be pricey.
Who will be driving? Most companies require drivers to be at least 25 before they can drive a rental car without paying a surcharge. So if you are expecting to split the driving with younger drivers, renting might not be a good idea.
Finally, if you decide to rent a car for vacation, call your insurance agent to ask about what coverages you have that apply to the rental, and what additional coverages, if any, you might need to get.