Renting a car for the first time

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JoelH, Dec 11, 2001.

  1. JoelH

    JoelH Stunt Coordinator

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    My wife, some friends and I will be in Orlando for the first time between Dec. 28 and Jan 4. For this trip, I am planning on renting a car and it will be the first time I have done so. Somehow, every business trip or vacation that I have been on, I have been able to avoid this expense.

    Now that I am going to do this, I am beginning to wonder the best tactic. I have read some review sites that say it is better to get to the destination and bargain with the rental agency. Other people have suggested that since Orlando is a popular tourist spot, I should book in advance. I do have some time to spend once I am at the airport, so I can look around if necessary.

    Any suggestions? Experiences?

    Thanks,

    Joel
     
  2. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  3. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    Next week I will be renting my third car in 6 weeks . I use exepdia.com to find the cheapest rate. Internet prices are almost always cheaper than the price they will quote you at the desk. Just for the record, Dollar Car Rental has always come back with the lowest price for me. Once I'm at the pick up spot, I ask for an upgrade at no extra some. Sometimes you get em, sometime you don't.

    Since your going during a peak period, I would definatly have something reserved in advance. Even though you'll have some extra time at the airport, I bet the last thing you'll wanna being doing is haggling over a car rental.

    Here's one other expense car renters often overlook till the moment of truth. Sounds like your flying in and out so it's not much of an issue but if you drive in and out you will have to pay to park your own car somewhere near the premise. This can run from $6 a day to $30 a day. Just something to consider.
     
  4. AdrianJ

    AdrianJ Supporting Actor

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    Joel,

    You definitely want to book in advance for a car rental in Orlando. I've come back home (I live east of Orlando) several times and seen people turned away because all the rentals were booked.

    I assume you are flying in, so I would stick with Dollar, Budget, or National. They are all located on site at the Orlando Airport. Hertz is offsite, but has a shuttle bus. I'd skip Hertz unless you get a good deal because it adds an additional hassle when you are ready to fly back out.
     
  5. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    First thing, don't let them rush you. Read the contract and ask questions. If you have a car of your own, check with your insurance agent and see if you're cover for rental cars. If you are then decline all the extra insurance they try and sell you, which adds $9-$15 dollars a day to your bill. Also, when you return it make sure you fill it up with gas at a service station. If you have them fill it up they will charge you as much as $4 a gallon.
     
  6. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    www.hotwire.com
    call your personal home insurance agent and ask if your auto policy covers you for rental cars ... they usually do. You make the decision to accept or decline rental coverage when you pick up the car (Orlando). Rental insurance usually adds about $12 per day to the charges.
    I just got back from Orlando and the tourist traffic is so light, everyone is begging for customers and offering great deals.
    Scott
     
  7. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    A few other tips that I have found, always try and rent from the middle of the range, so if the company has;

    super compact

    compact

    midsize

    full-size

    Luxury

    specialty (conv, SUV's, minivans, etc)

    Reserve a compact or midsize. Why? Well, you run the best chance of those being taken, which will get you a free upgrade to the next available size up. Now going into Orlando, this may not work (the rental car companies have lots of cars), but it's always worth a shot. I flew into Newark for Thanksgiving a couple years ago, had a reservation for a midsize (Taurus like car), and I got bumped to a Luxury because they didn't have anything else in midsize or fullsize (they had lots of compacts/sub-compacts). So it's worth a shot.

    Andrew
     
  8. Bill Buklis

    Bill Buklis Supporting Actor

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    Also decline the option of purchasing the gas up front. They offer this to use at a price per gallon cheaper than what you can at the pump. It sounds like a good deal on the surface, right? Don't bother to fill up before you bring it in and you pay less, right?

    Wrong. They charge up front for every possible drop of gas that can be squeezed into the gas tank if the entire car were bone dry. When you fill up yourself you're not likely to need more than 3/4 of actual full maximum capacity (probably about 7/8 on the fuel gauge). I've seen the upfront price turn out to be several dollars higher than the pump price.

    Now, of course, if you do turn down this option, make sure you fill up before returning. If you don't the price they charge is exhorbitant.

    Check the websites for the rental agencies as well. Often you can find special internet deals on their site.
     
  9. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    I work for Dollar Rent A Car in the Reservations IT department, meaning I make sure the Res system is up and running along with the phone system.

    From my experience I will say this, be prepared to be shocked by the cost you will be seeing as you Car Rental companies are into holiday rates, I just saw a woman book a SUV for $1,098 for a week! If she would have pre-booked that car just a few months ago for the Xmas holiday it would have only been about $400!!! Also you are going to Orlando, which is our largest location.

    Try booking over the internet, as that is our lowest rate.
     
  10. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    I rented a car for the first time this year. I had one reserved at one of the major chains. When I got there, I went through the checkout procedure of the vehicle. In doing so I discovered that the passenger seatbelt had been cut. I pointed it out to the rental car employee and he immediately told me that I couldn't rent the car, that it would be a violation of their policies. No problem right? Wrong. It turned out to be the last car they had available. They couldn't provide me with a vehicle until late in the day. Needless to say I had to go to a different rental car company(National). From there it was all smooth sailing.

    Jon
     
  11. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    First of all, are you going to Disney/MGM while you are there? When I was there at that time back in 1994 it was sooooooo frickin' busy! Just a warning if you are.

    I recently went to Atlanta in a rented car, we just paid like $180 dollars for 4 days. However, it was a non-smoking car and my wife and I chain smoked the entire time we were in it.

    Anyway, pay a certain amount for a certain number of days. That's the best way to go in my lil opinion.
     
  12. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    Brad, so they charged you extra for smoking in it?
     
  13. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    yep
     
  14. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    some rental agencies do charge you. Others have a policy that won't let you smoke in the car. Again be prepared to be shocked by the sticker price on cars, today I saw someone pull a rate for a Van in Dallas, TX for Jan 4, 2002 - Jan 20, 2002......the rate was only $10,847 plus taxes and other fees, and you have to have a that plus 15% on your credit card just to hold the vehicle.
     
  15. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Reiterating, I highly recommend using Internet reservations to get the cheapest price. I've overheard people arriving at the desk and can't recall anyone leaving either without a car or paying more than I did (a last minute car requirement for me was going to be $99.

    Also, as a sub-25 business traveler, I had to choose my rental agencies carefully. Some don't care, and some have strict policies.

    And finally, always choose to return it full. The savings per gallon they offer is offset by your usage. You'll find that you feel obligated to use the entire tank, and more often than not you will either have to refill it anyway or you'll be paying for gas you won't use.

    Finally, I see you're going for 8 days. Don't forget that the extra non-weekly rate day will be more expensive than the weekly rate would be per-day.
     
  16. JoelH

    JoelH Stunt Coordinator

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    Everyone:

    Thanks for the help so far.

    Brad:

    Yes, we are planning on going to Disney/MGM Studios. I think we all expect crowds wherever we go, so I will, hopefully, not be too surprised. I think we have the parks narrowed down to: MGM, Epcot, Islands of Adventure and (not a park, I know) the Kennedy Space Center. I am also calling today to enquire about Pleasure Island admittance for New Year's.

    Alex:

    The dates are 8 days, but I am considering renting after 12:00pm on Dec. 28 and returning before 12:00pm on Jan. 4. I believe that is 7 days. The only problem is that we will be sitting at the airport both times for quite a while (7:30am arrival on the 28th, 6:00pm departure on the 4th). If necessary, I will pay an extra day, but I am trying to avoid it.

    I think I will go with online reservations. I looked at Hotwire and it doesn't seem to be too bad for the type of car I am looking at (needs to carry 4 adults). Expedia also had some good prices. I am a little nervous about Hotwire because it doesn't show the rental agency until after you pay. Has anyone had a bad experience with this?

    Thanks again,

    Joel
     
  17. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Joel:

    I can't get your e-mail thru the HTF, but if youre going to disney and would like some VIP Seating passes to Illuminations (EPCOT Fireworks), I have a set of 4 that I did not use on my Disney trip last month. They expire 12/31 and can only be used Sun., Wed & Fri ... but e-mail me if you want me to put them in the mail.

    You shouldn't worry too much about Hotwire ... they are very reliable and pricing won't be beat. True, you don't see the company until after you pay, but they only partner with the national chains. From the looks of their cars, I'd say it looks like the Hertz or Budget line.

    The only way you can lose is if you have to cancel for some reason after booking. You've already paid and there are no refunds.

    About a month ago I used Hotwire for a Hotel in Anaheim and for $83.00 per night wound up with a suite at the newly rennovated Hyatt Regency ... how can you beat that!

    Scott
     
  18. Mike Huay

    Mike Huay Stunt Coordinator

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    GET THEIR INSURANCE!!

    That's my advice. I had never wrecked a car in

    15+ years of driving and last year I rented a

    car for a short jaunt, and got into a wreck

    that caused 7 grand of damage on a new piece of

    junk Mirage.

    Of course, my insurance covered it, and my credit card

    paid the deductable, but my insurance went up

    by $250 a year.

    If I had spent the $10 bucks a day, I would have

    saved a lot!'

    I have heard statistically rental cars get wrecked

    more often, and I believe it!!!
     
  19. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I always vascillate on the insurance. In some cases, I think it's a good idea, but in others it just seems like a steep cost. For example, I'm renting a car for my Christmas vacation which is just exactly 14 days. Can I justify the $140 to do this? I'm leaning towards not.
     
  20. John Besse

    John Besse Supporting Actor

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    We'll you've picked a good time to trave to Orlando. With the Sept 11th gimmicks... There hasn't been as many people vacationing there. It's picked up a lot. But, still not nearly as many before the attacks. Nonetheless, I would rent the car in advance.
    If you're staying on Disney property or at any of the major hotels out there. You can avoid renting a car altogher. Most hotels provide a method of transportation to all the theme parks and major tourist destination. You can always get a lift from the Mouse [​IMG]
    But, if you're planing on doing a lot of stuff outside the major destination... Well! You'll want the car.
     

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