Car Hire in the US

Discussion in 'Travel' started by spoiltb, Jul 22, 2009.

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  1. Next week I am flying to Vancouver , I will be there for a few days and then taking the boat to Seattle. I will need to hire a car in Seattle for about 3 weeks and will be driving down to California and back.

    What is the best way to hire cars in the US these days, book on the internet in advance or just show up (as we used to)?

    The all inclusive packages you can buy here are a lot cheaper than the US sites and definitely cheaper than trying to do it on the day at the airport.

    If you have certain AMEX cards you can get around the insurance side of things too.
  3. Booking from UK is probably the best way. However, it also pays to ask the check-out guys if they have any special offers. They sometimes get cars returned that will be difficult to get re-hired at an airport (business men in convertibles eg) Also, it can be cheaper to deal with an off airport office than one that has to pay the high rental to be alongside the arrival gates. These off airport ones have phones and they come to you so it is no problem using them. At the end of the hire you go to their office and they will generally take you to the departures or there is a free bus shuttle.
  4. I lived around Seattle area for quite a few years and still fly over to visit regularly...

    Always found it best to book on the web first.. dollar, or Enterprise were usually the best.

    Bear in mind that they will try and tack on various extra insurance cover, a daily this rate and an extra that rate when you are at the desk doing the paperwork.. over and above what you were quoted.
    Be quite firm that you only want the State minimum coverage - that which you are legally obliged to take - and get them to remove all the other charges. (They can easily add up to virtually double what you were quoted).
  5. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    I thought Vancouver was in the French bit of the USA?

    Dollar is good. I use Alamo. They cost about the same but I love the fact that every time you go to the desk, you are greeted by a Mexican girl saying "Hi. Alamo Car rental. How may we help?"

    You can book from the UK but I've come unstuck like that in the past. The US dont take Solo / Maestro debit cards. And details can get lost in transit.
  6. Take your MOD90, or proof that you have served.
  7. Carhire 3000..

    But you need to make sure that you can use the vehicle in another state.
    Ins is also Different in Cali. make sure you take out the correct policy's.
  8. I agree with others--reserve on line first. Also double check as to what documents you need to pick it up. A lot of clerks at these places get it wrong. Also don't forget to get in the left front door. :D
  9. If for no other reason than not getting stuck with the mini-van...good for transport but not exactly the vehicle in which you see yourself flying down the 101. :D
  10. Our "French bit" is in Loosiana near Nalleans. Vancouver is a city in British Columbia. :wink:


    Booking on line to rent (hire) a car in Seattle is the best way to go. Alamo and Enterprise have good deals and if you have a certain type of AMEX card you get a break on the insurance.
  11. This was good advice, I booked with to pay with my Euro credit card and got a Ford Focus for 480 Euro for 20 days with full insurance. I picked it up at the Avis office at 5th Ave in downtown Seattle which is about a 10 minute walk from the Victoria Clipper terminal as I came in from Vancouver Island. Avis offer a shuttle service between the ferry stations and the pickup/drop off place.

    These days rental cars can be taken out of state and also into Canada without seeking permission or paying extra insurance.
    A GPS was offered at 13 USD/day so I bought some maps instead.

    If arriving in the US by ferry there is no need to fill in the online Visa Waiver form, you just fill in the green I-95? which you will get on the Canadian side as the US Immigration is done there.
  12. in a note from a septic:

    Also watch out for the gas (petrol) refill thing and check amounts carefully. You can pay more at rental and bring the car back empty with no extra charge that way. If you don't and bring the car back needing fuel the rental people will charge you about twice what you would pay at the pump.

    I used to rent in Florida a lot but now keep a car at my place there. When I did I found it cheaper to not pay for fuel in advance and fill it at a cheap station on the way to the airport. The risk is that if you are running late and don't know the area you might end up bringing it back low on fuel and pay a lot.

    Also, be prepared for the fact that some cities and airport authorities are greedy bar stewards and add extra taxes/charges. I live near Boston so never rent there but a recent article said Boston is one of the worst for extra charges and taxes (Thank you Mayor Menino, Thank you Governor Patrick)

    Good luck and enjoy your visit. Seattle has a climate a bit like Ireland but wetter.