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One-way car rental from San Diego to Seattle in ~July?

dogstar1 187 February 9, 2013 at 12:31 PM in Travel (2)
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Does anyone have any tips for getting a decently priced one-way car rental from SoCal to Seattle? Ideally we'll take a week or more to drive back and hit some sights, camping along the way (maybe Yosemite, Crater Lake?).

It seems like a potentially great adventure, but with drop charges added into daily rates it's not really penciling in. So I'm hoping for some wisdom from the SD community.

Last year we did a one way SFO to Seattle (Hertz rental booked through Costco) trip. Yes, the daily charge was high due to the way they tie the drop rate into the daily rental rate (making for a combined super high daily rate of ~$250, IIRC), but it worked out to be much cheaper than the last-minute airline rates for 4 of us because we did it in one long day and only had to pay the drop rate once.

For this trip, however, that high combo daily rate (each day's rental has drop rate built in) X 7 days + gas pretty much kills it as an option. Unless...

What I'd like to find is an agency that charges "normal" daily/weekly rates PLUS a single drop rate for the act of picking up a car in Cali then returning to Washington instead of that killer combined daily and drop for each day's rental.

Anyone have any know of such option? other ideas?

Thanks!

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#2
I'm not sure if policies have changed, but the last time I did something like this was in 2006. I was under 25 at the time, so I had to pay the underage driver surcharge, but I rented a car in NYC and returned it in Pittsburgh, PA three days later and I don't recall Hertz charging me any additional fees for returning the car to another location.

I did a bit of searching and it looks like Hertz still has no drop fee. They have weekly rentals in July picking up at John Wayne Airport (for example) and dropping off at SeaTac airport for as low as $444 in an economy car, $464 in an intermediate, or $487 in a full-size. With all taxes and fees (airport concession fee, CA tourism fee, and tax) factored in, this comes to $547-$599 for this same range of vehicles. Not the best deal I've seen, but $78-85 per day still seems quite a bit cheaper than ~$250 per day. Too bad you're not going in June, as they have a $40 off weekly special for pickups before 6/30:

http://www.hertz.com/rentacar/spe...oneway.jsp


Also, I've not used them before and customer reviews are 50/50 so I can't give a recommendation, but a quick search on Travelocity shows that Fox Rent-a-Car has weekly rates as low as $170 in July for compact, $179 for intermediate, and $201 for full-size. Their drop fee for each vehicle type is different, but the drop fee for the mid-size car is only $72, which makes it the most cost-effective option. A 7-day rental including all taxes and fees and the drop charge comes out to only $309 ($44/day). For a full-size car, the drop fee is $130, but your total is still only going to come out to $407 for the week ($58/day).

Other potential options are Budget and Avis, whose total rates look like they fall somewhere in between the two for most vehicle classes. I'm not going to do any more calculations for you, but those are a couple of other agencies to look into. It looks like all of the other agencies have significantly higher weekly rates or charge outrageous drop fees though (Thrifty charges a $511 drop fee, for example!!!)

If you're willing to take a chance on the Fox, that looks like the most affordable option.
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Quote from monkeytrash32 View Post :
I'm not sure if policies have changed, but the last time I did something like this was in 2006. I was under 25 at the time, so I had to pay the underage driver surcharge, but I rented a car in NYC and returned it in Pittsburgh, PA three days later and I don't recall Hertz charging me any additional fees for returning the car to another location.

I did a bit of searching and it looks like Hertz still has no drop fee. They have weekly rentals in July picking up at John Wayne Airport (for example) and dropping off at SeaTac airport for as low as $444 in an economy car, $464 in an intermediate, or $487 in a full-size. With all taxes and fees (airport concession fee, CA tourism fee, and tax) factored in, this comes to $547-$599 for this same range of vehicles. Not the best deal I've seen, but $78-85 per day still seems quite a bit cheaper than ~$250 per day. Too bad you're not going in June, as they have a $40 off weekly special for pickups before 6/30:

http://www.hertz.com/rentacar/spe...oneway.jsp


Also, I've not used them before and customer reviews are 50/50 so I can't give a recommendation, but a quick search on Travelocity shows that Fox Rent-a-Car has weekly rates as low as $170 in July for compact, $179 for intermediate, and $201 for full-size. Their drop fee for each vehicle type is different, but the drop fee for the mid-size car is only $72, which makes it the most cost-effective option. A 7-day rental including all taxes and fees and the drop charge comes out to only $309 ($44/day). For a full-size car, the drop fee is $130, but your total is still only going to come out to $407 for the week ($58/day).

Other potential options are Budget and Avis, whose total rates look like they fall somewhere in between the two for most vehicle classes. I'm not going to do any more calculations for you, but those are a couple of other agencies to look into. It looks like all of the other agencies have significantly higher weekly rates or charge outrageous drop fees though (Thrifty charges a $511 drop fee, for example!!!)

If you're willing to take a chance on the Fox, that looks like the most affordable option.
Thanks MonkeyTrash, this is awesome news. I actually tried Hertz when we did the trip last summer and it was really expensive. Maybe it was the location/time/availability combo. At any rate, I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't check again. Thanks (and Reps!) for your help!

I'll dig in some more and post up what I end up doing -- maybe it will help someone else along the way!

Edit: Was really tempted by the low prices of Fox, but their mixed reviews (many reports of stinky cars, bad tires, poor maintenance, and little in the way of breakdown assistance) kind of put me off for an extended trip. I'll still try them for a one or two day trip, but I think I'll stick with the big boys for an extended, long-distance rental.

Edit Edit: Wow, just found a 7-day rental with unlimited mileage (generally included, but not always), full-size Impala, w/no outrageous drop fee from Avis for $307 via Costco Travel. I could go down a couple car sizes and save $30-50 plus probably another what, $50 in gas, but since we'll have four people living out of the car for a week, I think I'll err on the size of the bigger car. I'll still keep checking and making more reservations as needed, but I can't really see it getting much better than this.
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