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One Way Car Rental

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  • One Way Car Rental

    Although I am a native of California, my good friend is not. So this has led us to going on a trip that entails driving down the coast from SF to SD. I am coming across the problem of being charged a rather high fee for 'one way drop off' for car rentals?

    Does anyone know of any website or car rental company that does not charge excessive fee for one way drop off rentals?

  • #2
    Re: One Way Car Rental

    I am over in San francisco in July and flying back to UK from Denver. Did you have anyfeed back over 'one way rental' I am being quoted $500. One may as well fly - not good for the greenhouse effect.

    Let me know, Thanks

    Philip Anderson


    • #3
      Re: One Way Car Rental

      Hi Phil

      How long are you renting a car for ? As the number of days obviously makes a big difference. Is it for the trip from Denver to SF ? If so a large portion of the cost may be going across states and a one-way drop off fee. Fox Rental Car is usually affordable and try - this is a travel website for discount/best prices.
      - Lauren


      • #4
        Re: One Way Car Rental

        Hi Lauren,
        thanks for all your info. we would be picking up in San Francisco 23/7/08 and dropping off in Denver 9/8/08. auto europe are quoting a hire fee of $520 approx + a 'one way' fee of $500. Cheers Phil


        • #5
          Re: One Way Car Rental

          It seems dreadful that there is a one-way drop off fee in Cali as so many people either do the drive north or south ALL THE TIME!!! I think it sounds like quite a racket from the car companies!! There is no shortage of cars on either end of the driving route and I think it is ghastly to be charging for the drop!!

          Have you checked with Avis yet? I have always rented cars with them and always found them to be better to deal with than most other car companies. I also get a group discount with them, but even without the discount, they just seem to do way better when it comes to price quotes (and upgrades!) and overall better business. Forget Hertz, they are just too expensive. One of the car companies changed names to All Car rental - I can't remember which company changed names - if it was Budget or Dollar rental that changed to All Car. Not all of "All Car" cars are very nice or clean. Just a head's up on that.

          Try Avis and tell them about how many people are driving cars up to SF just as many are driving down to SD!! It's quite a scam I believe and I would ask to speak to a supervisor about it!! It seems rather unfair, especially with that California coastal drive being something EVERY BODY DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          TRY TRY TRY to get over that drop off fee!! Threaten to check with the California Attorney General's Consumer Affairs Division to check on this charge. Seems rather unfair to the customer, it does. Worth mentioning to the company, I believe!!

          Don't give up without a fight and don't pay a dime more than you should!!
          Colleen Costello
          Message Board Moderator

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          • #6
            Re: One Way Car Rental

            I travel to California particularly San Francisco (SFO) fairly frequently from the Midwest Chicago usually once every 2 to 3 months to see my family and friends out there at various locations. Most of my car rentals are 1-way rentals and I have never ever had to pay any special 1-way drop charges that some of you are mentioning. I typically rent from Budget since their rental rates are generally the cheapest but I have rented from National, Hertz and Avis as well and none have ever charged me a penalty for 1-way drop. I usually rent a car from say SFO and drop it off at Oakland (OAK). I have also rented 1-way from Sacramento and drop it off at SFO. I've also rented from OAK and drop it off in San Diego in southern CA (that was a beautiful drive on Hwy 1 along the Pacific coast). Later this month I'm picking up a car in SFO and drive to Yosemite national park for a few days, then head to Carmel then back up to Fremont then departing out of OAK a few days later. I'm renting from Budget and again no 1-way drop off charge. If I recall my rental rate is about $27 per day for a full-size car.

            I should mention some of the smaller rental companies like Dollar, Fox, Thrifty, ..... may charge you a lower rental rate but they tag on a 1-way drop off charge. Suggest you check with Budget first. If you are coming from Europe and if you have say Costco or Sams Club near your city, become a member so you can get special member discounts from car rental companies here which can amount to 25% to 30% or more. Also, 1-way car rental rates are generally slightly cheaper if you pick up the car from a major airport (e.g. SFO) and drop it off at a smaller airport like OAK. My favorite airport is SFO because it is so convenient for the traveler since you can take your luggage cart all the way up into the tram and it literally stops just 25 feet from the car rental center counter. You can wheel your cart right in there and then head to your car in the parking deck without the hassle of emptying your cart before you board a bus or a tram. Hope this info is helpful. Good luck.


            • #7
              Re: One Way Car Rental

              I drove with a rental car from San Francisco to Las Vegas (over San Diego) and I did not have to pay a drop of fee.
              Try Holiday cars or Alamo (they are connected somehow). The car was very clean and brand-new and the rates are good.
              Hope I could help
              Have a nice trip


              • #8
                Re: One Way Car Rental

                My experience is also no "drop charge" between major cities, especially if picking up and dropping off an airport locations for the major rental companies. The non-majors may have drop charges. Both major and non-majors have drop charges for out-of-the-way, small city locations outside of major urban areas.

                Suggestion: do some checking around when you get here.

                As a foreigner, I think you have to make a decision as to whether or not to buy auto insurance. The rental car companies don't call it "insurance" to they can avoid coming under the control and laws covering selling of insurance. USA citizens who have USA auto insurance usually don't need to buy this insurance as their present auto insurance travels with them. So, a word to the wise is contact your auto insurer and ask them if you rent a car, will your present insurance cover you. Very important if you get into an accident, the car is broken into, is stolen, is banged up, and so on. If none of these things happen, you'll have no problem "going naked", i.e., without buying any insurance. It's a risk and insurance exists to cover risks. Sometimes, depending on your credit card company that you used when renting, you may be covered at no additional cost. But,
                make sure the coverage is "primary" and not "secondary". Secondary means you must first get your insurance company to say "no" and then the credit card's "secondary" coverage comes into play. With foreigners,
                I recommend you look into this with great care so you'll know how best to
                accept the risks of driving in the USA with or without insurance.


                • #9
                  Re: One Way Car Rental

                  Booking a this kind of car rental makes sense if you are taking a one-way road trip and have other plans for your return journey or if you want to pick up your rental car at a location near your home and drop it off at the airport while you fly to your destination. You can do the reverse when you fly home.

                  Some rental companies are more flexible with these types of rentals than others! You can check online or with the rental company directly.
                  One-way car rentals are easier to get within some areas, than others. Example: rentals within Florida, New York, New Jersey and California are the most commonly allowed

                  Some one-way rentals may only be available from one airport car rental location to another. When searching for a one-way car rental, do the following:

                  Find out if the car rental company locations along the route you are taking or in the cities you will be visiting. Major car rental companies are more likely to have a larger number of drop off locations around the country.

                  Check into what/if any the drop-off charges will be. A lot of companies dont charge an extra fee; the rate is just higher than it would be if you were returning back to your original pick up location. If you are renting and returning in the same city, but at different locations, there is often no extra fee.

                  Ask about other charges like fees for car rental insurance, airport fees, over mileage fees and taxes. Over mileage fees are those fees that you would incur if the mileage is limited during your rental. (example 100 miles per day free, each additional mile will cost more)

                  Usually, this type of rental will cost you more on a daily basis than a regular car rental. One-way rentals are often more expensive because the rental company has to find a way to get the car back to the original location themselves. Even if you plan on picking it up a week later to drive it back, the company does not want it to sit, unrented, on a car lot. They will try to find a way to have it rented right away to return or send one of their employees back in the vehicle to return it and then fly them back. Thus the extra expense!

                  You will want to look at various factors to determine whether or not the higher price of a one-way rental will save you money in the long run.
                  If you have five people travelling, you will save the costs of 5 airfares, but will have to take into account the cost of the car rental, gasoline, food (if you stop to eat) and any overmileage costs if your one-way car rental is limited to a certain number of miles.

                  You may often be limited on the size and type of vehicle that you can use for this type of rental. You may not be able to get a minivan or suv. Check your options!

                  Because you pay more for a one-way rental on a daily basis, if you can pick up and drop off in one day, you'll only being paying the higher rate for that day. It may be cheaper to pick up a new vehicle for the remainder of your rental because that car would be rented and returned to the same location!

                  The most common exception to higher prices is, in my experience, in Florida. A lot of travellers will fly into one airport and out another. One-way rentals are more often seen in this state and generally there are no one-way fees, depending on the company you rent with.
                  Another exception to the typically high cost of one-way rentals is to take advantage of specials that rental companies offer a couple of times a year.

                  During the fall, most car rental companies transfer a larger proportion of their fleet to the warmer, winter-time travel destinations, such as Florida or busy ski destinations like Colorado, British Columbia and Alberta.

                  If you are flexible with your travel plans, in the spring, car rental companies need to return their fleets north for the summer where they're most needed by travelers preparing for holiday travel and summer vacations.

                  Often people want to get a one-way car rental when they are taking a cruise. You want to fly into a city and pick up a rental car. You then want to drop it off at the pier where you catch your cruise. When you come back, you do the reverse. This saves you the cost of paying for the rental each day plus the cost of parking it for the days when you will be on your cruise.

                  Note: Some rental companies may have a drop off location at the cruiseship terminal or it may be a location close by that will drive you over to the pier. Check with the rental company to see if they are on-site at the terminal.

                  For more tips on car rentals visit


                  • #10
                    Re: One Way Car Rental

                    car car car what you think about car


                    • #11
                      Re: One Way Car Rental

                      hi....picking up and dropping off to an airport locations is the most important service and thus should be provided by all the major rental companies


                      • #12
                        Re: One Way Car Rental

                        Samrawet --

                        You certainly make a good point. Convenience is something to consider in making a decision to rent at an airport location or away from that location.

                        Pasadena Bob


                        • #13
                          You Guys Rule with your great Advice!!


                          I was getting totally bummed about the cost of renting a car 'one way' from Vegas to San Francisco.. and after reading your posts I seriously saved myself about $300 in drop off fees!

                          I ended up doing the Holiday cars which is also through Alamo... thanks Backi1985! ;-)

                          IM from Australia.. If anyone has any questions on where to stay, go, eat, play whatever... IM happy to help



                          • #14
                            Re: One Way Car Rental

                            Hi Suzy!

                            I am wondering if you can tell me about the following places:

                            Byron Bay

                            And if you could recommend any other places around those locations to surf, eat good food, hike, etc.



                            • #15
                              Re: One Way Car Rental

                              I always rent my cars in Autoeurope and its not expensive. Im going to rent a car from SFO to Phoenix and the cost is around 400$ during 15 days...