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car rental advice needed

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by kitson, May 11, 2014.

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  1. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    so friends, i need your help.

    i have never rented a car, ever.

    we are taking the opportunity to go visit my son and the family he works for, flying from montana into philly, and being picked up there to go to the bethlehem/allentown area.

    we are flying in on a wednesday, staying in downtown bethlehem for two nights, and then need to rent a car on friday, travelling from bethlehem through the poconos, almost to the ny border to the familys lakehouse. staying that weekend, and then leaving with our son on monday and driving to newport ri. area, seeing another friend and going out on his boat. thursday back to the cabin complex, or bethlehem and then back up for the second weekend. home sunday, get taken to the airport monday morning.

    so, we need the car from friday through the following sunday, 9 days.

    guessing that the total mileage will be be 800 miles or so.

    have been told by my insurance agent that yes, you are covered, but you should still just let yourself be upsold with the insurance, because if there is an incident, the car rental companies charge you the daily charge for the car while it is out of commission, and that is not covered by your regular insurance.

    so, for a first timer...hertz, avis, enterprise, rent a wreck?

    probably want a car similar to a lacrosse, avalon, maxima.

    looking online, have found locations for all of the above in the bethlehem area, should i call the local locations, or use their corporate level websites?

    do have some discounts available through member ships, AAA and industry groups, but not sure if they really are worth much in the long run? does one get the booking going, and then ask what discounts are available? (that seems to be the best way for hotel rooms) because otherwise it seems that some choices are "unavailable".

    so, any hints and suggestions that you can offer will be appreciated.

    thanks!
     
  2. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    I'll give you a place to start

    A website called CarRentals.Com. They have rates for just about all the rental cos. in a given location and they are constantly updating as rates change. I've used them many times ,are they the best or cheapest ,I couldnt say.
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I almost always book through Costco Travel online.
     
  4. zamboni

    zamboni VIP Whale

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    AAA, AARP, Costco, Sams Club all have discounts with Avis. I worked there for almost 10 years. You can present proof at the counter and the RSA will be able to apply your discount. I don't know how old you are, but with Avis, AARP has partial damage waiver, which covers up to the first $3000 in damage, anything over would go on you.
     
  5. mdee

    mdee VIP Whale

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    Go with a known company Hertz, Dollar etc. Check to see if you can earn Air Mile points by booking through your favorite airline.
    Or AAA is good for a slight discount! Be sure to have a Credit Card on hand because they do not care all that much for debit cards.
    Read and understand the contract and your rights before you sign on the dotted line.
     
  6. symbols

    symbols Low-Roller

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    What credit cards in your name (or in the name of the primary renter) do you have?

    First off, you shouldn't (because of deposit price and the fact some companies don't allow it) rent with a debit card.

    That means you'll be renting with a credit card. Most likely you have a credit card in your wallet which provides loss damage insurance up to a certain dollar (often $30-$50k) value when renting when you DECLINE the loss damage waiver.
     
  7. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    Part of picking the company is their policies. Make sure you are dealing with one that allows for out of state travel and unlimited mileage. I have had good experiences with Hertz, Avis, Enterprise and Alamo in various parts of the country. I agree that you should check and see what kind of secondary coverage you have through your credit card. Some brands cover those out of commission fees so you would still only be responsible for your deductible but there are a few that don't so check carefully.

    Another tip: this is a situation where you buy their tank of gas at rental pickup and then return that bad boy as close to E as possible. The price they will charge will be a little less than market price and you know you will use it all.

    Finally: using a discount code from a org. like AAA or AARP or a discounter like Costco usually includes a free secondary driver that may otherwise cost you more. Joining the car companies loyalty program may do the same.
     
  8. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    thanks for all the help and advice. wound up talking to a real person, in bethlehem, and after getting routed to call centers in the phillipines and trying to do things online, probably would have paid anything she asked, just for the helpfulness.

    anyway, hertz, walking distance from our hotel to the hotel satellite where we are picking the car up, and competitive with the price less than i had budgeted during the preliminary searching.
     
  9. DeMoN2318

    DeMoN2318 The DERS

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    hertz always
     
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