Renting a car for a road trip in Mexico

Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Renting a car for a road trip in Mexico

Hi Everyone!
I'm looking at doing an 18 day trip this December in Mexico wherein I plan to visit some awesome places in southern Mexico, as well as visit family in Veracruz. My intended plan is to fly into Cancun, rent a car for about 4 days to travel up to Veracruz, and then drop the car off in Boca del Rio, Ver. Is this something that is common and can be done in Mexico? That is, renting a car in one location and dropping it off in another? I've looked into websites like discovercars.com, but they don't seem to have this option for these cities. When I look at sites like national.com, the price seems absolutely insane for a 4 day car rental. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 06:01 PM
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Indeed, one-way rentals can be expensive, as you're discovering. I punched in some dates on National's website and their drop fee is some $660 dlls. It's not a common option for most rentals in Mexico; I think it's probably because the majority of the agencies are independent franchises, not corporate. Easyway in Cancun will do one-ways to different cities in the Yucatan Peninsula. But not to Veracruz. If you can somehow find a franchise in Veracruz that also has an office in Cancun, that'd be the place to start. I'd start by doing a search first in Veracruz as there are fewer agencies there compared to Cancun.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 06:10 PM
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Yes, thanks for the reply! Is it typically the case that the independent franchises are cheaper?
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 07:30 PM
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Most agencies in Mexico are independent franchises. The problem is that the owner of a franchise in one city/airport, rarely is a franchisee in another city/airport. Like in your research, the National franchisee in Cancun, most assuredly isn't the same National franchisee in Veracruz. So a car rented in Cancun is owned by the Cancun franchise, not by the agency in Veracruz, so it must be returned to Cancun. Thus the expensive drop fee. So it's not that franchises are inherently cheaper. Easyway (not associated with any transnational company, afaik) for example has offices in Cancun, Merida, Tulum & PDC. All owned by them. Their drop fees will be much less. Interestingly, Kangaru rental in Veracruz has an office in Juchitan, Oaxaca. Punch in some dates for them and there's no drop fee from Veracruz to Juchitan. Don't know why, maybe because both are port areas that cater to businessmen. Kangaru's website's FAQ's shows they have an office in Chiquilá Q Roo, but it's not listed as a pickup or drop location. If you're interested in doing some sort of a road trip, it might work to rent from Easyway in Cancun, tour the Yucatan, drop off in Merida and fly to Veracruz. I think Volaris has cheap fares.
PS I don't know why agencies such as Hertz, Avis, etc don't have corporate agencies in Mexico. Maybe they're fearful of theft & corruption and don't want to deal with that.
PPS I think your idea of some sort of road trip is an excellent one.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for the help! Yeah, I think after researching this stuff for a while now that the cheapest option is to simply rent the car for the entirety of the trip, and just drop it back off in Cancun. It's funny that seems so straightforward in the US can be done fairly differently in Mexico. I'm sincerely looking forward to the trip, so I really appreciate your help!
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 11:29 AM
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Be sure to get adequate liability insurance (daños a terceros). You probably knew that already. Each state can set its own minimums that may be different than the federal minimum. And hopefully you can do a trip report. I don't believe I've ever seen one for your itinerary. Daniel Williams did a nice one a few years back along the Veracruz coast down to Tuxtla by bus. On my bucket list is a road trip from Veracruz, along the gulf coast, and on to Merida. But that's a long drive from Guanajuato, so I don't know if that will ever happen. 😕
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 05:56 AM
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A trip report sounds like a good idea. Yeah I've heard really good things about southern Mexico, so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks again for the help!
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 06:45 PM
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Over the years I've traveled considerably in Mexico, sending about 14 months there altogether. Some trips have been made by car, for example driving with friends from Texas to Cancun and back while other trips have been done using Mexico's excellent public transportation system which includes discount airlines,luxury buses between major cities, local buses, and local taxi's that can take you inexpensively almost anywhere. Cancun is distant from Veracruz, driving in Mexico is (at least for the unaccustomed) more stressful than it is here in Gringolandia, and having a car does not necessarily give a visitor more opportunities to reach "awesome places".

So, you may want to reconsider the wisdom of renting a car principally for the purpose of driving back and forth between Cancun and Veracruz. That's two very full days of driving, each way, no counting any stops to explore places of interest. Google's flight search engine lists round trip air fares between Cancun and Veracruz starting at US $120, which is presumably considerably less than 18 days use of a rental car would cost (Avoid renting from outfits with 'low ball" rental rates that deceptively do not include necessary insurance. Also, if driving budget generously for the cost of gas, highway tolls, and (potentially) bribes paid to corrupt traffic cops.)

Consider possibly flying between Cancun and Veracruz, while separately using buses to make shorter jaunts to "awesome places" on the Yucatan Peninsula (away from Cancun) and also within the State of Veracruz. There is plenty that can be experienced within those regions without using a car, more than you will have time to explore with just 18 days. Instead of doing a drive-athon, why not spend as much of your limited time as possible actually at special places, including visiting your relatives?
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 07:51 PM
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Well, I must disagree somewhat with Chris. While it is true that to just get from point A to point B, public transportation is quite cheap and convenient. Likewise to see the more popular sites; ruins, etc. And probably the best way to go for most. But so many of our more enjoyable experiences were places that, while public transportation was available, using it would have proved quite cumbersome, time consuming, and required a knowledge of local routes that I wouldn't have been familiar with. But with my personal vehicle & Guía Roji (back in the day) Google & GPS, I've been able see places, do things, eat stuff and meet people that I never would have been able to see/know if I'd stayed on a bus. Plus my wife and I prefer to set our own schedules, and be able to stop where & whenever the need arises or the mood strikes us. Can't always do that on a bus. But to each their own.
That said, if I'm not mistaken, Chris was a long time contributor to Lonely Planet's Mexico forum (as was I as El Pelon). Before its untimely demise. I recognize his screen name (I think) and prose. He has a wealth of experience with Mexico travel. If that's you Chris, welcome to Fodor's. Not as active as LP was back in the day, but your presence will add to the content here.
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by baldone View Post
Well, I must disagree somewhat with Chris. While it is true that to just get from point A to point B, public transportation is quite cheap and convenient. Likewise to see the more popular sites; ruins, etc. And probably the best way to go for most. But so many of our more enjoyable experiences were places that, while public transportation was available, using it would have proved quite cumbersome, time consuming, and required a knowledge of local routes that I wouldn't have been familiar with. But with my personal vehicle & Guía Roji (back in the day) Google & GPS, I've been able see places, do things, eat stuff and meet people that I never would have been able to see/know if I'd stayed on a bus. Plus my wife and I prefer to set our own schedules, and be able to stop where & whenever the need arises or the mood strikes us. Can't always do that on a bus. But to each their own.
That said, if I'm not mistaken, Chris was a long time contributor to Lonely Planet's Mexico forum (as was I as El Pelon). Before its untimely demise. I recognize his screen name (I think) and prose. He has a wealth of experience with Mexico travel. If that's you Chris, welcome to Fodor's. Not as active as LP was back in the day, but your presence will add to the content here.
Yes, Baldone, I previously posted to Thorn Tree's Mexico branch forum as Chris0Daniel. I too regret its passing. And, obviously, there are a variety of ways in which a person can travel around Mexico enjoyably.
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