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Car Rental So Expensive in California for Summer

Car Rental So Expensive in California for Summer

Old Feb 25th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Car Rental So Expensive in California for Summer

I am just shocked at how much California Car rentals are for our Summer vacation

I am looking 7/6-7/26 and was hoping for a SFO - SAN (flying open jaw) rental but that might not make sense. $1000 if I do lock low and go with Dollar or a mid-size but $1900 +++ if I do a minivan which I really need. $1000 for a too small car seems crazy - although I have . But $1900 is crazy. I have good luck with Dollar getting upgraded.

Even just into SFO and out of SFO - it is about $300 less but then it would cost $350 to fly south.

I can save a couple hundred by going into Sacramento or Oakland - but it isn't that cut and dry with higher flight costs and bad timing.

I was thinking priceline - as I've heard good luck for car rates but they don't do one way rentals.

I hate to waste a day of vacation driving back up north.

Please ideas on car rental for vacation.

Should I wait it out a bit?
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Tell us about it.

Airport charges are sometimes avoided by picking up a car downtown even if you later return it to an airport.

HTTY
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Just keep checking the rental rates and if one looks good make the reservation. Then keep checking the rates and if a better one shows up, cancel the first one and make a new one.

I am on my third reservation for a compact from SFO. The first was about four hundred, the second just over three hundred, and a couple of weeks ago I found one for $219.00. This is for 4/27 through 5/7.

The same happened last September at ABQ. I kept checking and I finaly found a good rate. You have to remember to cancel the one you eliminated though.
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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Last fall, I needed a rental at SFO. Checked Hotwire, Breeznet, and individual sites. All high-priced. I ended up getting the best rate (by 20% or so,) by reserving (with Hertz) through my local (PA) AAA office. Also ended up with a car-class upgrade via a coupon. Even the rental agent at the airport was impressed with the rate...
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 04:33 PM
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Have you checked Hotwire? They keep sending me an ad for cheap car rentals. What is your drop off fee for these cars?
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 04:43 PM
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One way drop off varies between $200-$300 depending on airpot combinations.

I will look at hotwire for one way options
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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I've run into the same problem recently with CA car rentals. However, I found a much lower rate by going through the concierge at a major CA hotel. Apparently the concierge people sometimes have special sweetheart deals with the local car rental agencies (off-airport). Also, if you join AAA, you can get good discounts.
You have a long time until your trip so keep looking for special deals.
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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No, you shouldn't wait.

The car rental companies have been raising rates for a year. That's a function of them cutting back their fleet size so they are running higher utilization rates.

They have also discovered that they are rarely the reason why someone doesn't make a trip.
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Old Feb 25th, 2010, 06:50 PM
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Just booked a lock low and go rate at Dollar - paying the crazy one way fee. But it was less $$ than renting a car in SFO and returning, then flying down, then renting another car. The rate is $1050 for 19 days and still could be a crammed car. Youza it is a lot. But I figured it would be better than having to repack for the airplane, loading on the airplane and flying down and renting car again. The only other idea would be if Priceline means much cheaper - and flying down south. Still time to ponder.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Go to the Hertz site and pick South San Francisco HLE as pickup (on S Airport Blvd so close to SFO) and rent for a month vs three weeks. (month is actually cheaper than 3 weeks) I got 830 month total thru taxes drop off at SAN (there are no separate one way fees with Hertz, just a higher rate) for a mid-size, 1300 for a minivan. If you had AAA it would be 15% off so $1100 minivan, 750 midsize. They also have $50 off a month specials, but only for the next couple months at a time, so book this now, then try again in May and look for the specials good for July pickup.

You could also experiment with some other locations around SFO and you might even find one cheaper or see if the monthly lease rate code comes out lower than just regular rate for a month.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:13 AM
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Any penalties if you drop early? Sounds like good idea I will investigate!
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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I would also be worried about early returns.

It is worth checking out your membership discounts, eg Costco, Autoclub, work, even the airlines you are flying.

Also, consider that you may not need a car for a few days when in San Francisco, then perhaps it makes sense to pick up at another location than SFO, and avoid the airport extra charges.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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What a Gold Mine - this South San Francisco Location is - rates cheaper and monthly rates better. Thank you so much Weimarer - I am into SF for vacation every year and this will be a boon.

1) How do you transfer from airport to this location? Taxi?

Now I am trying to decide if I save money like I wanted to and go for smaller car - or just get the minivan and be more comfortable - we are 2 grown ups and five kids so the sedan is a squeeze.

This might also make it worth it to join AAA which I haven't.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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They do make clear on the Hertz website that they WILL NOT refund for early returns but searching so far they don't make any note of penalties for early returns.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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>>

How would you get 7 people in a regular car each with their own seatbelt?
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:40 AM
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Taxi definitely easiest, it will cost you $13 plus whatever tip.

I don't think Hertz LE will pickup from the airport, without charging airport rental rates.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 08:41 AM
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As to early returns, don't rely on the website, do call them. They should have a toll free number.
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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sorry I meant 5 people - 2 adults and 3 kids
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 10:14 AM
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Big difference!!!
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Old Feb 26th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Wind out of sails -

Hertz agent spoke with lack of clarity about prepayment penalties if a monthly rental. If you google - prepayment penalties and Hertz you come up with some pretty outraged people getting charged extra for returning 90 minutes early. I don't want to stress about a fight so am skeptical I'll be able to make it work. The South San francisco site might still be a better deal though.
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