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  1. #1
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    Default Rent a car for a long roadtrip?

    About two years ago we went on a long roadtrip and had all kinds of issues with one of our cars on the way back. It was a nightmare. We ended up having to rent a car to get home, then had to rent another car to go back and get it about a week later.

    We're looking to go on another long roadtrip this fall. We have a newer car now that we can use but I'm thinking about just renting one instead. I can get one for about a week and a half through Enterprise for under $500.

    Am I being too paranoid or do others rent a car when they go on long roadtrips?


  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by GophersInIowa View Post
    About two years ago we went on a long roadtrip and had all kinds of issues with one of our cars on the way back. It was a nightmare. We ended up having to rent a car to get home, then had to rent another car to go back and get it about a week later.

    We're looking to go on another long roadtrip this fall. We have a newer car now that we can use but I'm thinking about just renting one instead. I can get one for about a week and a half through Enterprise for under $500.

    Am I being too paranoid or do others rent a car when they go on long roadtrips?
    Depends on lots of factors. How many miles are you talking about? A trip to CO, for instance, is is like 2000+ miles. I've done that several times, but have always wondered if it was better to rent a car and avoid all the miles. If you want your car to last longer with less maintenance frequency, those miles add up, if you do one or two long trips per year.

  3. #3

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    Too paranoid. As long as you maintain your car and do not have any current issues with the vehicle.....I'd say take it. How many miles do you think you'll be putting on it during your trip?

  4. #4
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    I, for one, always take my own vehicle. I pay good money for a good sound system in my vehicles, so I can listen to music I like.

    If I'm driving a rental, I feel compelled to try and keep it clean, etc. It's like I have to be on my best behavior. Driving my own car just feels more comfortable.

    And, just in case I run into bad weather, I just feel more comfortable operating my car as opposed to a car I'm not familiar with.

    As far as mechanical issues, if you keep up with your regular maintenance, I don't think there is any greater chance of a breakdown. Having said that, I was driving on the freeway in Madison, WI one time and my timing belt broke. That was a fun day. But, stuff happens. The only way to have an absolute guarantee of no trouble on the road is to stay home.

  5. #5

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    I see the appeal to renting a car, but I don't think the cost of renting one offsets any depreciation by racking up extra miles. That said, I looked into renting a van last time we went, as the extra space would have made a lengthy trip more comfortable, but I think it would have ended up running me almost $800 if I remember right.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by short ornery norwegian View Post
    I, for one, always take my own vehicle. I pay good money for a good sound system in my vehicles, so I can listen to music I like.

    If I'm driving a rental, I feel compelled to try and keep it clean, etc. It's like I have to be on my best behavior. Driving my own car just feels more comfortable.

    And, just in case I run into bad weather, I just feel more comfortable operating my car as opposed to a car I'm not familiar with.

    As far as mechanical issues, if you keep up with your regular maintenance, I don't think there is any greater chance of a breakdown. Having said that, I was driving on the freeway in Madison, WI one time and my timing belt broke. That was a fun day. But, stuff happens. The only way to have an absolute guarantee of no trouble on the road is to stay home.
    I now forgive you. I haven't gotten around to installing a system in my new car yet. I'm planning to have it professionally done. I've always installed them myself prior....but I'm not a professional, and the work is not always as clean as I would like it. I don't want a sloppy install on this car. And since there are going to be three sets of speaker wires running from the trunk to the front door panels on each side....I need those well hidden.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by short ornery norwegian View Post
    I, for one, always take my own vehicle. I pay good money for a good sound system in my vehicles, so I can listen to music I like.

    If I'm driving a rental, I feel compelled to try and keep it clean, etc. It's like I have to be on my best behavior. Driving my own car just feels more comfortable.

    And, just in case I run into bad weather, I just feel more comfortable operating my car as opposed to a car I'm not familiar with.

    As far as mechanical issues, if you keep up with your regular maintenance, I don't think there is any greater chance of a breakdown. Having said that, I was driving on the freeway in Madison, WI one time and my timing belt broke. That was a fun day. But, stuff happens. The only way to have an absolute guarantee of no trouble on the road is to stay home.
    It seems you have this completely backward. The old saying is, "nothing parties like a rental."

    My grandfather and my uncle used to swear by renting a car for a long road trip. Current IRS standard mileage rate for deductions is $0.58 per mile. This includes gas, though, which is currently about $0.10 per mile. So depreciation on the car is ~$0.48. A 2000 mile trip, therefore, results in depreciation of $960 on your car. Depending on the size of vehicle you need, you can probably beat that over the course of a 10 day trip.

    That being said, my wife and I did this on one trip with our kids, but haven't done it since. Not sure why.

  8. #8

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    I rent a lot of cars, for work and for personal use. It lets you try something you don't normally get to drive, keeps miles off your vehicle, you maybe shouldn't/aren't quite as worried about is as your own vehicle.

    To me, it's a no-brainer; rent yourself something nice, you're on vacation. It's a good chance to treat yourself for what really isn't a LOT of money in the grand scheme of things.
    - Respect is the ultimate currency

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogee Oglethorpe View Post
    I rent a lot of cars, for work and for personal use. It lets you try something you don't normally get to drive, keeps miles off your vehicle, you maybe shouldn't/aren't quite as worried about is as your own vehicle.

    To me, it's a no-brainer; rent yourself something nice, you're on vacation. It's a good chance to treat yourself for what really isn't a LOT of money in the grand scheme of things.
    Problem is....that $500 rental for a week and a half probably isn't for an upscale vehicle. For a few days it might be feasible to swing for a nice ride....but for a road trip that's 10-12 days long? I suppose if you are spending a lot of your time in the vehicle....it might be worth ponying up for a nice SUV rental. If not....I'd have no problem dropping a few thousand miles on my car. It would be expensive to rent something nicer than what I drive....and it's not like I'm going to drive this car until it dies.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by justthefacts View Post
    It seems you have this completely backward. The old saying is, "nothing parties like a rental."

    My grandfather and my uncle used to swear by renting a car for a long road trip. Current IRS standard mileage rate for deductions is $0.58 per mile. This includes gas, though, which is currently about $0.10 per mile. So depreciation on the car is ~$0.48. A 2000 mile trip, therefore, results in depreciation of $960 on your car. Depending on the size of vehicle you need, you can probably beat that over the course of a 10 day trip.

    That being said, my wife and I did this on one trip with our kids, but haven't done it since. Not sure why.
    I wouldn't use the IRS rate to figure this. If you have a $30K car and figure to spend $15K on maintenance over its lifetime while driving 150K miles and having it be worth little/nothing at the end, it would be $0.30/mile depreciation and maintenace. And I would say that is on the high side.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by stocker08 View Post
    Problem is....that $500 rental for a week and a half probably isn't for an upscale vehicle. For a few days it might be feasible to swing for a nice ride....but for a road trip that's 10-12 days long? I suppose if you are spending a lot of your time in the vehicle....it might be worth ponying up for a nice SUV rental. If not....I'd have no problem dropping a few thousand miles on my car. It would be expensive to rent something nicer than what I drive....and it's not like I'm going to drive this car until it dies.
    You'd be surprised. You can get a premium or luxury for as much as a regular full size sometimes; I've seen instances where full size SUV's were the same or less than a mid-size. It changes all the time. Sometimes they need to get some miles on those nicer cars, they don't get out as much, whatever.

    It's worth looking into. The other factor too is, comfort and enjoyment for the entire fam; they get to ride something different, maybe a little more room, some other features, whatever. Make it seem like a real get away for everyone.
    - Respect is the ultimate currency

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ogee Oglethorpe View Post
    You'd be surprised. You can get a premium or luxury for as much as a regular full size sometimes; I've seen instances where full size SUV's were the same or less than a mid-size. It changes all the time. Sometimes they need to get some miles on those nicer cars, they don't get out as much, whatever.

    It's worth looking into. The other factor too is, comfort and enjoyment for the entire fam; they get to ride something different, maybe a little more room, some other features, whatever. Make it seem like a real get away for everyone.
    When I have to travel, I frequently get better cars than those I picked out without asking, especially if I fly to a smaller airport.

  13. #13
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    The trip will end up being about 2200 miles. My thought is that, besides keeping miles off of our car, if we have car problems then we can just get a replacement and not have to worry about it.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by GophersInIowa View Post
    The trip will end up being about 2200 miles. My thought is that, besides keeping miles off of our car, if we have car problems then we can just get a replacement and not have to worry about it.
    Just rent a car. It's going to lower your anxiety level. How much is that worth? It seems like that's what you want to do, so just do it.

    If you do decide to drive your own, make sure to get AAA at least a month before the trip. I have the Gold (mid level package). If the car breaks down on a trip they will tow it up to 100 miles + pay hotel & food for 3 days (might be 5?). For 2 cards (wife & myself each have one) I think it's $180 a year. Covers 3 tows, 3 jumps, 3 lock outs, per car + they'll bring you gas is you run dry, etc. I don't know how I ever lived without it.
    If at first you don’t succeed, then maybe you just suck. – Kenny Powers

  15. #15

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    we rented a car to go from chicago to minnesota and back because we did not own a car at the time. it was worth it. cheaper than two round trip plane tickets. i remember at the time though, the agent telling us that there was milage limits and we could only travel up to two states away. i might be remembering that wrong. i'd say go for it if you have the money. my family loves road trips, but we usually take out own car.

    we're gonna be making the trip eastbound on i90 through south dakota to minnesota next week. love that stretch of interstate, so many great kitschy things along i90 in sodak.
    We have a philosophical difference on what constitutes a law

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