It’s never too early to start planning
Getting around on vacation is getting harder than ever. With another rental car shortage forecast for this summer, you could find yourself stranded at your hotel or vacation rental. But there are new ways to solve your ground transportation problems.
“This summer will likely be frustrating for travelers,” says Robert Walden, editor of VehicleFreak.com, a car care site. “In addition to air travel problems and high gas prices, the rental car market has been disrupted by fleet shortages, high fuel prices and soaring demand. This reality doesn’t seem to want to s ‘mitigate soon, so travelers should consider other alternatives.’
For many travelers, ground transportation is the first consideration when planning a vacation. During last year’s car rental shortage, Mark Beales decided not to rent his car when he visited the Big Island of Hawaii.
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He moved back to Kona recently with his family, so he started looking for a car through AutoSlash.
“AutoSlash, through its rate tracking service, informed us that car rental prices had dropped such that a one-month rental was $1,258, well below the price originally quoted. “says Beales, a retired mortgage banker from Mill Creek, Washington.
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There are other ways to save on a rental car. “Find a hotel that has an airport shuttle and rent a car off the airport,” advises Mark Mannell, CEO of Car Rental Savers. “In tourist areas, many hotels have car rental counters.”
But there are other ways to get from point A to point B when traveling. The trick is to think differently about ground transportation and use new apps and options to get around.
How to think differently about ground transportation
Travelers are starting to think differently about ground transportation. Stan Caldwell, associate professor of transportation and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, says new “mobility-as-a-service” platforms are giving travelers more options for getting around.
If you’re heading to Pittsburgh, consider downloading the Transit app, which has partnered with MovePGH to allow users to combine inexpensive shared mobility options with the city’s public transit. “These services include public transportation, bike and scooter sharing, and ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber,” he says.
If you’re heading to Europe, you can download an app called Whim that lets you access transportation options in places like Antwerp, Helsinki, and Vienna.
What are the car rental alternatives?
Get off the beaten path of car rental this summer. There are many other ways to get around by car, such as a chauffeured limo.
“As rental car shortages and rising rental prices continue, many of our members are seeing an increase in business as travelers shift to alternate modes of transportation,” said Robert Alexander, President. of the National Limousine Association.
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It seems counterintuitive, but with car rental prices so high, a limo may actually be cheaper.
“Using chauffeured cars can definitely be more convenient if you rent a car for the holidays but only drive it a few times,” Alexander notes. “Taxis and ride-sharing solutions are not always the cheapest options.”
What about carpooling?
Susan Beardslee, principal analyst at ABI Research, says car-sharing options such as Turo, Zipcar and Avail are also worth considering this summer.
“Planning is key,” she warns. “You need to be flexible with your days of the week, dates and location. Vacationers will have better luck if they avoid key holidays and the most popular destinations.
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Carsharing is not without its challenges. Customers have complained of high mileage vehicles smelling of cigarette smoke. But car sharing companies are also more flexible than some car rental companies.
“Travelers can choose to carpool on an hourly basis, unlike the traditional car rental model, which requires people to commit to a full day,” says Nick Tenekedes, vice president of market at the site. Getaround car sharing.
Now is the time to make your ground transportation arrangements
One of the smartest solutions to your ground transportation problems is not having them in the first place.
“Consider a destination where you don’t need a rental car to get around,” says Narendra Khatri, director of Insubbuy, a travel insurance company. “In denser urban environments and island locations, you can rely on public transportation.”
But whether you rent, share, use public transport or take a scooter, make your plans fast, experts say.
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“This summer, book your ground travel as early as possible,” says Bryn Culbert, spokesperson for ground transportation app Wanderu. “Bus and train companies often sell cheaper fares, and tickets cost a lot more if booked at the last minute.”
It’s an undeniable fact about ground transportation that isn’t likely to change any time soon: you can’t think about it soon enough.
Tips for Getting Reliable Ground Transportation This Summer
Assume nothing. With supply chain issues affecting ground transportation, take nothing for granted. “Find out if the trains and buses are still running,” advises Frank Harrison, regional director of security for North America and the UK at World Travel Protection. “What are the hours? Looking to rent a vehicle, carpool, carpool or similar? Across North America, there are supply restrictions. And in most cases, what’s available is subject to increases of price.”
Shop harder. That’s the advice of Peter Hoagland, a consultant from Warrenton, Va., who recently rented a car in Portland, Maine. “The tariffs were everywhere,” he recalls. He decided to keep asking the same car rental companies using different discount codes until he got a rate that fit his budget. “It pays to keep shopping even with the same rental company,” he says.
Run the numbers. It may make more sense to bring your own car to your vacation destination instead of flying. Once you’ve added up the costs of flying and renting a car, you might be better off just driving. This is especially true for some Northeast destinations, Northeast destinations. Renting a car can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more, says Mario Medina, CEO of drvn, a driver service and technology company. “So the winner here is obviously yourself behind the wheel,” he says.