June 11, 2020Updated: June 11, 2020 4 a.m.
After months of sheltering in place in our homes and neighborhoods, and the imminent repeal of the governor’s statewide travel ban, Bay Area residents are ready to release a lot of pent up travel demand.
With most people still hesitant to fly, travel by car is going to be the way to go. (RVs, too! More about that here.) Luckily, due to extremely low demand (for now), there are some super-cheap rental car deals out there for those ready for a nice long drive.
How cheap? How about just $82, all-in, for a long three-day weekend? That is just $27 per day for a standard-size car, including taxes and fees. Load up the family or your household in a minivan and head for the hills for about $120 for three days. Put on your Ray-Bans and splurge on a convertible for a ride up the coast with the top down for about $58 per day, all in.
One-day rentals are an option, too. Pick up the car early in the morning, and drop it off in the evening, and you’ll only pay $20 to $30 for smaller cars.
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For this post, I checked on rates for Friday-Monday, June 26-29, however, similar rates are available all summer long.
With air travel at record lows, airport locations seemed to have the very best, rock-bottom deals, but that was not always the case, so be sure and shop around.
Also, be sure to compare apples to apples and be sure you are seeing “all in” prices that include taxes and fees, which can add up very fast. If you do not own a car, and don’t use a credit card that offers car rental insurance, it’s probably a good idea to get the Collision Damage Waiver, which costs about $10 per day.
We checked with several sites such as RentalCars.com, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and Hotwire.com. Hotwire seemed to have the lowest overall prices, but only by a few dollars.
The cheapest rentals are generally with lesser known car rental companies, such as Ace, Fox and NU, which don’t have stellar reputations, but you get what you pay for. However, a few really good deals popped up with well-known brands like Alamo, National, Sixt and Thrifty. Again, shop around, and if you can, go with the more recognizable name.
To save on the cost of getting to and from the airport, be sure to check on city locations that you can walk to. Most, but not all of these deals come with unlimited miles, so if you plan on a long distance trip, keep that in mind.
NOTE: These rates were available on Wednesday, June 3 and are subject to change.
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