Renting a car anytime soon? Check out the best tips to choose between picking your rental car at the airport or an off-site location in the city!
Ready to rent a car? Have you noticed there are a few options when you search for the perfect rental car for your needs? You can choose to pick it up at an airport or an off-site/city location. Now the question is: which one is the best?
Well, it depends! Let’s talk about the advantages of each option so you make the best informed decision 🙂
Advantages of picking up your rental car at the airport
1. Easy pick up
Of course the first advantage is an easy pick up for people who arrive at the airport. This is the reason why airport locations are so popular and might be the reason why you’re considering it as well.
If you’re in need of a rental car because you’re out of town and plan on getting to your destination by plane, certainly the best option will be to pick it up at the airport. This isn’t just easier, but it also saves money on the ride from the airport to the city when you get there.
One thing to be considered before that, though, is the duration of your flight. Some people may feel a bit tired after a long flight and, in that case, it may be dangerous to drive — this is even more critical if you’re going to a place you don’t know well.
Depending on your destination, renting a car at the airport is much safer than relying on public transportation or ridesharing services to get to the city.
This is specially important if your destination is a place you’ve never been before. Unfortunately, there are some cases of illegal transport at airports — and worst of all: sometimes the tourists don’t even realize they’re at risk.
Renting a car at the airport means you’re in control of the vehicle, the directions and roads you’re taking.
3. Bigger fleets
Generally speaking, rental companies have bigger fleets available at airports, which means that the odds are in your favor when the demand is high.
However (and this is important!), the fleets may be bigger, but so is the amount of people looking for car rental at airports!
To guarantee your rental car for busy times, our tip is to always book in advance — a few weeks are usually enough for most locations.
Advantages of picking up your rental car at a city location
1. Near the hotel, where you live or are staying
There are at least a few situations a city location will be the best for you.
First, who said you’ll only need a rental car when you’re out of town? A rental car can be an option if you’re road tripping with friends, if you need more space than what you have with your own car and so many other situations.
If this is your case, then renting at an off-site or city location may be the best for you, as these are most often closer to your address.
This is also true if you’re staying at an hotel or Airbnb, for example. If you’ll only need the car for a part of your trip or if you’d rather pick it up when you’re rested from the flight, then the best option will be to pick the rental car at a nearby location.
If you’re staying near the city center or tourist attractions, chances are you’ll have many rental companies to choose from within walking distance!
2. Save on a few days the rental car won’t be needed
Picking up and returning the rental car at the airport sometimes means you’ll need to rent it for days you won’t really be needing it.
If you’ll only need the rental car for a few days of your trip, maybe it will come cheaper to simply rent it for those specific days. However, it’s important to do the math: sometimes the daily rate will become cheaper the longer you rent the car for.
3. Extra fees at airports
In the US and some other countries, airport locations charge an extra fee you won’t have to pay at off-site locations. This isn’t paid separately when you rent, but included in the usual fee charged by rental companies.
Because non-airport locations don’t charge this, the usual fee may be lower and you’ll be able to find cheaper offers!
The best tip: compare car rental prices!
In the end, the best tip is to always compare the prices and find the best offer according to your needs.
If you want to know more about this subject, we recommend reading out pick up and drop off tips and our post on how to return a rental car at the airport.
Now, if you’re ready to book, you can count on Rentcars.com to compare more than 100 rental companies all over the world. We find the best available price so you can enjoy the road!