A very common question for a newbie traveler like me living in the USA is “how much airport car rentals will cost you?” OR in other words “how to find deals on cheap airport car rentals in the USA?”. Each day, many of us living on the east coast of the United States plan to travel from different airports of New York to our respective travel destinations. The two of the most commonly used airports for the people living in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are Newark Airport and John F Kennedy Airport. Reaching to the Airport is fairly easy in the USA as you have a variety of car rentals options available to you from many companies. All the major companies of car rentals in USA offer services for a drop to a different destination instead of getting the rental car back to the rented location. Hence, you can always use the car rentals to get to the Airports when you depart and travel back to home as you arrive at the Airports using these car rentals services.
This year when I was planning my first visit back to home in India, I was checking out some options to reach to JFK Airport in New York from my home in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. It may be pretty simple for the native people but for someone like me who was new to the United States, it was a project in itself 🙂 … I explored and researched many options ranging from taking my own car and park it at the airport for long-term (30 days) or taking my own car to a friend’s place in New Jersey and use drop off taxi or take rental car from New Jersey for rest of the journey or taking the daily bus from Doylestown, PA to JFK Airport in New York. However, most of the options ended up being more costly than getting a rental car and drop it off at the JFK Airport location. In my research I had to consider a family of three people and luggage as much as about six large sized bags & five cabin sized bags 😯 😀 😛 … Yeah, that’s the luggage you travel with when you visit your family after two long years 🙂 🙂 !!
Once, the options of taking the car rental and dropping it off at the Airport was decided, the hunt for the cheap airport car rentals begun. I explored many online websites offering bookings for car rentals including car rental companies own websites, general OTAs websites or websites of travel deals aggregators. Being naive to these car rentals and experience of flying back to India from the USA, especially with family, I was concerned and had to do my research. Like I said earlier, for the native people and those living long enough in the USA, it may be a trivial task but for a novice desi like me, it deserved some research before spending the money. I took advice from various friends who had taken the rental cars in the past and also read online about how to go about finding the deals for cheap airport car rentals from a small town like Lansdale. In the end, I am writing this article sitting in my home in India and can proudly say that the whole research & patience paid off quite well 😀 😀
Someone once said that try not to reinvent the wheel. Hence, in this article today, I would like to concise my whole research on finding the good deals on cheap airport car rentals and share it with you in a simplified manner. I believe that this article may help you save some money and learn from my experience on finding such deals on cheap airport car rentals in the USA. The article highlights the top seven essential tips from my research that will help you in saving money on the airport car rentals. Let’s look at them now.
Pro Tip: Are you planning a trip somewhere and confused on a checklist of things to pack for your trip? Do checkout our article on List of things to carry when you go on trip
In most cases, the one-way car rental prices from Airport to Airport will always be much cheaper as compared to other locations or drop-off locations. Also, you should note that the car rental price from a smaller airport like Allentown to a bigger airport like JFK will be much more in comparison to the other way round. Hence, it is always wise to check out the prices of car rentals from Airport to Airport first.
Most of the car rental companies in the USA have drop-off points at various airports including the New York JFK Airport. At JFK Airport, these drop off car rentals lots are located at about 10-minute drive in Jamaica area. There is an AirTrain station around these car rental lots by the name Federal Circle, connected to the JFK Airport terminals. You can use the AirTrain to commute between Federal Circle station and Airport terminals to pick up / drop off the rental car. I will say, very convenient. If there is too much luggage and you are with your family, it is better to drop them first at the airport with luggage and then drop off your car. Leave a bit early to do all this in a convenient manner.
The first point makes sense and will save you money for sure. However, also note that you have to reach Airport to pick up the car anyhow. It is convenient if you are coming from an Airport like JFK where you can take the AirTrain to pick up the rental car. But, if you are going from Allentown to JFK, the Allentown airport does not have that kind of connectivity. You must reach the local Airport first to pick up the rental car and for that either you will use Uber or take a lift from a friend or family member.
Hence, it is always wise to check out the prices from your local location car rental lot to the destination Airport. If the difference isn’t too much on that particular day, better to stick to it.
You should reserve your rental car with services or websites that offer free cancellations. This gives you enough flexibility to hunt down the right deal for you until the very last day. Most websites like Priceline.com, Booking.com, Costco Travel, etc.. provides free cancellation option up to last minute. No harm in spending five minutes each day when it may save $50-100 in the end 🙂 … Do note that, Hotwire.com also provides good last minute deals too, many a time.
The key to get a good deal on car rentals in the USA is to keep hunting the deals after doing your first booking with free cancellation. As I followed point 3, I had the opportunity to cancel my reservation, which I made for a deal of $80, right on the day when I had to pick up the rental car 😀 … Last day, I got a deal as good as $33 for a full-size sedan from Lansdale to JFK Airport and that too from my home location !! 😀 😀 … It was dirt cheap which not only saved good money but also the time it would have taken to go to Allentown Airport from Lansdale and come back with the car. I could never have expected such a deal for a car rental from Lansdale to JFK airport, frankly. But, I did…
Fun Fact: I got a deal as good as $33 for a full-size sedan from Lansdale to JFK Airport and that too from my home location !! 😀 😀 …
If you are traveling with a family and have decent luggage, try to find out deals for a Full-Size Sedan car or Mini Vans. Though Mini Vans are in general costly, if you have too much of luggage and family with you, it is a better option. If you are single or couple with less luggage, small cars with much lesser prices will serve the deal for you. Also, you should know that a full-size sedan car such as Altima, Camry, Optima, Malibu, etc.. provides enough luggage space to carry a good number of bags if you have 2-3 passengers only. Don’t think that an SUV or mid-size SUV is the only option with many luggage bags.
In case you have Costco Membership, do not forget to check the Costco Travel website for car rental prices. At times there are special discounts running for the members and you will not find better deals than Costco at that time, in most cases.
Pro Tip: Booking a rental car with Costco Travel also have advantages of free cancellation and free additional driver. And if you are an executive member, you get your 2% cash rewards too.
If you own a car, many car insurance companies in the USA provides some coverage of rental cars as well. Before opting in for any car rental insurance packages, it is always wise to check with your own car insurance folks, evaluate/know about the coverage and assess the risk. Similarly, some of the debit or credit cards like Bank of America cards also provide some insurance coverage for rental cars if you use them for your car rental bookings. Always better to know all your options and assess the risk you may be taking before buying another redundant insurance option.
I hope you liked reading and learning from this article on finding the cheap airport rental cars in the USA. The tips mentioned in the article may help you find the right deal on a rental car for your next upcoming trip either back home or on general travel. If you have taken the rental car in the past and think that I missed some important aspect, I would love to hear about your tips and experiences in the comments section below. Anything that will help the fellow reader on renting a car based on your past experience is more than welcome. Also, if this article helps you save some money or you find another trick to find cheap airport car rentals, do share it with all of us here too 🙂 🙂 …
In the end, if you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the “Ask a travel question section” or newly introduced “Travel Questions” section of our website. Feel free to share this article with your friends or family and help them save some money by hunting some cheap airport car rentals on their upcoming trips. I am sure they will always thank you whenever they will opt for car rentals in the USA 🙂 🙂
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