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I almost titled this post Rental Cars and Uber During these “Unprecedented” times, but I’m so sick of hearing the word unprecedented. So I’ll stick with “bizarre”.
As many of you know, there is a shortage of rental cars right now. When travel came to a standstill in 2020, car rental companies sold off inventory. And now, there is a shortage of semiconductor chips used in new cars, so new car production is slower. You can read more about this phenomenon here. As a result, the price of rental cars has skyrocketed.
Rideshare apps have also suffered during the pandemic. Many drivers quit due to low demand. This has made it challenging to catch a ride. On a recent trip, I waited over 30 minutes for a ride to show up. It’s not the end of the world, but not the 5-minute wait times I was used to.
Minimizing Costs and Inconveniences of Rental Cars and Uber
I’ve traveled four times during the past month and used both Uber and a rental car. Which one is better? Neither! They were both expensive and slow. I recommend public transportation over both of these options if it’s available in your destination.
But if it’s not, there are strategies you can use to make your rental car experience better:
- Reserve a rental car as early as you can. I recommend using Autoslash and reserving a “pay at the counter” rate.
- Keep watching your email for better deals, and re-book.
- Check alternative car rental locations. Sometimes, you can save by renting a car in the suburbs instead of at the airport.
- Do your research on how to “skip the line” at the car rental counter. My family waited 2 hours in line last summer. Ugh!
- Try a car sharing rental option like Turo or Getaround. I have personally never used these options, but I know folks who have.
As for Uber, Lyft and other rideshare apps, I have one big recommendation:
- Schedule your rides in advance when you can! Even if you know you’re going to want a ride in 30 minutes, schedule it in advance. I’ve had much better luck with getting rides that way. See that drop-down arrow by the “now”? You can pick your day and time for your next ride. Easy peasy.
Have you used a rental car or rideshare app on recent travel? Are the high prices of rental cars making you re-think your travel strategy?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.