Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you always want to use it. Sometimes it makes more sense to rent a car instead. If you’re weighing car rental benefits compared to driving your own car, there are a few factors to consider. Let’s answer a few questions that will determine your best option.
What is the current condition of your car?
If your car has already tackled its fair share of long road trips, this is not the time to push your luck. A broken-down car on vacation is a nightmare scenario that can easily be avoided with a rental car. You understand your car better than anyone. Use your best judgment.
On the other side of the coin, you might be hesitant to take a brand-new car on its first road trip. Whether it’s unfamiliarity with your new car, or you’re trying to avoid early wear and tear, renting a car allows you to break in your new purchase on your terms.
How many people are coming?
If your personal car is on the smaller side, you might not have enough room for everyone and their luggage. If you’re carrying fewer passengers than usual, a smaller car could help you save on gas. Renting a car gives you more options, allowing you to find the vehicle that best suits your trip.
Will you be traveling through rough terrain?
If the car you own isn’t cut out for steep elevation changes, unpaved trails, or other rough terrain, a rental car is a simple solution. Vehicles with rear-wheel drive or low ground clearance are discouraged and pose a certain level of danger in many situations.
What is the total cost of taking your own car vs. renting a car?
Most travelers account for gas mileage and total miles traveled when calculating the cost of renting a car compared to taking their own. But many forget to factor in the wear and tear of a road trip. While these are long-term expenses, a true comparison should account for tire damage, an oil change, and depreciation. These often add up to more than the total cost of renting a car.
What experience are you looking for?
If total cost isn’t your primary concern, splurging on a luxury rental car can be a rewarding experience. If you’re cruising the coast, renting a convertible could be more fun than driving your sedan. If you’re going on a family vacation, your kids will appreciate the extra space and in-car entertainment of a luxury SUV. If your car is a little stale, a rental car is a great way to add excitement to the trip.
There’s no clear-cut winner in this comparison, and every situation is unique. But if you take your time, and do the proper research, renting a car could save you money and give you the peace of mind that’s so important on long road trips. If you’ve already decided renting a car is the way to go, use our reservation tool to book a cheap car rental now.
Written by: Kody Pedersen