Guide To Car Rentals In US
Sathe tells you about USA’s ‘Chariots of Hire’
rental companies operate out of almost all major locations,
airports, tourist spots and business hubs
business trip to the United States is an otherwise exciting
proposition till you reach the roadblock of short distance
travel within the country. Between cities there is hardly
any issue as inter-city flights across the gigantic land mass
are run like suburban locals in Mumbai and even 9/11 cannot
displace this mode of transport due to its unquestionable
On the ground however, road and rail public transport in the
US is like the Himalayan yeti - everyone has heard
about it but no one has actually seen it. In such a scenario,
and where petrol prices are so cheap as to hardly make a dent
in ones pocket, your own vehicle remains the only way
to move about even if it is a few hundred miles.
Persons of Indian origin or your hosts there will go out of
their way to pick and drop a fellow desi but for how long
and how many times? Try a cab and you will nurse the hole
in your pocket for the rest of the trip. So, is there a solution?
Of course, buddy, as a local would say. Rent a car.
car rentals is a multi-million dollar industry with the biggest
players being Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Alamo etc. They operate
out of almost all major locations, airports, tourist spots,
airports and business hubs. The ease of renting the four wheels
will make you wish to start a business on the same lines when
you return to India. But we will let that pass.
transport can rarely be seen in US roads
The rented car however comes without a driver. You need to
don that role temporarily but then it is not so bad when you
realise that except the President of the country almost everyone
is his own driver. Rents start at around US$ 32 or so per
day (indicative). They may vary depending on local competition,
state and federal levies and special schemes that may be bundled
by airlines and hotels for their frequent flier/users programmes.
specific levies in states as well as airport drop/pick-up
additional charges would apply if you wish to drop off the
car at a location different from where you picked it up. Specifically,
on weekends you can negotiate even better bargains. However
for Indian drivers depending on the state you wish to drive
in, an International Driving Licence (preferably not more
than six months old) along with a local Indian driving licence
is absolutely essential besides some personal identification
and an international credit card.
US Automobile Rental Agencies
Hertz - http://www.hertz.com
Budget - http://www.budgetrentacar.com
Dollar - http://www.dollarcar.com
Alamo - http://www.goalamo.com
Enterprise - http://www.pickenterprise.com
National - http://www.nationalcar.com
Thrifty - http://www.thrifty.com
Payless - http://www.paylesscar.com
Advantage - http://www.arac.com
Rent a Wreck - http://rent-a-wreck.com
for a society as litigious as the US, the buying of a third
party insurance policy or some Extra Protection
is advised. This again varies from location to location and
will add approximately US$12 or so per day (indicative) though
here again a combination of your credit card risk cover etc.
may help alleviate matters. In any case, the final amount
compares extremely favourably with taxis as even a fairly
short distance ride of an hour will cost you approximately
US$ 50 or so and even more if you hire the slightly more luxurious
limo to impress your client.
Recently, the use of newer technologies by car rental companies
has meant you might get a smart car which knows where to go
after you feed in the destination and keeps guiding you when
confusion sets in. Also if you run errant, remember Big Brother
is watching you as in-built tracking systems in the cars means
you are constantly on the radar of the rental company and
trying to beat an untrodden path may invite censure.
said and done, the sheer ease and comfort of the car rental
system beats the other disadvantages if any. So, what are
you waiting for? Go ahead and zoom away.
US roads your own vehicle remains the most convenient mode