Car Rental United States – Cheap Deals and Tips for Your USA Travel
Unlimited widths, a phrase that is more commonly heard in connection with the United States of America. And these expanses with their many attractions, national parks and other attractions can be wonderfully explored by rental car. But before the dream can come true, there are often many unanswered questions. Does it make a difference if you book a bigger or smaller car hire? What do I have to look out for when booking? What pitfalls are there? These questions and more are answered below.
Whether Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge or the gambling city of Las Vegas, Death Valley, the Niagara Falls, Santa Ana, Chicago, the Yosemite National Park, a trip to Hollywood or even Canada, A rental car is always a good choice if you want to take as many unforgettable impressions as possible during your dream vacation in the USA.
A special adventure and highlight is a road trip across the highways of the United States, where you can experience so much more of America’s unique attractions. And it does not matter which climate zone you’re in, whether it’s taking you to the West Coast or the East Coast, traveling the glittering Pacific, or heading inland from the interior to New England or South With a rental car, you are always flexible on the road. Hired cars can also be booked in Hawaii.
Search rental cars on comparison platforms
There are many reasons to book the car from Germany. So the booking is usually cheaper, the jurisdiction is in case of dispute in your own country and there is a German-speaking contact person. In addition, you have the opportunity to read the contracts in peace and do not run the risk of hastily agreeing to unnecessary benefits. Members of automobile clubs and other organizations may enjoy some of the benefits of booking a rental car in the US.
Meanwhile, the market has become so large and confusing that it makes no sense to rattle each and every car rental provider separately. Even if you find what you are looking for, it does not say for a long time that your found object carries the cheapest price. In our review of various comparison platforms, the provider Billiger-mietwagen.de won, which takes over the price comparison with the same. The site compares nearly 150 providers from over 170 countries and also has a comprehensive offer for the US. According to its own statement, the company has more than 181,000 satisfied customers. Especially popular is the airport filter. With the help of this system, cars can be rented directly at the airports. By simple entry of the place and the date including time of the car in the US is found quickly.
What was particularly important to us is the fact that the cancellation of the rental car up to 24 hours before rental is free. In addition, the “FOCUS-MONEY” portal has been voted “best car hire broker” several times. Already three times we were able to convince ourselves of the website. Once in New York City (227 € per week), once in Las Vegas (177 € per week) and once in Washington (185 € per week). In all three weeks we had nothing to complain about. So, who is looking for a rental car in the US should choose cheaper-mietwagen.de.
by the way: Car rental and hotel are often cheaper than a motorhome vacation.
What speaks for getting a rental car in the US?
The United States of America is an absolute country for motorists and perfect for a rental car trip. Of course, the distances in California and the other states are enormous, and anyone looking to explore National Parks, the Grand Canyon, and other attractions outside major cities with good infrastructure such as New York City can hardly miss a rental car. Orientation: California alone has an area of 423,970 km². Although the long-distance bus network is well developed, for example, by the Greyhound buses, but they also serve only the major arteries and make no stop at sights that you can not travel.
Pedestrians are also an absolute rarity except in the metropolises. Because the typical American climbs into his own car, even if he only has to tackle a distance of one kilometer. Accordingly, the range of car rentals in the US is very large and renting a rental car is possible at cheaper prices than in Europe.
Which car should I choose and which type of car is suitable for which purposes?
The question of finding the right car to experience the US depends on the budget, the number of people, the number of routes to be covered, your own level of comfort and the amount of luggage. Explore the United States for two, may be sufficient for a small car, but here by the limited space in the trunk and the often lack of legroom space with plenty of luggage or tall passengers can be scarce. It also makes a difference whether you only take short trips over a few miles with your rental car to the beach or whether the vehicle should be your faithful companion during a tour of thousands of kilometers. The habituation effect also plays a role. If you drive a big car at home, you may not be happy with a small car on a US vacation.
Most of the roads in the US – including the cities – are well developed, so you do not necessarily have to rent a 4×4. For routes through landscapes such as canyons and the prairie, a four-wheel drive vehicle may be useful, but the insurance coverage is void if you think you have to drive off-road with your rental car. Anyone who likes to sit higher in the car is nevertheless well advised on the highway with an SUV.
The individual vehicle classes:
- Economy ECAR
- Compact CCAR
- Midsize / Intermediate ICAR
- Full size sedan SCAR / FCAR
- Premium limousine PCAR / PDAR
- Luxury limousine LCAR / LDAR
- Midsize SUV IFAR
- Standard SUV SFAR
- Fullsize SUV FFAR
- Minivan MVAR
tipAs a principle of principle, one can say that with a class higher than the one you actually need, you will often be well advised. Especially if you want to manage longer distances with your rental car.
Car with children
In all states of the USA, children must be transported in child seats. However, requirements vary by state with regard to age, weight and height of children. A booster seat is mandatory in all states except Florida and South Dakota for children who have outgrown the child seat. If you are traveling with children to the United States who need a child seat or booster seat here in Europe, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the state of the state you are traveling to in advance.
It is not recommended to take your own child seat from Europe to the USA, as these may not be used in the US as they do not comply with NHTSA regulations. Although the use is tolerated, however, it is unclear what it looks like in the event of an accident. In addition, the seat could be damaged during transport in the aircraft.
Other countries, other customs: An alternative would be the purchase of a child seat in the US. However, American child seats can not be used in Germany because there is no ECE mark. A commercially available foldable child seat fell in a test of the Stiftung Warentest due to significant safety deficiencies. The simplest variant is therefore usually to book when renting the rental car a matching child seat.
How to avoid />
We know it from flights: from 9.90 euros per flight are quickly 99.90 euros. Even with rental cars, there are many hidden costs and sticking points that you should pay attention to. The supposed bargains often end in an expensive way or make you realize that the price is not everything. You should also check the service and the included services intensively. When renting a car makes sense to read in advance the fine print to avoid unwanted additional costs. Among other things, pay close attention to what is included in the offer, for which processing fees are levied, what happens in the event of damage (eg transmission damage) and how the tank filling is regulated. You should also pay attention to the minimum age of the driver (s), as well as whether additional drivers can be registered. We have set nine golden rules:
1. Book from home
We recommend that you always book your rental car from home. Firstly, you have more time for an intensive check of the price and the services. Second, you usually have a German-speaking contact person. In addition, you will receive the cheapest deals around three to four months before the booking date.
2. Put together necessary documents
Before picking up your rental car you should put together the necessary documents. Voucher, credit card and driver’s license ready? This will usually deposit your deposit. For example, if the credit card is missing, some landlords require additional insurance.
3. Inquire about upgrades on site
Anyone who sells additional services as an employee of a rental car company usually receives commissions. This is the biggest reason that almost every company offers you an increase in services for a surcharge. Above all, your luggage is often taken as an opportunity to offer you a larger car. Be careful and read all documentation carefully!
4. The time is crucial
An official rental day lasts 24 hours. If you pick up your rental car at 10 o’clock, you must hand it over by 10 o’clock the next day to get a full day’s charge. If you drop off your rental car later, you usually pay extra. So book the rental car at the time you really need it and plan enough time buffers for the delivery.
5. The price is not everything
We recommend that you do not focus exclusively on the price. Of course, lower costs are often a high motivation for booking a rental car. However, then you accept poor service, long waiting times and cars in poor condition. Orient yourself to previous customer reviews! These can also be positive at a rather low price structure of a landlord.
6. Consider insurance
Car rental insurance is often dubbed a cost trap. However, an accident can cost you dearly. We recommend the conclusion of a fully comprehensive insurance without deductible. This costs only insignificantly more than a full insurance with deductible. Also pay attention to the coverage of the liability insurance, which should be at least one million euros. Note: There are some credit cards that offer these insurances inclusive: Here it goes along.
7. Make tank agreement
Before the start of the journey, it must be clarified whether the rental car with full tank must be returned. Not infrequently, rental car companies can royalties for fueling the use royally. If possible, make the agreement “fully refuel pick up, return full tank”. However, if you pick up “full tank” and “return empty”, you have to expect higher costs.
8. Handover protocol
Check all damage before starting the journey and insist on a handover protocol. In addition, it makes sense to document existing damage by photo. Also pay attention to supposed little things like tire pressure, brakes, lights, turn signals, steering, first aid kit, warning triangle and safety vest. Even if you return the car, you should insist on a handover protocol, which proves that no new damage has been added.
9. Do not forget anything in the car
If you notice after submitting that you have forgotten something in your rental car, it is often already too late. Therefore, we recommend checking carefully in the trunk, under the seats or in the glove compartment, if you have forgotten something. For the forwarding of forgotten items, the landlords often charge a very high fee.
Well-known car rental companies in the USA
In the US there are numerous car rental companies from which you can choose. On the one hand, there are the well-known global providers such as Avis, Budget, Hertz or Sixt, but also many local providers such as Alamo or Dollar. There are also rental car brokers such as CardelMar, Drivefti or sunnycars who do not have their own fleet, but only arrange rental cars. Booking through these brokers is sometimes cheaper than booking directly.
However, the price comparison should never be the sole decision criterion. More important in the comparison are the requirements for the car rental, the available offers, tariffs, insurance and inclusive services. For example, drivers under the age of 21 find it difficult to find a hire car provider. Some car rental companies charge riders between the ages of 21 and 25 for a boy driver’s fee or, like Hertz, generally exclude drivers under the age of 25.
When is which tariff useful??
Much more important than the price is the comparison of insurance benefits at the individual car rental companies. In any case, a fully comprehensive insurance without deductibles for damage to the rental vehicle is recommended, which in case of damage also applies to self-inflicted accidents. A liability insurance (LIS) for all damage that does not affect your own rental vehicle, as well as insurance against broken glass and tire damage may be useful. The latter, however, is included in the fewest car rental companies and must be additionally completed. The coverage of the liability insurance should be at one million US dollars. In addition, the conclusion of an insurance against the loss of the car key, a theft insurance and a passenger and luggage insurance may be recommended depending on the individual requirements. Even with insurance luggage should never be left visible in the car. Especially not in the convertible.
Caution:: In case of irregular behavior the complete insurance cover expires! Abusive behavior may include, for example, unregistered drivers and driving on unauthorized or unpaved roads.
What documents do I need to book the rental car and pick up in the US then?
In order to receive your booked rental car upon arrival in the United States at the airport, you will need a proof of identity (ideally your passport), a credit card, a national AND an international driver’s license.
In addition, insist on a handover protocol in which already existing damage to the vehicle is documented. On this form, all vehicle parts are listed as a rule, which can then be identified there as flawless or faulty.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with US traffic rules in advance. For example, when driving on intersections.
What to pay attention to when driving license?
To rent a vehicle in the US and identify yourself as a mobile road user, the national driver’s license is sufficient. For safety’s sake, you should also get an international driver’s license, which is available for a fee of 15 € at the competent district office. The international driver’s license is a multilingual document valid for three years, which makes it easier for the authorities to work in the event of a check. It can also be an advantage for you if you have an international driver‘s license for a police check, which you can hand over. So you do not have to give up your “right” (national) driver’s license.
If you plan to stay or even buy a car in the US for a longer period of time, you should consider applying for an American driver’s license. You will need an address in the US (such as a friend’s), you will need to undergo an eye test, and a $ 20 fee will be charged.
If you are thinking about applying for an American driver’s license, you should fill in Form I-94, which will be distributed by air shortly before landing, in English.
What special features are there in terms of vehicles and traffic rules compared to Germany?
Getting used to an American rental car will be the biggest challenge for most drivers switching to a vehicle with an automatic transmission. But once you get the hang of it, the transition from manual to automatic is easy to master.
Basically, most road users on American roads behave disciplined and true to the rules. At least outside of big cities.
The maximum speed is within localities at 20 to 30 mph or 40 to 48 mph. Schools may usually only be driven with a maximum of 15 mph, holding school buses may not be overhauled (pay attention to the hazard warning lights!). Outside localities speeds between 55 and 65 mph are allowed, on some interstates may be driven with 70 to 75 mph. 0.62 mph equals 1 km / h.
There are some road signs in the US that are foreign to Europeans. Most are self-explanatory. In many states, after a full stop at red lights, turn slowly to the right, unless prohibited by a sign saying “No Right Turn On Red”. When parking, there must always be a distance of three meters to hydrants.
Fines are generally quite high in the US. For the journey over a red traffic light, for example, 270 euros have to be paid. If you do not think this is a school bus, it can cost you 240 euros and a speed limit of only 10 km / h will cost around 180 euros. So it makes sense to stick with the rental car in the US meticulously to the applicable traffic rules. Just an unpaid traffic ticket can cause problems at the next entry into the US.
For persons under 18 years in the vehicle may not be smoked. The per mille limit is 0.8 in most states.
How is the return of the rental car from?
When returning your rental car you should think of the tank regulations. If you have agreed that you should take the vehicle with a full tank and refuel it at the gas station (F / F), you have agreed that you will take the vehicle fully and return it empty (F / E) or is the regulation that the first tank filling is included in the rental price and the vehicle is returned with an empty tank (FP)? It is also worthwhile to keep the agreed rental days in order to avoid extra days being charged. If you have agreed on a return location different from the pick-up location (one-way rental), the same conditions apply, except that the place of delivery is another.
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