Planning a road trip is always an exciting undertaking. It allows you to break from your usual routines to consider the joys of visiting faraway places and encountering new experiences.
One of the first questions you should ask when planning a road trip is, “Should I rent a car for a road trip or use my own car?” A car rental for road trips can offer many advantages. One is that it allows you to choose a vehicle that matches your trip's needs. It also means you won’t put miles on your car.
Other benefits of renting a car for a road trip include:
Reliability: In general, rental cars are late-model vehicles. They are regularly inspected and offer peace of mind that they will get you to where you’re going without breaking down.
Amenities: Rental cars are often outfitted with modern amenities, including GPS, satellite radio, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Keeping down costs: Renting a car is a significant added expense, but when you consider the mileage you’d put on your car, plus the wear and tear and the money you might save by renting a more fuel-efficient vehicle, a car rental could be the more economical option.
Here are some other things to think about when considering a car rental for a road trip.
Plan out your route
While there might be a sense of exhilaration in just winging it and heading out on the open road with little or no planning, it’s better to figure out your route ahead of time. Planning your route will also save on fuel, get you to your destination(s) faster and offer a sense of confidence that will better allow you to enjoy the sights along the way.
Book stops ahead of time
Just as you should plan your route, booking lodgings ahead of time is a good idea. This is especially true during the peak travel periods or if you’re headed to a popular tourist destination.
Even in the off-season, there might be an event that has booked every room in town. Book ahead and ensure you know the cancellation policies and timeframes so there will be no penalties if you need to cancel.
Know what type of vehicle you need
When going on a road trip, it’s best to find the right vehicle to meet the requirements of the journey. Space is an important consideration. If you have passengers, make sure you have enough room to fit them comfortably and accommodate their luggage.
On the other hand, if it’s a solo trip, a smaller compact car might work best. Think about gas mileage, especially if you are on a budget. Also, consider the weather conditions and terrain you will likely encounter, and be sure your rental car is up for the challenge.
Use a travel portal to rent a car
Travel portals are a great resource when planning a road trip. These are online platforms managed by credit card issuers that offer a host of travel services, including booking services for hotels, airline tickets and rental cars. The Citi Travel portal has many advantages for eligible Citi cardmembers, such as convenient one-stop shopping and easy booking.
Road trips are long journeys that will require many refueling stops. When driving long distances, it’s important to be alert and not let your tank or fuel source drop below a quarter full, especially in a rental car if you are unsure of its mileage capabilities. You always want enough fuel to find a station, especially in an unfamiliar area.
Consider accident insurance
Covering all the bases is a good rule when renting a car for a road trip. Even if you have car insurance, there are good reasons to consider accident insurance. Rental car insurance often has no or low deductibles. If an accident occurs, costs could be much lower than on your personal policy. Also, if you carry the state minimum liability limit on your auto policy, adding such coverage may offer greater protection.