After days of deliberation, you finally decide on a destination for your family road trip. The location and activities are certain to be fun, but that's only half the story. You want to reach your destination with a smile on your face, but hours or possibly even days in the car make that a challenge. The vehicle you drive just might make or break your road trip so you think: can you rent a car for a road trip? The answer is - you sure can. In fact, many times, renting a car on a long distance trip can be better than taking your own car. Consider these important factors the next time you’re planning a family road trip:
Rentals May Cost Less
If you ever wondered what it costs to drive a car, the IRS has an answer. The established rate of 53.5 cents per mile means a 2,000-mile trip costs about $1,070 in gasoline, maintenance, and wear and tear on a family vehicle. This rate is subject to adjustment each year, but it rarely fluctuates more than a few cents per mile.
For a rental, a 2,000-mile trip spread across 10 days at a rental rate of $35 per day (including taxes and fees) costs $350. The EPA indicates the average vehicle achieves about 25 miles per gallon, so the trip requires about 80 gallons of gasoline. Gas prices vary across the country and frequently change, but if you assume a cost of $2.50 per gallon, you will pay about $200 for fuel. That brings the total cost of the rental and gas to approximately $550. This is about half the cost of driving the family car with maintenance and wear and tear factored into the price.
Gain Necessary Space
All trips are not created equal. Driving your daughter to college requires more room than packing up your family for a day at the beach. If you’re looking for more leg room for your upcoming road trip, check out the vehicles in our SUV/Minivan/4x4 section for that much needed extra space when heading out across the country. On the other hand, if the road trip is a romantic getaway for just the two of you, a flashy sports car like those found in our Dream Car or Adrenaline sections might be just what you need.
Do You Lease or Own?
If you lease your vehicle, you don't want to put unnecessary — and potentially costly — miles on the vehicle. Even if you own, a long road trip adds to the wear and tear on a family car, hurting the potential resale value. As long as you return your rental in good overall condition and the same cosmetic condition it was in when you drove it off the lot, you never have to worry about repair charges or other surprise expenses.
Taking the family car on a long trip means missing a golden opportunity to rent something more fun to drive. Vacations are all about fun. Maybe you should start by sliding behind the wheel of a vehicle you would love to buy but can't afford. Additionally, if you're thinking about buying a new car, truck, or SUV, renting the vehicle for the weekend gives you the opportunity to enjoy an extended test drive.