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Renting a Car in One City... Dropping Off in Another?

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Old 03-20-2005, 08:57 AM
OmToast OmToast is offline
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Renting a Car in One City... Dropping Off in Another?

So I know that it can be done... just wondering if anyone has done it and if there was any particular hassle or exhorbitant fee involved.

I'm thinking it's vacation time (you know, now that I'm almost jobless, I should really be thinking of these things). So I was thinking of flying into Phoenix and renting a car to check out the Grand Canyon, then taking 3 days or so to drive down to Sasabe, to the Rancho de la Osa, for a few nights stay and flying out of (and thus leaving the Phoenix-rented car in) Tucson.

Given that Phoenix and Tucson are so close together, however, would it be less of a hassle to just drive back to Phoenix? Since most return flights are seeming to be early in the morning I figured it would be easier to fly out of Tucson for the return, and in so doing, maximizing time spent at Rancho.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:29 AM
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Toasty,

We did a make believe trip for you with rental at Alamo Rentals for 1 week. Tucson to Tuscon $150.00 plus tax Phoenix to Phoenix $140.00 plus tax. Then we did Phoenix to Tucson. $325.00 plus tax It looks like they really get ya if you drop off in a different city Hope we helped

Lois
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouiefromStLou
Toasty,

We did a make believe trip for you with rental at Alamo Rentals for 1 week. Tucson to Tuscon $150.00 plus tax Phoenix to Phoenix $140.00 plus tax. Then we did Phoenix to Tucson. $325.00 plus tax It looks like they really get ya if you drop off in a different city Hope we helped

Lois
Yowza!!!

Thanks Lo! Looks like it might be worth it to head back toward Phoenix (or wherever we get the car)! I guess we could sandwich Rancho in the middle of the trip and then meander our way back, as opposed to just trying to make a flight.

On a happier note, I managed to find hot springs which require a 20+ mile trek on unpaved roads, followed by a 1 mile hike, to visit. According to legend, it was a hangout of Al Capone's...

Oh how I wish I could make arrangements to have Ollie dangle from the plane -- in such a manner that he would not be squished at landing...
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:55 AM
hafid hafid is offline
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You're coming to my house, yes?

Please tell me when you do visit b/c I would love to be here around that time! Give you some local flavor to go explore and such...

re: rentals

You're going to pay a hefty price hike when you return in another city. You're messing with their distribution of vehicale allotment so they like to give you a hard time over that. The drive between Phoenix and Tuscon is only 1.5 hours though. The speed limit is 75 here so it's pretty quick.
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Old 03-20-2005, 03:49 PM
OmToast OmToast is offline
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Haf -- I'll definitely let you know when we'll be around (Leif will be with, but at this point I'm perfectly happy to stick him in the boot whilst we paint the town Indi Blue). I thought I'd firmed up the first week of June, but now that's apparently bad.

We're either going to fly into Phoenix and head North then South, OR we'll fly into Tucson and head north then back to Phoenix (this makes the most sense). Either way, we're going to hit Phoenix. At this point I'd better hurry up and make some plans, because looking at all the southwestern wonderfulness online is inspiring me to drink far too many margaritas!
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:31 PM
ylwjkt ylwjkt is offline
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Try Hertz. I bought a car in St. Louis, so only needed a rental one-way
from Kansas City to St. Louis. No extra charge to drop off. It may depend
what city you leave the car in and if the company regulary shuttles cars
back and forth from that location.
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:01 PM
searocko searocko is offline
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I did some shopping around as I'm going to pick up my MCS in Salt Lake City. I'll be renting from Seattle and discovered that National doesn't charge a drop off fee.
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Old 03-20-2005, 11:13 PM
hafid hafid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OmToast
Haf -- I'll definitely let you know when we'll be around (Leif will be with, but at this point I'm perfectly happy to stick him in the boot whilst we paint the town Indi Blue). I thought I'd firmed up the first week of June, but now that's apparently bad.

We're either going to fly into Phoenix and head North then South, OR we'll fly into Tucson and head north then back to Phoenix (this makes the most sense). Either way, we're going to hit Phoenix. At this point I'd better hurry up and make some plans, because looking at all the southwestern wonderfulness online is inspiring me to drink far too many margaritas!
No problem! Will be happy to host you! Just make sure it's on a weekend otherwise I may not be here

If you go north, go through Prescott and take the 89a up to Sedona and on the same hwy up to Flag - the most beautiful drive in the state!
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Old 03-21-2005, 05:51 AM
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I used to work for a car rental company. Most companies have unlimited miles. In some cases you can actually get a discounted rate to take from one city and drop off in another b/c they actually need the cars. There really isn't a fee to drop it off at another location, as usual, it's simply based on availability.
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Old 03-21-2005, 02:00 PM
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I travel a lot and end up doing this sort of one-way rental periodically, so here's the scoop...

Generally, there IS a penalty for one-way rentals UNLESS (as someone posted above) the agency you rent from just happens to want to redistribute their fleet and thus has a vested interest in having you move a car to your drop-off location. But the odds of this happening are quite low. And besides, they may choose to charge you for the one-way even if it benefits them...just because they can (and they figure that most renters expect a drop-off charge on one-ways).

But all you can do is to ask and see what they say. This is best done via on-the-phone reservation agents...and often by calling the pick up location directly. They often have a better idea of what they need to do to redistribute the fleet than the 800# agents do. And the online reservations are all driven by dumb machines that follow the rules...so you'll get no break there.

Also, you might try National and Enterprise first as I've found that they're much LESS likely to have drop-off charges than Hertz or Avis. As a rule, National didn't used to have drop-off charges...but I've found this to not be true lately.

Good luck!

ps -- Where do you want to go? If you don't mind driving a truck, you should remember that most U-Haul rentals are one-way...you may pay for miles, but you won't pay to drop-off. Do the math, it may be cheaper than renting a car. Assuming you don't mind driving a stripped down Ford Ranger and/or Chevy Pickup.
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:48 PM
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If you do find yourself with a couple of hours to spare in the Tucson area, the loop west of Tucson into Saguaro National Park is pretty amazing. I drove it in a Ford Ranger pickup (rental), but it must be incredible in a MINI! A very cool, dramatic loop with lots of steep hills and sharp curves, a lot of dirt, and of course thousands of huge saguaro cacti!

http://data2.itc.nps.gov/parks/sagu/...SAGUmap4%2Epdf
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Old 03-23-2005, 04:57 AM
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Thanks for all the info, guys!

I actually wouldn't mind driving a pick-up (good idea about U-Haul!) -- we were originally going to try to rent a convertable, but then all the stuff I wanted to see involved treks on unpaved Forest Service road, so I was hoping to be able to rent a Wrangler and get the best of both worlds. That doesn't seem to be working out, however -- there's only one rental company I've found so far that rents them, and there arent' any available.

That said, however, I'm definitely going to have to call the actual rental places, as the online res. services aren't helping me very much.

The drive into Saguaro seems awesome! I'm still not entirely sure where we're going, but I can usually fit anything into a travel schedule
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Old 03-23-2005, 05:15 AM
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I travel a lot and use Hertz exclusively and have found that there isn't always a drop off fee when returning to a different city and if there is, it's not much. I'd try them. I suspect that due to their size, fleet distribution is less of an issue. Also, if may find yourself dropping off a vehicle in a locale where additional vehicles are needed thus you are actually doing them a favor and are not penalized. I'd certainly check different rental agencies as the rates and penalties will undoubtedly vary tremendously.
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:24 PM
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I don't know much about car rentals (except that National and Enterprise are now one company?), but I love the Tucson area and hope you have time to visit Kitt Peak (or is it Kitt's Peak) where the observatory is and the Desert Museum which is a microcosm of desert ecology. Have fun.
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