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Renting a car in the USA - Read this guide

In recent times, due to the numerous innovations and fun activities been heard of by tourists and vacation lovers, a great number of people always aim at visiting the United States. You can never go wrong when on a vacation in the US with the plenty side attractions that come alongside. From the beautiful beaches of California and Florida to the nice parks of Grand Canyon or the other many places you can visit.

With the numerous places in the US, you can be rest assured of never getting bored –it is the perfect get-away location. Even if you arrive in the US by flight, you are most likely not going to be using flights to go around -hence, the need for an affordable and comfortable transportation means to ensure your touring period is all you dreamt off.

Having a car to move around in most parts of US is a necessity and definitely going to be a plus for any tourist –you may either own or rent a car. For a tourist, the more appealing option is to rent a car in order to allow your moving around the cities of US an exciting and pleasurable one. Car rentals are available on different durations ranging from daily, weekly to monthly or as the need arises. Below is a list of useful tips to ensure renting a car during your stay in USA is hassle free

Would it be a bad idea to rent a car in USA?

If you are a tourist in USA, renting a car would go a long way to ease you off stress during your movements around your trip. Renting a car for a long period of time might cost you a little more than the usual but if you need it, you certainly won’t be able to do without it. Renting a car have become a part of the traveling experience but in most cases, it doesn’t turn out as easy as you expect. When renting a car a lot of things will come your way –getting insurance from a company, topping up your fuel, issues of damage claims and a whole host of others.

All of this could be really discouraging and happen in everywhere and not particular to USA. All you need to know is the right way in order to escape all of the nitty-gritty involved and enjoy your car rentals. Renting a car in USA is a very good idea –just know your way around the car rental companies and then you will have a spoil time during your vacation.

Car rental issues in USA

If you know your way, try to avoid having issues with rental companies. No car rental company is perfect but there are surely a good number of companies that can guarantee little or no issues when their vehicles are rented.

Try to always make sure the car you rent is one that has no scratches. Another thing you must look out for to avoid having issues when renting a car is ensuring it is legally insured with a good company.

Amongst all of the precautionary measures you can carry out before renting a car is to properly check what the car rental offer comes with –this is very important especially if you booked from the rental company online. Being fully aware of the car rental coverage will go a long way to ensure you have no issues when renting a car in USA.

Best and Worst Car rental companies in USA

If you have rented cars before or checked out car rental reviews then you will know that almost every company has one or two negative reviews about their company due to individual experience. Notwithstanding all of this reviews, there are several companies that are known to provide reliable and good services while some others are the direct opposite.

Best car rental companies in USA

  • National car rental –This Company is known to provide awesome service and good value for customer’s money. Their checkout and return process is one of the easiest in US.
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car
  • Hertz

Worst car companies in USA

  • Advantage Rent-a-Car –this company has low prices but have been noticed to have lots of unforeseen charges beyond this low prices.
  • Payless car rental –This company have successfully piled lots of negative reviews in the past years and has high customer dissatisfaction.
  • Budget Rent-a-Car

Renting a Car in USA: Manual vs Automatic

The choice of renting a manual or automatic car is a result of individual preference combined with location and the cost. The United States is a right-hand drive company. The US is crowded with automatic transmission cars so if you are a fan of automatic then welcome home as most of the rental companies offer more of automatic cars.

Driving in US is much easier with an automatic transmission. US car rental companies offer only automatic transmission basically. If you are one for manual cars, you might not like the idea too much but you can be sure to have a good time with the automatic car rental.

Is a credit card compulsory when renting cars in USA?

To rent a car in the United States, you will need to use a credit card. Most rental companies require the use of a credit card before you can rent a car and without this, you most likely may not be allowed the opportunity to rent a car. Very few companies will ask for a monetary deposit. The credit card is required so that the money for insurance can be kept on hold in case of any damages –this fee is always released later on if the car is returned as demanded.

A lot of hassles are attached when renting a car without a credit card so it is advised that you try to use a credit card to make payments when renting a car In US.

What is Max and Min Age to Rent a Car in USA?

Unlike any other country, the United States has a very strict rule on the age limits permitted to drive and rent cars and this has to be strictly adhered to by visitors or tourists. In order to rent a car you must have gotten to the age of 21 and also have had a license for up to a year. Nevertheless, some companies in the US rent cars to 18-year-olds in certain cities.

If you are below 25 and want to rent a car, you can be sure to be charged a “young driver surcharge’ –once you pay the fee then you’re good to go. Women are charged a lesser amount for this as they are believed to be less prone to accidents. The average surcharge fee is between $25 – $40.

If you are over the age of 70 you may also have to face the surcharge fee. There is no pronounced max age for renting a car in US.

What is the average cost of renting a car in USA?

The average cost to rent a car per week in USA goes between $150 to an estimated $325. There a lot of additional expenses that might come along so if yours exceeds this try to check out what the extra charges are. If you are paying for the young driver surcharge then you are sure the additional fee for just a week may amount to almost $200.

Always look out for a reputable company that has good prices as most of these other companies that have extremely low prices end up taking off a big chunk of money through hidden charges.

Cost of renting a car for a week during spring, summer, autumn and winter are $190, $315, $230, and $160 respectively.

A gallon on fuel in the US goes for $3.30. The cost also is greatly dependent on the city   you are visiting. Cities like Memphis, New York, Baltimore and New Orleans are the most expensive and cost about $63 – $75 a day while cities like Las Vegas, San Diego, Orlando, and Tampa are low cost rental cities and would cost an average of $25 to $28 each day.

Driving tips when renting a Car as a tourist in USA.

There are several laws governing drivers in the United States and some are written below.

  • Try to drive on the extreme right lane if you are driving slowly
  • Don’t honk your horn when it is not necessary –do that only to notify a driver or a pedestrian crossing.
  • Do not exceed the blood alcohol level of 0.08 if you want to take alcohol.
  • In residential areas, keep a speed limit of 25-35mph and on highways you can drive at 55mph.

What you need to rent a car in USA as a foreigner

Toll gates and other information

Tolls are a common thing on the roads of US and are unavoidable on certain roads. States like New York, Virginia, New Jersey and many other states have roads with tolls while some other states like Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arizona and Montana do not charge any tolls.

The common toll payment is through the E-ZPass and dominates the north eastern parts of US. Some other states use online payment so you might want to check out toll details in US for your preferred state payment method –you might need to set up an account online and pay after the road usage with the details of your registered plate number.

If you don’t pay through all of these means then you might be billed through the rental company.

What NOT to DO When Returning a Rental Car in USA

Always make sure you return the car with same fuel as it was when you rented it. When you rent a car, look out for scuffs, scratches, loose parts or anything else that seems off –if the car is returned with scratch you will be billed really high. Do not use the car roughly.

Tips to avoid car rental companies RIF-OFFS

*If you are traveling with a child then you should bring a child seat along as the car rental companies charge extremely high for this

If you are booking online, properly check the full rental coverage in order to not be taken unawares.

Ignore offers for upgrades

When you have gotten the car –carry out very good inspection before you leave the company.

Avoid crossing international borders as it might negate your car rental contract and insurance.

Important Contact Numbers

Police – 911

Non-emergency -311

Poison control center –1-800-222-1222

Fire service – 911

Ambulance service – 911

Useful Links

United States Capitol Police

 International Law Commission 

International Criminal Court

Conclusion.

United States is a perfect vacation spot and nothing beats the comfort of cruising the city and visiting all your favorite vacation spots with a rental car. Now you don’t have to worry anymore as this informative piece is sure to ensure you have a spoil time and evade any form of problems that comes along with car rentals in USA.