Friday, February 27, 2009

Road Trip Cost Cutting Tips

Rental car rates can vary much even at locations in the same geographic area. You can save money by shopping around.

A recent example. I am planning a trip to visit Little Rock, Tuscaloosa, and parts between and around. It does not matter where I fly into. In fact, I redeemed a frequent flyer award (more below). Since I am using a frequent flyer award and visiting several areas, I have the flexibility to fly into any area airport. I researched flights and rental car rates at most locations between Tulsa, Memphis, Huntsville, Mobile, and Houston.

Checking around, rental car rates were relatively expensive from Little Rock, Memphis, Birmingham, and others; mostly in the $250 to $300 a week range. One location was much less expensive than the others. Drum roll.... It was Shreveport, about $150 with Hertz. So, I booked my frequent flyer flight to Shreveport which would have cost $536.

I considered driving instead of flying. It would have been about 2,000 miles just getting there and back, plus another 1,000 miles in the area. I used Cost2Drive to calculate fuel usage and carbon output. That certainly helped me decide to fly, although I put the true cost of driving my own vehicle at about 50 cents per mile including wear and tear, etc. I also realized that about three days would have been burned driving there and back, leaving me less time to research and explore.

© 2009, Charles McCool

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