Is Car Rental Cheaper At Airports? (We Checked)

Renting cars has been a common phenomenon for travelers and tourists for multiple decades now. And rental car companies have been up to the task of supplying vehicles to renters.

To make things a lot more convenient, many rental cars are situated close to airports. So, if you just touched down, all you’d have to do is check into a rental company and rent or pick up a car you’ve reserved.

Now, while this makes things convenient, the question is, does it come cheap? In this article, we’ll provide accurate answers to this question while paying attention to all the nuances.

Here’s the Short Answer to Whether It Is Cheaper to Rent Cars at Airports:

Renting a car from the airport will cost you a lot more than renting them from companies at off-airport places. This is due in part to airport taxes as well as other fees associated with airport rentals. However, there are exceptions where renting cars at the airport could be significantly cheaper.

How Do Airport Car Rental Prices Compare to Regular Stores?

As of December 2021, Kayak says the average car rental price is $81 daily, up from about $46 in 2019.

From our research, we found that if you are renting at an airport, you may have to pay as much as $45 as airport concession recovery free and as much as $85 in taxes. These are estimated base costs for five-day rentals according to TIME.

Basically, renting from an airport could set you back a lot of bucks. So if you are looking for something really cheap, an off-airport location is your best shot.

Is It Cheaper To Rent Cars IN Airport Or Online?

There is no straight answer to whether or not it is cheaper to rent a car at an airport or online. That’s because the prices depend on several factors, including price changes between seasons. The general answer, however, is that renting a car from airports is a lot more expensive.

Also, renting online allows you to compare prices and even take advantage of discounts or get notified of them. It affords you the chance to pre-plan, and it could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Online booking also affords you the chance of immediately canceling, whether for free or at small cost. This lets you switch expeditiously to the next best deal.

Here’s what Ted Rossman from Credit Cards had to say per NBC: “Renting a car at the airport is definitely more expensive in many cases as a lot of cities had added surcharges…….it is rooted in a revenue grab for them, and it’s easy to pass along as a tourism tax that we often see [in other ways] at airports.

Related: Are Car Rental Prices Going Up Or Down? (Checked & Explained)

Are Car Rental Deals From Airline Emails Worth It?

Airlines often send emails to their customers about a potential chance to jump on a combined car rental and flight deal. While these deals aren’t necessarily cheaper, these airlines often offer discounts to lure customers into taking the deal.

So when you consider these discounts, it might be a great idea to just take the deal.

There is also the convenience booking your flight and renting a car together affords you. You have all of your data in the same place, so once you touch down, all you have to do is go straight to the counter and pick up the car. That saves you the time and stress of looking for shuttles.

However, it isn’t all rosy. Taking that deal might mean you have to ditch your favorite rental company and maybe miss out on their loyalty packages. So, you have to count the cost. The deal may also restrict your choice of car to keep it within a reasonable price point.

If you are on a budget, we strongly advise that you slow your roll before jumping on such deals. Take a step back and do a meticulous calculation, so you don’t end up spending way more than you budgeted.

Related: Can You Negotiate With Car Rental Companies? (Solved)

Why Are Car Rentals More Expensive At Airports?

Renting a car at airports costs about 20% more than car rental prices from regular, off-airport companies. One reason for this is the exorbitant cost of taxes and real estate that car rental companies have to deal with.

Also, for travelers without bookings, airport car rental companies often capitalize on their situation for hefty profits. They charge a lot higher for the extra time and energy they have to put into whipping up a deal fast enough for the customers. This is especially true in cases where their fleets are almost fully booked.

In addition, there has been an extreme shortage of cars for rentals across the board due to supply chain issues. This means a spike in demand and a significant reduction in supply. Hence, airport rentals take advantage of this to raise their prices, knowing fully well that, in these times, customers almost do not have a choice.

Related: 8 Tips To Avoid Airport Car Rental Fee (Checked & Solved)

Is It Recommended to Rent a Car Before You Land at the Airport?

Most experts recommend renting a car online way before landing at the airport, especially if you are looking to save money and time.

Most rental companies often prioritize pre-booked rental cars at the counter, which saves a lot of time. Also, renting online before landing lets you take advantage of any discount or deal as opposed to booking at the rental company and getting slammed with whatever price they name.

In the same vein, booking a car before landing affords you the gratuitous opportunity of comparing prices and getting better deals. It’s almost impossible to do this over the counter because how many counter talks and negotiations can a jetlagged person who just got off a plane handle?

Point is, it’s always better to rent your preferred car before landing at the airport. It will save you not just money but also time and a great deal of energy better spent on other stuff.

Meanwhile, these are things to remember, especially if you’d be leaving your Tesla at an airport.

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