parked vehicles

Renting A Car

Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure, renting a car is often part of booking your trip. But two factors are combining to make this a difficult year for travelers who need vehicles.

There’s been widespread reporting in the media about a shortage of rental cars across the country. When most travel stopped because of the pandemic, demand dropped dramatically and rental companies sold off a good portion of their fleet — hundreds of thousands of cars in all.

Now that travel is rebounding and demand is soaring, rental car companies are having trouble rebuilding their supply. A global shortage of computer chips, which control a vehicle’s critical systems, has slowed down the production of new cars, affecting almost every auto manufacturer.

So how should you incorporate the tight supply of rental cars into your plans for a trip this summer and beyond?

First, it’s crucial to book your rental car as far in advance of your trip as possible. For corporate travelers, that means at least 14 days. Vacation travelers should book 30 days in advance, at a minimum.

You’re likely to experience some sticker shock, too. With the limited supply, travelers can expect to pay anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent above normal rental-car rates, and even higher in some markets.

Another thing to think about is whether you need a car at your destination. Can you use public transportation or taxis, or take advantage of ridesharing apps to get around? If possible, you may want to consider a vacation spot where you won’t miss a car. And there are lots of possibilities. That can mean a city where you walk or take a subway or bus. With many people still working from home, you may find public transportation less crowded than you expect. An all-inclusive resort, where everything you need is located on the property, is another good option. If you do want to take a day trip, see whether tour operators will pick you up at your hotel.

Availability of rental cars can differ depending on the market, as well as from week to week. So another option is to look for less popular or more out-of-the way destinations for your trip, places where the demand isn’t as great. Or, if you’re flexible, you can plan the dates of your trip around availability of a car.

If you’re flying, you may have better luck finding a vehicle at a branch located some distance from the airport. Even if you have to take a long taxi ride to the rental agency, it may be worth the effort.

The process of planning a trip and finding the best rates can be overwhelming. When it comes to booking your trip, JetSetGO travel advisors are experts who can save you time and effort by doing all the searching and planning for you, and helping you get the best value.

For help navigating any travel plans, contact your travel advisor or connect with one through JetSetGO.