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USA car rental

I hope you guys can help us. We are trying to rent a car from Chicago to Indiana from o'hare airport ( one way, same day return) after our vacation. The rates have been a bit shocking, almost 6X more than our rental coming to o'hare! We will appreciate if you could share any ideas with us . Thanks

Posted by
6101 posts

I've been shocked with the domestic prices of late, as well. If you don't rent for a week, the daily rate is high. And lately I seem to always get socked with a drop charge, even when I pick up and return in the same city. In the past, I often did one way rentals without penalty, Like pick up downtown, use the car for a couple days and then drop at an airport.

You can typically reserve at no risk. In fact, often you don't even have to cancel. What I do is reserve the best option I can find, and then continue to check for better prices. Often, prices go down. I even had that happen a couple hours after I had check rates. I also check other locations in a city which doesn't help you much. Did you check for agencies close to, but not on airport property?

Also see if you can get a special rate with any memberships--Cosco, AARP, Sam's, frequent flier, etc.

Posted by
2714 posts

I’m with Jules the rates are highway robbery (pun intended). We fly into Denver often but take the light rail to a local Enterprise and save about 20% compared to airport rates. Also look at stuff that might sound crazy-shuttles, Uber, etc.

Posted by
11368 posts

This happens when using different states for pick up and drop off.

Posted by
2506 posts

I would encourage you to add a loss of use rider to your own car insurance for a short period which will give you coverage if god forbid you have an accident. Loss of use could be costly. You can put the rider on your insurance for however long or short of period of time that you want and it is less expensive than what the rental agency will charge.

Posted by
11516 posts

I would encourage you to add a loss of use rider to your own car insurance

This coverage is not for covering one while driving a rental car.

That coverage is something you add to your policy so that when your car breaks down the insurance company will pay a specified amount for a specified period of time towards a rental car you use while yours is being repaired.
It does not 'insure' the rental car

As for the OP topic, state to state one way rates are usually gruesome. The only time I see 'specials' is when the car rental agencies are moving fleets to/from "snowbird" states

if you could share any ideas with us

Best I can say is 1 or 2 less Lattes per week until the piggy bank can cover the cost.
Good Luck!

Posted by
6101 posts

My son lives in Chicago so I know there is a commuter train that goes to Indiana. You could take the elevated train to downtown and then pick up the commuter train. My guess is, however, that your cost would come close or be more than renting the car.

Posted by
5697 posts

Greyhound ?? (Or whatever takes its place in this millennium ?) Cheap flight from O'Hare ??

Posted by
920 posts

Where are you going in Indiana? The Amtrak Cardinal runs a few days a week. Also, there are some independent regional coach lines that run from O’Hare to Wisconsin so I’m going to guess there are also some that head to Indiana.

Posted by
489 posts

yes where are you going in Indiana? there are more options than a rental car.

Posted by
7906 posts

Use Kayak to check for car rentals.

We normally use Budget.

I have rented a car in Miami and driven one day about 400 miles, cost for the day and the drop about $90.

Posted by
5837 posts

You are a victim of our market place economy. I have used one way rentals in both directions between Medford and the California Bay Area. It is very typical to have one day one way rentals significantly different depending on direction. In my case, rental prices are much higher for cars leaving the Bay Area with either no or minimal one way charges for cars returning to the Bay Area.

Several years ago I had a similar experience of high one way rental quotations for an OAK (Airport) to MFR one way rental. I was also shocked about the price and held off a day or two before deciding the "bite the bullet". When I tried to book the OAK to MFR rental, no cars were available for any price. Strangely, I was able to book a one way rental at the same "outrageous" price from the rental agencies downtown Oakland rental station. (Had to take BART to downtown Oakland).

My guess is that car rental agencies have extra cost of moving cars when too many cars are moved in one direction. In your case, there is a demand for vehicles at the ORD rental station and too many toing to Indiana. You are probably getting a discount to drive the rental to Chicago and are paying a premium for leaving Chicago.

Posted by
3521 posts

I would bet the pickup location going to O'Hare is from a "local" neighborhood location of the rental company.

Right now, Hertz is offering one way rental to my airport from the closest local office to me for $24 all in. The same rental coming back from the airport to the same drop off location on the same day is $189. Why? Because they can.

The local offices often have much lower added taxes and fees compared to the airport locations. Also, many other people have rented one way from the airport and they need to get their cars back. What better way than having you pay them to drive it back rather than them paying their own employee to make the drive.

You could look to see what car rental companies have "local" offices near the airport that you could reach with a quick (hopefully inexpensive) cab ride and then pick up a reasonably priced rental to your destination.

Good luck.

Posted by
381 posts

I live in a small town that is 60 miles away from our regional airport and has no affordable airport transportation options, so what we do when we'll be away for more than a few weeks is to rent a car for one day from the closest city to us to the airport or vice versa.

What we've discovered is that it is always $30 or $40 more to rent from the airport than to the airport.

I believe it has to do with airport taxes. We don't have a drop-off charge with this, though, as the drop city and the airport are considered to be in the same "zone," although they are 30 miles apart.