Rental Car Alternatives That’ll Spice up Your Vacation

Car rentals at the airport are a drag, and now more than ever it’s ludicrously expensive. Sure, there’s an element of convenience getting a car right from the airport so you don’t have to sit in Ubers or taxis. But there are other alternatives that make trips far more interesting and, in some cases, can save you money. Or you can spend a little more to rent a car you’ll never forget.

2021 Toyota Camry Listed On Turo
2021 Toyota Camry Listed On Turo | Turo

Turo is revolutionizing rental cars

Turo is revolutionizing how cars are rented, with options far cheaper than any airport can compete with. I did a quick search at my local airport, and it’d cost me $26 a day to rent a brand new 2021 Toyota Camry for a three-day trip. Compared to Enterprise, the economy option is a Mitsubishi Mirage (or similar) starting at $41 a day. That feels like a no-brainer to me.

But Turo is special because these rental cars are owned by people, not companies or dealerships. They list their car on Turo and let other people drive it around to make some money on the side. And if you have a spare car lying around, you can make some money too! A full list of requirements can be found on Turo’s website, but you’ll need a car that was made 12 years ago or sooner. Sorry, your 20-year-old Honda Civic won’t cut it, unless you’re looking for a classic car.

RELATED: You Can Rent Out Your Car Using Turo

Rental classic cars are available via Hagerty

1957 Porsche 356 Speedster Listed On Hagerty
1957 Porsche 356 Speedster Listed On Hagerty | Hagerty

While you’re able to rent classic cars off Turo as well, I’d recommend going with Hagerty’s Driveshare program. Not only are you working with a company that insures classic cars, but there’s a lot more variety.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience that dream of driving a classic, but don’t like the commitment of ownership, this is your chance. The cheapest option I found is a 1975 Datsun 510 for just $75 a day. But the listings in my area go all the way up to a 1957 Porsche Speedster (Jerry Seinfeld owns one of these), listed at a humble $1,345 a day (yes, that was sarcasm). There are plenty of options in between that’ll fit your price range, and get your hands on a piece of history.

There are, however, some caveats. A lot of the listings on Hagerty’s Driveshare programs aren’t actually drivable. There are event listings, where the car will show up for photos, and chauffeured listings as well, which takes the stress out of driving. The listings where you get the keys tend to be more expensive, but you’ll want to make sure you’re reserving a car you can drive before you get to the airport.

Rent an RV via Outdoorsy

RV Staged for Outdoorsy Listing
RV Staged for Outdoorsy Listing | Outdoorsy

Picture this: you get to the airport and unload, find a free campsite, or even a Walmart parking lot you can spend a couple of nights, and drive an RV. It’ll certainly save on hotel fairs for wherever you’re going, and while you’d need a taxi to get to and from the vehicle, it’d make for some great memories.

Using Outdoorsy, you can find simple teardrop campers that strap onto the back of your truck or SUV. However, if you’re flying in from out of state, you’ll need a complete camping rig. In my area, the cheapest motorized RV can be had for $75 a night. It seats two and sleeps two, and has all the amenities you’d expect in an RV. Unfortunately, it’s almost 2 hours from the airport I’m using as a reference, which makes this option complicated.

On top of that, you need to have the proper license. You can’t just hop into a bus-sized RV and get going, unfortunately. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have a regular C-Class license. That means you can drive certain RVs, but not every RV. Do your research to make sure you can legally drive whatever vehicle you’re choosing to rent.

Oh, and speaking of “legally driving” most of these options require you to be 21 years old, with Hagerty’s Driveshare option being the exception. That requires you to be 25 years old. It’s a problem I, as a younger individual, face every time I travel alone, and there’s one decent workaround: rent a U-Haul.

RELATED: RVs vs. Hotels: Which Is Better for Your Wallet?

If you’re under 21 (and desperate), rent a U-Haul

U-Haul Logo On Truck
U-Haul Logo On Truck | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

If you’re 18 years or older, you can rent a simple U-Haul pickup truck. It seats 2 people, costs $20 on the day you grab it, and costs less than a dollar per mile. You’d have to get a taxi to get to the nearest U-Haul. But if you’re in a transportation jam, then U-Hauls can get you out.

In fact, due to rental car shortages in Hawaii, many people have used this option. It’s relatively cheap (I’d estimate $120 for an average 3-day trip, about 100 miles altogether), and easy to rent on the U-Haul website. Sure, you can’t have more than one buddy along, and it’s not exactly glamourous, but you’ll have plenty of room for your suitcases.

So whether you just need to rent a car, or are searching for an experience, there are plenty of options available to you. Just make sure you do lots of research and plan ahead, so you don’t end up stuck at the airport.

RELATED: The Charge For This U-Haul Trailer Rental Is $153,000. Plus Tax