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Let’s face it, renting a car from a traditional rental car agency can be a pain at times. While the invention of phone apps has made things a lot easier, the hidden fees that get tacked on to the rental price are annoying.

Don’t even get me started about being upsold. I know, the rental agency employees are just doing their jobs, but can’t they make things a little less stressful? Luckily, for a less-stressful experience, there’s Turo, a car-share marketplace.

Why is using Turo better than renting a car?

A screenshot of
A screenshot of | Turo/Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

To keep it simple, Turo is basically like Airbnb for cars. Car owners put their cars up for “rent” on Turo, and prospective renters can choose a location, date range, and time in which to rent a car of their choosing. The best part is that since there are hundreds, if not thousands, of owners putting their cars up on Turo, there is a large number of different cars to choose from. Want a Dodge Viper for your wedding in Florida? There’s probably one that you can rent and have waiting for you at the airport upon arrival.

You can access Turo via their website or phone app. After picking the car that you want, just hit the checkout button, and the grand total amount (which includes a small trip fee from Turo) is totaled up for you. Some extras can be thrown in, like insurance or unlimited trip miles, but the nice part is that it’s all laid out for you, and the reservation is easy to make. The owners set parameters — like how many total miles you can drive the car and a cleaning fee. But the best part is the transparency of it.

My personal rental story

I always wanted a Honda S2000, but not to be a garage queen; I actually wanted to drive it daily. During my car shopping process, I test-drove numerous S2000s. But the 10-minute drive at the dealership wasn’t enough to see if I could live with the car daily. So I turned to

Lo and behold, a beautiful white 2007 Honda S2000 popped up on my screen. It was the only one within 100 miles of me. The owner stated that there was a 400-mile limit on the car. However, I wasn’t worried. I planned to drive it around for only two days to get a feel for it.

I selected the date range and made the reservation. I actually did opt for the insurance, even though I had my own. Trashing a rental agency’s car is one thing; trashing someone else’s prized possession is another. After all, they don’t make S2000s anymore.

My rented Honda S2000
My rented Honda S2000 | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

After getting through the reservation process, I traded a few messages with the owner. He lived near me, so I met him at his house. He instructed me to inspect the car, so I could take pictures of its condition in case anything happened. After another signature for the inspection report, I was off in my brand-not-so-new, semi-rented S2000.

I drove the car all over the Bay Area, keeping track of the miles as I went. The athletic S2000 handled well driving down the winding roads to the beach. It also cut sharply through corners in the canyons. At one point, I got stuck in rush-hour traffic, but it wasn’t too bad. To top the experience off, I went to IKEA at one point to see how practical the tiny trunk was. It’s not bad.

During the time I had it, the S2000 almost felt like I owned the car, and it cemented the thought of buying one. A couple of days later, I returned to the owner’s house. He took a few minutes to inspect it, gave me the thumbs-up, and then I was on my way home. A few months later, I bought my own Honda S2000, which I drove daily for over two years.

Renting a car from Turo is easy

Renting a car from Turo is so much easier than renting from a car rental agency that I would even suggest it to my grandmother. Even though she doesn’t drive. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Next time you need to rent a car, give Turo a try; you won’t regret it.