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 and being able to make reservations online has made things a lot easier, the most annoying part is the hidden fees that are tacked on when you finally get to the counter.
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.com, a car-share marketplace.
Why is using Turo better than renting a car?
To keep it simple, Turo is basically like Airbnb for cars. Car owners put their car up for “rent” on Turo.com 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 all the grand total amount (which includes a small trip fee from Turo) is totaled up for you. There are extras that 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 do set parameters like how many totals 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 daily drive it. 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 day-to-day, so I turned to Turo.com.
Lo and behold, a beautiful white 2007 Honda S2000 popped up on my screen, 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 as I planned to drive it around for only two days to get a good 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, because 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.
After getting through the reservation process on the website, I traded a few messages with the owner to set up the time and meeting spot. Since he lived near me, I met him at his house and he instructed me to inspect the car and said I could take pictures of its current condition in case anything were to happen. 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. I went down the winding roads to the beach and cut sharply through corners in the canyons. I got stuck in rush-hour traffic and even went to IKEA at one point to see just how practical the tiny trunk was. During the whole time, it almost felt like I owned the car, which was the point, 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 daily drove for over two years.
It’s that 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.