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Renting a car for a road trip is something that some people do for family trips to see relatives when they want the extra space that a mini-van can offer, but even if it's a group of guys headed out on a guys trip to a neighboring city for a ball game - renting a car can be a great option. For a hassle-free road trip, thoroughly familiarize yourself with the rental company's policies—age limits, additional driver fees, insurance coverage, fuel policies, and mileage restrictions. Choose the right car for your needs considering passengers, luggage, fuel efficiency, terrain, and weather conditions. Understand the diverse insurance policies available and select what suits your trip best. Use fuel-saving strategies like proper route planning and tire inflation. Also, prepare for unexpected costs, like fluctuating gas prices and toll fees. As you explore further into these tips, you'd uncover more insights to support your adventure.

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Why You Should Rent A Car For Your Guys Getaway

Renting a car or SUV for a guys' getaway offers several compelling advantages over using personal vehicles, especially if the journey involves long distances or rough terrain. A rental car can provide more space and comfort, ensuring everyone has enough room to relax and enjoy the ride. It also allows the group to choose a vehicle that's better suited for the trip's requirements—be it a luxury SUV for a stylish ride or a rugged vehicle for outdoor adventures. Additionally, renting can prevent wear and tear on personal vehicles and reduce worries about maintenance or breakdowns during the trip.

Here's a table outlining the advantages of renting a car for a guys' getaway and some tips to ensure a smooth rental experience:


More Space for Gear

Renting a larger vehicle like an SUV ensures there's ample room for all sorts of equipment, whether it's skis, snowboards, or camping gear. This eliminates the need to cram everything into smaller personal cars, making the journey more comfortable and organized.

Better Suited for Terrain

If the road trip involves challenging terrains such as snowy roads or rugged trails, a rental SUV designed for these conditions offers better performance and safety than a typical personal car might.

Enhanced Style and Fun

Renting a car provides the opportunity to choose a model that's not just practical but also stylish and exciting to drive. Whether it’s a luxury SUV with the latest features or a sporty model that turns heads, it can significantly enhance the overall experience.

Less Wear and Tear on Personal Vehicles

Using a rental car protects your own vehicle from the wear and tear associated with long road trips. This is particularly advantageous when dealing with harsh weather conditions or rough terrain, which can lead to costly repairs and maintenance.

Cost Efficiency

Renting one large vehicle can often be more cost-effective than using multiple personal cars, especially when considering fuel costs, tolls, and maintenance. Splitting the rental cost among friends makes it even more affordable, allowing for extra funds to be spent on other trip activities.

By considering these advantages and following the tips, your group can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable travel experience with a rental vehicle.

Understanding Rental Car Policies

Before you hit the road, it's crucial to grasp the rental car policies, which often include age restrictions, additional driver fees, insurance coverage options, fuel policies, and mileage limits.

For me, I have USAA, AAA, and an AMEX credit card so I'm usually covered pretty well when it comes to having "free addons" like being able to save as much as $20 per day because I can add Heather to the account since she is my spouse. These policies vary from one rental company to another though so it's always best to shop around.

Mileage Limits

Fuel Policy

Age Restrictions and Additional Driver Fees

Understanding these policies and planning accordingly can help you avoid unexpected costs and make your car rental experience smoother.

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Choosing the Ideal Vehicle

When planning a road trip, it's crucial to pick the right vehicle, considering the number of passengers and luggage capacity and factors like fuel efficiency, terrain, and weather conditions. Those are the practical considerations but let's be honest here ... your boys trip is about having fun and doing cool stuff in style. So, while I might feel compelled to save a few dollars if I was renting a car for a solo trip - for a group of my best buddies, the metrics are different. That incremental couple hundred dollars between a Nissan Rogue ($942) vs a Ford Explorer AWD ($1,068) vs a BMW X3 ($1,285) [example prices from DTW for a week rental in July] is worth it if you are doing a fun bachelor party road trip and want to be able to roll up to the valet in style.

Other times, you might just want to be practical and that's ok too. But the important thing here is to consider the options and make the right choice for your group of guys!


Car rental insurance is a racket ... pure and simple. It's almost as much of a profit center as them charging $10 per gallon for gas for folks who are too lazy or busy to fill up before returning the vehicle. Nine times out of ten I find that between my credit cards and existing auto insurance company that I have better coverage already paid for than what is offered by the rental agency.  

The HUGE exception to this is when traveling internationally. This is especially true when I take cruise vacation. For example, when I was in Puerto Rico, the rental agency guy talked me into their policy since, essentially, it would cover me 100% in case I got any damage. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to leave the island without resolving the issue. The same is true in other places as well. If you've ever driven in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, or Mexico ... you know how important it is to have good coverage. However, when the risk of not being able to get back on the boat is factored in, that extra charge is more than worth it just to have a little more peace of mind.

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Maximizing Fuel Efficiency

Depending on your road trip route, fuel efficiency may or may not be an important factor. However, I can tell you that it is often an inverse curve compared to comfort and space. A couple years ago I rented an awesome Jeep Grand Cherokee that averaged about 20 mpg on our route from Seattle to San Diego. I didn't mind that since it was fun to drive and handled the mountain roads well. On the other hand, a few months later, I rented a Kia K5 from New York City to San Diego, and we averaged about 34 mpg.

Preparing for Road Trip Unexpected Costs

When planning a guys getaway road trip with a rental car, you need to budget for several unexpected costs that can arise. Here's a list of potential additional expenses to keep in mind:

  1. Equipment Rentals: Items such as GPS units, ski racks, or child seats can incur daily rental fees.
  2. Toll Passes: Some rentals offer toll passes as an optional add-on. This can be a convenience but also an extra daily charge.
  3. Parking Fees: Depending on your destination, parking can add a significant expense, especially in urban areas or at popular tourist attractions.
  4. Traffic Fines and Toll Violations: Any tickets or toll violations incurred during the rental period will be charged to you, often with additional administrative fees.
  5. Late Return Fees: Returning your car later than the agreed-upon time can lead to hefty penalties, sometimes costing more than an extra day’s rental.
  6. Cleaning Fees: If the car requires more than standard cleaning upon return (e.g., if there's excessive dirt, spills, or smoke smell), you may be charged a cleaning fee.
  7. One-Way Rental Fee: This fee compensates the rental company for the cost of returning the vehicle to its original location. Depending on the distance between the pickup and drop-off locations, the charge can range from a modest amount to significantly more. Sometimes, if the rental service is looking to relocate vehicles, this fee might be reduced or waived.

Planning for and discussing these expenses with your travel companions can help ensure that everyone is prepared and can contribute to covering these additional costs if they arise.

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Shop Online To Find The Best Car Rental Options

Finally, don't rent your car by simply walking over to the car rental booth and asking what they have available. I'm shocked, frankly at how different prices can be between different companies and even different brands. For instance, Avis and Budget are the same company - but prices, policies, and vehicle selection different widely. 

To find the best deal, make sure to shop online and look for any discounts and promotions going on. You might also look and compare the prices between different locations in your own city as well. For example, here in Toledo, Ohio it is FAR CHEAPER to rent from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car location in Maumee than it is to rent from the airport. 

Similarly, if you are doing something like a Route 66 road trip, it could be cheaper to return the car in Santa Monica rather than LAX before flying back home. These prices are constantly changing though, so the best bet is to do some shopping online and look for deals through your credit card company, affinity marketing groups like AARP, AAA, USAA, as well as even checking on partner deals where you can redeem your airline or hotel miles for a rental car.

Beyond that, have fun, be safe! Renting a car for a road trip just makes sense.