Unlimited mileage!

I live about 400 miles away from my company’s headquarters, so I travel a lot. Usually this means spending odd hours in my uncomfortable car and billing them for mileage. This weekend there was a company function, so it was drive in on Saturday and drive out on Sunday. Would have been 800 miles on my car over a 2 day period, so I decided to rent a car from the Budget down the street.

$88 for a “premium” car rental for 2 days, plus $131.81 for gas. I saved my company over 200 dollars and I got to cruise with my wife in a luxury car. Why am I not doing this all the time!?

Anyone else got stories of stretching the most out of a rental car?

I imagine most people who rent a car at the Orlando airport drive it to Disney and back. My sister and I put 1400 miles on it in a week driving to Key West and back following the coasts, and then to St. Augustine and back.

We used to get free rental cars when our cars were being serviced and they were out of loaners, which was frequently. So I’d walk over to Enterprise and take whatever they had on the loaner agreement list. Usually pretty boring Taurus-y things, but they got me back home to my studio for the day… good enough.

A couple of times, though, they had only unusual vehicles available. Once it was a Ford F-450 with about a thousand cubic inches; they gave it to me with a wince and said, “don’t worry about the gas - just bring it back with something in the tank.” Good thing; it probably sucked up about ten gallons on the jaunt home and back.

Another time the guy tried to upsell me to a luxury car. I said no and he sighed and gave me the only car they had on the lot anyway… I think it was a Cadillac ATS they had special-requested for someone. Ditto for the Mustang convertible. All of them were free rides.

I recently got a Mustang convertible from National. It wasn’t a last-car-on-the-lot thing either. They told me to pick a car from the lane, and they had two Mustangs there. I was charged for the “intermediate car” I had requested.

Questionable ethics ahead warning!!

I rented a car in the Caribbean, got a bent fender, and an employee of the rental place fixed it for $50 that he pocketed.

Many years ago I went for a year without a car. When I needed one for a trip from time to time I worked it out with a woman I knew who worked for a rental place. She would reserve a specific economy car that she knew would be unavailable the day I needed it. I would then be upgraded to a luxury car for no extra charge (their policy).

Well, we rented a minivan once that was loaded (every option you could think of, backup camera, video, plugs for every device anyone in the car might wanna use) and put 2,000 miles on it in 10 days - not quite the same as the OP, but still it was nice :).

And there was the time we reserved a compact car; the agency was out of all cars so they transferred me to another agency, who gave us a huge Cadillac for the same price. As we were attending a wedding, it was nice to arrive “in style” even though we mostly loathed the car (crappy visibility).

To the OP “why not do it more often?” - well there’s the sheer hassle of getting a rental car. Still, sounds like a real win-win situation for you :).

Took a family trip to New Zealand and managed to put about 1600 miles on a Mercedes mini-van in 2 weeks. Unlimited mileage is awesome.

I put a round trip WI to TN on a rental back in my college days. 1500+ miles in one week.

In a different college years rental it was moving day in a college town where all the student apartment leases all end on Aug 14. New leases start Aug 15. I tried to book a cargo van or U-Haul truck but had no luck so I reserved a luxury car figuring I could stuff my belongings in the truck and back seat.

Come time to pick up the vehicle I was told they did not have my reserved class available. I cringed trying to imagine where I could stash my stuff for the night and dreaded having to make multiple round trips in an economy car. I managed to get “downgraded” into a minivan. They let me remove all the back seats and leave them at the rental agency.

One last rental had nothing amazing about the vehicle or mileage, but instead the price. A couple years ago I got a rental for 20 days in Orlando at $6 per day + taxes/fees from Priceline. It was mostly running around town but I added a couple trips to the Space Coast in as well.

Once I got hit as I was starting my vacation and so had to rent a car to complete my vacation. The rental person talked me into upgrading to a Prius since I would more than make the extra charge back in gas saved.

Since then I have tried to rent a Prius for my long driving vacations but they are never available even a month out. Perhaps they have caught on to me.

I’ve been renting SUVs for 3-week road trips the last several years and I’ve had pretty good luck. I use National because they let me go out of state without any mileage penalty. I’ve had a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer and a Buick Enclave, which was my least favorite of the bunch. All of them were practically brand new.

The only real problem I had was the Jeep needed an oil change half-way through the trip. (it “reminded” me with a warning beep/display message every time I started it up, very annoying!) The customer service people said, “Oh, don’t worry about it…or you can get an oil change and we’ll reimburse you.” The problem with that was the Jeep was a brand new model and nobody had the oil filter in stock. In the end I had to take it to the rental office in Salt Lake City for an oil change. I didn’t really appreciate having to modify my travel plans, but it was more or less on the way home.

I rented a car from Alamo at Anaheim for 35 days. $40 a day, unlimited mileage, for a “full size car” (Chev Impala). Did just over 3000 miles in 3 weeks through 4 states, and then every time I started it I would get a warning that it needed an oil change. Took it back and swapped to another car for the other 2 weeks travelling through California. Did nearly 2000 miles in that one. Didn’t have to change plans much at all except for a 15 mile detour to the rental place.

Pretty sure I’ve told this story here before, but…

'Bout a decade ago, a friend wakes me up by knocking on my window. “Pack your bags” he said; “I got a rental car and we’re going on a road trip!”

His truck had been rear-ended a while before, and his insurance car got him a rental while it was being repaired. Don’t remember what kind of car it was; nothing special, but nice and new, well out of our normal price range.

So, I threw some stuff in a duffel and piled in. We took off, heading north out of Dallas Texas, and stopped somewhere in mid-Oklahoma to get a map, and decide where we were going. We settled on San Francisco, since neither of us had ever seen the Pacific Ocean.

Drove out there, crossing the Bridge and driving that little windy road you’re legally obligated to drive down, at least once, while visiting. Found our way to the ocean right near Alcatraz. Got out of the car, walked onto the beach, touched the water, and got right back in the car. “That was fun!” we said.

On the way home, we swung south a bit so as to not drive the same road again. Going through Arizona, I notice that we’ll be fairly close to the Grand Canyon, which I’d never seen, so we decide we’ll stop there. My buddy, who I’ll call “Matt” because his parents do so, decided to take a nap and let me drive. A few hours pass…

And there’s the exit. Turn on my signal, take off cruise control, and there’s a weird THUNK! and the accelerator stops working right. “Matt… wake up dude, we’ve got a problem.”

We manage to sputter to a halt at some little two-bit gas station and call the rental company, who eventually sends out a towtruck for us. The driver also drops us off at a hotel for the night, which was nice.

In the morning we learn a few things:

  1. The car’s transmission had broken down somehow. It was undriveable. We had to leave it there, and get a new car to get home.
  2. The rental agency was not happy about this situation, as there was a clause in the contract that the car was not to leave the state! Oops!
  3. Therefore, Matt’s parents had to drive their own car out a week later, so that one of them could drive the now-fixed rental back to Dallas. They, too, were not happy about the situation!

Moral of the story: San Francisco is actually a pretty nice place to visit.

To sidetrack things, it really is a humongous hassle to rent a car, something that gets lost on the people that suggest everyone should drive small electric cars and then rent a bigger or gasoline vehicle when they haul stuff / drive to Chicago. Even if you’re already at the rental counter because you’re at an airport, you have to listen to the spiel about extra insurance and nicer cars. I only rent once or twice a year but I joined Dollar’s frequent renter program just so I could skip the rental counter and have a car with my name on waiting on the lot.

I can only think of once I’ve rented a car an put less than a thousand miles on, since I like to get around rather than lay out on the beach all week.

Then there’s Jody Arias’ road trip. She told the rental clerk in Redding that she just needed it for driving around town, and wound up taking it to Arizona, then returning it with blood stains and missing the floor mats.

I like National’s Emerald Club. I book online, then just show up and pick any car; the keys are all in them and ready to go.

I think you mean Kool-Aid stains.


Wow, I didn’t know that some companies don’t let you cross state lines. I looked up Budget’s FAQ and it said it depends on the location and you should read the contract carefully. Uh huh. I guess I should ask next time.

renting a car is a big hassle. I don’t think it’s ever taken me less than half an hour to rent one and that’s if there’s no one in front of me in line.

We had to rent a car last summer because our car was totaled while on a family vacation. Luckily it was parked and no one was in it or near it (it was pushed about 15 feet forward.) We ended up in a very, very nice Toyota mini van for the rest of the trip and a couple of weeks after that while we car shopped. I’d say we put more than 1,000 miles on it.

I’ve never had a hassle renting a car; it normally takes about ten minutes from “Hi!” to driving away, although I’ve had more than one frustrating hassle while one clerk and one picky customer tie things up for twice that.

Driver’s license showing I’m over 26, card from a reliable insurance company, gold or platinum credit card… away you go.

Under 26, no or iffy car insurance, no or iffy credit card… yeah, it’s going to take a while.

BTW, I long ago gave up calling anyone but Dollar or Enterprise. One of the two is the lowest rate you will find; the other will be nearly as low or up with the rest of them.

A number of years ago, went out to PGH for a day to catch up with some friends at a Pirates game. Why beat my car up for 600 miles when I can rent a cheapy econo car for peanuts. I’m not a big fan of cruise control as I find it harder to pay attention to driving if I’m only doing some of the driving actions so didn’t care that it didn’t have it. In my car I’ll usually use it only for about 5 minutes per hour, just to give my leg a break. About halfway home I pulled into a rest stop for dinner. I put my leg up on the seat across from me when it just started to twitch uncontrollably. The result of no more muscle tension after 8-9 hrs of keeping my foot on the pedal. Now I always insist on working cruise control.

Before the Expos became the Nationals, we did the Canadian baseball tour; 1500 miles in 3 days. The guy who processed the return thought the ‘out’ mileage was recorded wrong.