Cars

How to be a better traveler

Some of our customers travel only every once and a while – while some are seasoned road warriors. We’ve talked to a lot of our customers over the years, particularly our frequent flyers – and have put together a compilation of tips we think can make you a better traveler; or some more specifically – someone who will get a lot more out of their vacations.

Let’s jump right in!

Get up early and avoid those big crowds

The point of travel should be to enjoy the places you go – not the rabble you have to wade through in order to get there. Getting up early has it’s advantages. During the journey – you’ll pay less for flights and experience less stress. While you’re at your destination you’ll beat the crowds and be able to enjoy your time at a particular place. Like they say – the early bird gets the worm!

Slow down

One thing rookie travelers – especially those who go abroad – make the mistake of doing is trying to cram too much into one trip. Ask your seasoned traveler about their best experiences and almost NONE of them will answer ‘the first few days I got somewhere.’ Most often than not, good stuff happens when you take your time to explore. You’ll learn about activities that aren’t in the vacation guide and meet memorable people who are all too eager to how you around. Spend more time and fewer places and we promise – you’ll get the most out of them.

Book cheap in the air/meet the price on the ground

Flying is often the most expensive part of any trip and you can really blow your budget just trying to get to a place. Don’t. There are literally dozens of ways to find cheaper flights and with a little practice and research, you too can become a pro.

When on the ground though – or at least traveling on the ground – get a car rental that’s comfortable to drive, accessible and easy to use in your destination as well as something that can carry all the things that need carrying. That’s to say – it might cost you a little more, but you’re going to appreciate having something you can use to get around.

Bring back-up everything

If you’re bringing a debit card, bring a credit card for back up. And another card for back up to that. Backup the files in your phone and make sure you make copies of your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, and important phone numbers in the event of an emergency. Anything that could go wrong can and sometimes even does go wrong. Be prepared so if that something doesn’t go to plan that it doesn’t completely derail your experience.

Get lost

The best stuff is always off the beaten path. The most authentic experiences, the best memories – they’re almost always where no one is looking. See the big stuff, but don’t rule out the small stuff.

It’s an exciting world out there- don’t be afraid to go see it! Explore some of it now, rather than later.

 

Staying alert while driving

One of the most dangerous things a person can do is drive tired on the road. Not only could you get yourself hurt and damage your car – you could also seriously hurt someone else. Let’s be crystal clear, here – if you’re tired then don’t drive because driving long distances and trying to maintain a level of alertness can be really risky.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to make sure you stay alert and don’t get to that dangerous, drowsy point while driving. Let’s jump right in!

Be sure to plan

Seems a little obvious, but making sure you’re well rested is an important part of any big trip. Make sure you have time allotted for breaks in your itinerary and avoid driving between midnight and early morning. Try to stay away from meals that might make you sleepy and most certainly stay away from alcoholic beverages.

Don’t ignore the signs

It’s easy to become fixated on getting to your destination and ignore your sleepy signs. If you find yourself distracted, yawning or having difficulty focusing on the road – then you should pull over and take a much needed breather. Always remember – arriving better is always better than not arriving because you were in an accident.

Keep the window open

Fresh air naturally makes us both more alert and awake. Especially in the winter where a car’s heater can settle in and give us that comfortable, sleeping heat; cracking your window and letting the breeze blow in your face and allowing yourself some fresh air can be just the pick me up you need.

Listen to the radio

Make sure you’ve got some sort of background noise or something to focus on while you’re driving that will keep you awake. Some people like audiobooks, some like podcasts other like their own mixes. Whatever does it for you is what you should use.

Drive with someone else

Especially if you’re going on a long trip – be sure to bring someone along. They’ll help keep up a conversation, keep you laughing and will also serve as someone who you can potentially trade seats with and take breaks with here and there.

 

It’s important to remember though – that the above are only temporary solutions. If you’re feeling drowsy or feel like you might be experiencing fatigue – then it’s time to take a break and do the responsible thing. Your option is basically one thing: stop driving and don’t start again until you’re fully refreshed and ready to go.

 

 

The best ‘bliesure’ destinations

Traveling for both business and pleasure is becoming more of the norm these days – or at least people are doing it more openly. Work hard, play hard is becoming an important mantra not just for individuals – but for businesses too, as they see the value in their employees having a little stress-free time to take in the world around them.

We have all sorts of awful names for everything these days, so business and leisure time is now referred to as ‘bleisure’ and we’re not sure how we feel about that, but don’t blame us, we’re just the messenger! Whatever people want to call it though, it’s a good thing and car rental companies like ours all over the country benefit from people not looking at certain travel occasions with as narrow a focus as they have in the past.

More relevant today is that there are plenty of sites out there right now that people prefer for ‘bleisure’ more than others. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today. Here are some of the most popular destinations for people who like to work hard – and play hard, too!

Let’s jump right in!

San Diego/Julian, California

It should go without saying that we talk to a ton of travelers and it’s hard to find anyone who has anything bad to say about San Diego. The weather is nice, the food is off the charts, it’s not nearly as expensive as Los Angeles and there’s a lot of hidden, amazing things you can do there that aren’t tourist traps.

One of those places is the small mountain town of Julian which is about 60 miles north of the city. Hop into your car for an hour and go to a town that literally looks and feels like a California time warp. Hiking there offers some wild views and Julian Pie Company has the best apple pie you’ll ever eat.

Seattle, Washington

Known for its tech and aerospace prowess, Seattle is one of the country’s hottest places for young people to do business in. Part of the reason for that is the serene look and feel of the city and its amenities. Whether it’s a lunch meeting at Pike Place Market or a night out to talk big deals in the Belltown neighborhood – Seattle has something for you regardless of how you like to do business.

And for a treat, chug up to Bellingham if you have a free day. It’s about an hour and a half north – but trust us – it’s worth it. It’s the perfect town to escape the city for a day. You can take a cruise and Village Books is one of the most iconic small town bookstores in America.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has experienced explosive growth in recent years and of course – a big boost in notoriety thanks to lot of success in sports. From bio tech to its steadfast entrepreneurial culture, there’s a lot being made, invented and discussed in Boston. Its academic strength makes it a frequent home for conventions and other big work gatherings – so don’t be surprised to see yourself there soon.
As for what there is to do, it’s hard to find something NOT to do. Boston is the cradle of America’s revolution and all sorts of sites from the Boston Massacre, to Boston Harbor and the old North Church are there and super cheap to see. Boston’s also home to one of the best sports culture in the US – so a game at Fenway, Gillette Stadium or TD Garden should be on your list – or even a college hockey game at one of a half dozen historical old arenas in the city.

And if you’re feeling adventurous – there’s the coastal town of Portsmouth, NH which looks like it was teleported from 1800 or even other historical alcoves like Salem, MA or Plymouth. All of which are within an hour’s drive of Boston-proper. And we also hope you brought your drinking shoes – because Massachusetts is the craft beer capital of the world!

Denver, Colorado

Denver is so beautiful that it’s painful. If your boss tells you you’re going there, you should be really happy. Food, cocktails, BBQ (!!) and business. There’s a laid back undertone to this rocky mountain hotspot as well – that you simply don’t get in more coastal destinations.

And in terms of getting away – there’s probably isn’t a better place. There’s Colorado Springs 70 miles to the south, or for the adventurous – the Red Rocks concert site. Then there’s the Garden of the Gods which is so breathtaking that we’re just going to leave it at ‘you need to see it.’ Because you do.

 

America is an incredible country with so much to offer and do. But if you’re a professional looking to mix a little play in with your work –you can’t go wrong with any of these destinations. Good luck and enjoy your trip!

 

Tips for traveling with kids

For many of us, hitting the road with kids can seem like a massive ordeal but the facts don’t lie – families are traveling as much as they ever have. In fact, according to AAA, 70% of traveling families will be looking for new places to see in 2019 and one in four will be taking three or more vacations.

That’s a lot of families and kids on the road – and most important – a lot of kids in new surroundings. For some parents- the thought of that is stressful and they’re not wrong. Kids can be a lot. But they don’t have to be.

Today, here are a few tips to help you survive the next vacation with your kids.

Let’s jump right in!

Let your kids be kids

Kids look forward to vacation as much – or if not more so – than you do, although their priority list is sure to be much different from yours. Some will want to play, hang out with friends, sack out and watch movies and the like. But just because kids have a lot they’re planning on doing doesn’t mean you hand your whole vacation over to them. Be sure to find a balance between having some structured travel plans – while allowing the freedom for kids to do their thing and feel like they’re part of everything.

Keep them fed. Keep them rested

Being well fed and well rested is a priority for most of us parents. But those usual daily routines we’re used to tend to go right out the window when we’re on vacation. The change in pace can sometimes lead to some contentious moments as well. The biggest key is to prepare them for what’s coming. For example when your plane land, let them know that you’ll be waiting in line for a car rental.

Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand and make sure there’s plenty of downtime for kids to recharge those batteries. Vacations are a blast – but they can be exhausting for kids. Make sure they’re ready to go!

Plan two or three things a day

Being spontaneous is just part of traveling, but having activities scheduled keeps people moving and avoids too much unfocused downtime. Still, this way you’ll get to do the things you want to, the kids will get to do what they want to – and everyone goes about their day with a sense of purpose. Sometimes, even involving them in prioritizing the activities can give them something to look forward to and a sense of ownership over the trip.

Anxiety Is Normal

Anxiety is on the rise everywhere so pretending it won’t interfere with your prized vacation is like thinking flies won’t invite themselves to your next picnic. Everyone is a new place, you’ll be dealing with lines, crowds, unexpected expenses and a whole gammit of other things. Just plan for it. Bring distractions like mad libs, books, and other ‘cognitive’ distractions for everyone to take advantage of. Especially when moving about, it’ll take the edge off.

 

Good luck on your next family trip!

 

Car Rental Break-ins

No one goes out looking for their rental car to get broken into, but sometimes bad luck has a way of just finding you.

Other times, it just takes a little more awareness of where you’re at – like in a city with a car break in problem. Heck, it might not be a dangerous city, but for example in San Francisco about five years ago, car break ins skyrocketed. Who knows why that happened, but it did.

The good news is that car break ins are becoming more and more infrequent with city-owed garages, cameras, fencing and routine police surveillance all playing an important role in helping to ebb the effects of crime.

That being said – it’s still important to make sure to not only know what to do to minimize the risk of your rental car getting broken into – but that you also know what to do in the event the worst case scenario does occur and you have to deal with a car break in.

What are some precautions I can take?

Your rental car isn’t any different than your regular car and it’s important that you treat it as such. Don’t park your car in poorly lit areas. Don’t leave the car unattended for long periods of time. Keep your doors locked, roll up your windows and make sure that you don’t leave valuables laying about in your car. Do that – and you’ll be fine.

What do I do if someone breaks into my car?

The first thing you’re going to want to do is document the damage. If you come upon your car and the window is broken or find the lock’s been picked, don’t touch the car. Instead, take in the details of the break in from the outside of the car. Take photos of the places where there’s damage or a place where something’s been taken from. Write these things down and if you don’t have a pen and paper, simply use your phone’s notepad feature. The more specific you are, the better.

The second thing you need to do is file a police report. Yes, our car got broken into, but chances are it’s your stuff that got stolen. File a report as soon as possible. This is important because they can also document the damage, back up your story and begin an investigation if warranted.

Finally, it’s time to call your rental company. It’s really important however, that you file your police report first. When you call, we’ll ask for the case number so we can take care of everything we need to take care of on our own end. From there, you’ll want to take care of your insurance needs as well. If you purchased LDW insurance from our company, you’re covered on the damage. If you’re using your own insurance, you need to let your company know.

Experiencing a break in is never fun, but like we said at the beginning- it’s a lot less stressful when you know what you need to do. Follow those tips, stay safe and enjoy your time on the road!

 

Common car rental pitfalls to avoid

We like to make sure our customers get value here and as such, we’ll give you advise on what NOT to do as much as we’ll share out what you should do. This month’s blog is dipping a bit more into the negative again and sharing out the five things you absolutely DO NOT want to do when you rent a car.

 

Not refueling your car on the way back

When you’re driving off the lot immediately after renting your car, be sure to scope out the local gas stations and plan on stopping there on your way to returning your car. Neighborhoods in and around airports can be a bit cumbersome and not the best places to explore on your way to catching a flight. Do your work in advance so you’re not pressed for time. And that way – you’ll return the car with a full tank and not get whacked with unnecessary fees.

Ignoring offers for upgrades

Here’s a pro-tip. Companies like ours have a lot of leeway in terms of what upgrade options we can offer. Smart car renting means reserving the right sized car for your trip – but then when you get here – simply come to the desk and ask about upgrades. Depending on price, you might find yourself in a bigger, more comfortable car for only a little bit extra!

Not checking reward programs

Memberships to things like AAA, AARP and the like can give you a lot of perks and one of those often times includes a car rental discount! We as a business join those organizations for a reason because we want the customers! Don’t be afraid to ask us if we offer a discount for your membership club – because for us it could mean the difference between getting and not getting your business!

Crossing international borders

We’re 100% sure you’re probably laughing at this right now, but you’d be surprised. Rental agreements in the US usually don’t allow you to drive across international borders. Your insurance won’t cover you there, ours won’t cover our car there – all in all, it’s a disaster for everyone. And it could cost you a boatload of money. Don’t do it.

Not inspecting your car before dropping it off

You’d be amazed at how many people don’t check their car thoroughly before they leave and right before they return their cars. This is really important because if there’s any damage, you’ll get billed for it. And if there’s something we missed – we certainly don’t want to rent you a car that has something wrong with it! So be sure to check your car for any dents, scrapes, damage and the like. It’s worth it in the end.

 

Do you have any other suggestions? Did anything above work well for you or backfire for any reason? Let us know in the comments.

 

Full size or standard? Which rental car is best for you?

Whenever anyone travels, they’re faced with a whole slew of decisions to make. Not only are they deciding where they want to go, but they’re also trying to figure out where they’ll eat, where they’ll stay, which flight to take, whether to fly or drive and more. One of the decisions you’ll have to make is what kind of rental car you’ll want to use.

 

Usually – this boils down to a choice between two types of cars: Standard rental cars and full-sized rental cars. Now bear in mind, some companies have other classifications – mid-sized, compact, etc. – so these aren’t ‘standard’ so to speak. But at the end of the day, branding, make, model and all – you’re going to have to decide whether you want a bigger car or a smaller car.

Standard rental cars

 Also known as Mid-size or intermediate, standard rental cars usually fit about 4-5 people comfortably with some additional space for luggage. They get outstanding gas mileage and are easy for just about any traveler to handle.

Full size rental cars 

Full size rental cars are typically bigger and more spacious. Although most commonly associated with them – Full-size does not always mean ‘SUV’. They’re more correctly defined as larger, four door passenger vehicles that seat up to five passengers with plenty of space for luggage. There’s more leg room and space, making them the perfect choice for long trips with other people.

They tend to run you a little more money – as it costs more to fuel them and they typically only get around 23-30 miles per gallon. It really comes down to whether you want comfort or care more about your budget.

What should I go with? 

At the end of the day, what matters most is your trip and the purpose behind it. If it’s to take your time, relax and have fun, then plunking the $25 or so extra for the bigger, more comfortable car is worth it. Or – if you know you’ll be driving around a lot.

A smaller car is probably a better idea if you’re not going to be driving much and simply want something to get you from A to B. It’s probably better for you in an urban environment, too – as it’s smaller size will be able to help you navigate the sometimes tricky contours of your average city.

By contrast, the full-size car is probably a better bet if you’re heading into the countryside or going camping. It’ll be better able to handle the rougher conditions, go more places and give you that little bit extra comfort.

In the end, it’s all your call. It’s your trip, so make the best choice for you! Safe travels!

 

History of the Rental Car Industry

The earliest known example of cars being offered for rent dates to 1904.The German company “Sixt” was established in 1912 with three cars for rent. Read more…