Before the pandemic, renting a car was par for the course for many business travelers and family vacations. Prices were low, or at least reasonable, and that made renting a car such a convenience. But now the car rental shortage is creating all kinds of problems for travelers of all sorts, and it looks like it may continue.
“So, the current situation is pretty unprecedented,” said Jonathan Weinberg, founder, and CEO of the website autoslash.com told ABC7 Los Angeles. “The rental car companies basically went into survival mode. Their business was down about 90% and they had to sell off as many cars as they could.”
As a result, car rental agencies are short by thousands of cars, even as business travelers and vacationers are returning to the road and renting a car to get to their destination.
The shortage seems to be having a bigger effect on high-traffic tourist destinations, such as Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and Hawaii. People have been wanting to book rental cars in these locations, but there is not enough supply for the demand.
The effect this car rental shortage is having is that rental costs have gone up for most rental companies. Cars that would normally cost $99 could be as much as $150 per day. And jumps of this size are enough to make travelers rethink their trip, or greatly reduce their itinerary and its costs just to have a getaway.
In other instances, travelers are showing up to the rental desks only to be told that there are no cars, even after making the reservation online and confirming with the agency that you will have a car waiting for you.
The inconvenience of this surprise may present a number of problems for travelers. For business travelers, transportation needs to be within budget but their time needs to be intact as well. Not being able to obtain a vehicle within reason will put a wedge in their itinerary if their situation is not remedied. This may lead to rescheduling and canceling that might not be easy.
For other travelers, the high costs of the vehicles can cut into the travel budget, which can drastically change your plans. Planning a trip can be a headache in itself and renting a car outside of the budget can really put a dampener on the trip.
How to work around the car rental shortage
Luckily, a regular car agency is not your only option. You can also use Turo, the car-sharing app and website. Think of it as Airbnb for cars.
At Turo, you can book all kinds of cars that fit the travel style you want on your trip. From classics to exotic vehicles, you can book cars for certain days and/or windows of times. The prices are comparable to what rentals costs prior to the pandemic and with cleaning protocols in place, Turo assures you to help you book a safe, clean vehicle.
Ridesharing is also a viable travel option. While the car rental industry may have slowed, Uber and Lyft are still deploying their drivers with safety in mind. Uber even has a plan called Ride Pass, where you can set a standard day rate and that can help you plan your travel budget in advance.
Public transportation is another option, although it may not always be the best, depending on where you’re going. Be sure to check out the public transportation options so you can see how reliable and convenient they are.
How are you working around the car rental shortage? Have you had to adjust your plans? Or have you decided not to travel because of it? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Flok85 (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)