After a year of being locked indoors during the pandemic, many of us are eager to travel this summer, but the latest product shortage could make this long-awaited getaway a little more expensive.
Disinfectant wipes and toilet paper are finally fully stocked in stores, but the pandemic appears to have affected an unexpected supply chain: rental cars. It’s pretty hit and miss, but not that weird considering the fact that many car rental companies had to sell off some of their inventory when people stopped traveling during the lockdown.
And now that we’re all back on the road, those same companies are scrambling to meet the sudden demand for rental cars. As a result, many travelers find it nearly impossible to get a car for their summer getaway, and those lucky enough to find one pay a pretty penny for it.
According to Kayak, rental car prices are up 83% from this period in 2019 and rental car searches have exploded in some hot spots, such as Lihue, Hawaii, a popular destination that has recently seen an increase. by 512%.
“I don’t think any of us, nine months ago, six months ago, expected such an accelerated return of visitors to Hawaii,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The conundrum of supply and demand leads some travelers to seek other vehicle options. Take Kati Delbert, for example, told TODAY that she recently hired a truck when she couldn’t find a rental car in time for her vacation.
“We saved money by making a U-Haul, even with the gas included,” she said.
It’s a great idea, sure, but if you don’t feel like renting a moving truck on your next vacation, there are still plenty of carpooling services to consider if you can’t score a rental car. . NBC News Investigation and Consumption Correspondent Vicky Nguyen shared some practical options that might help.
Nguyen was thrilled to find many car options available on this service’s website – many with far lower rates than your average rental car – and decided to take the service for a test drive.
Upon pickup, she found that Turo users start their rental experience by taking photos of the car so that there is a record of any scratches or dents that exist. Nguyen was also happy to hear that Turo offers several insurance plans at different prices and deductibles for customers looking for additional coverage.
A disadvantage ? Turo hosts set their own car delivery charges and they can be quite expensive (up to $ 120). You may also need to make a deposit in advance.
This peer-to-peer option lets you rent a car for an hourly rate and works in over 800 cities around the world. Users can book a wide range of vehicles through the Getaround app without meeting in person or coordinating key collection.
This service offers free and cost-free cancellations for those under 25. As an added bonus, each trip comes with full Allstate insurance coverage, so you don’t have to worry about any hidden insurance charges added to your bill.
Zipcar is available in many cities across the country, including 600 college campuses. Service members can hire cars on demand at a daily or hourly rate and membership is easy (you just need a valid driver’s license).