Which is Better on Vacation: Rental Car or Drive Your Own?

Vacations are always something to look forward to. If you are like many other Americans, you want to have a great time without spending a lot of money. So which is better: renting a car or driving your own? This may seem like a small decision, but the option you choose could save you big money. Here are some points that will help you make the right decision.

Making the Right Decision For You

There are really three major factors in figuring out which decision is correct for you:

  • Costs of driving your car
  • Applicable deals on rental cars
  • Distance to your destination

The best way to budget transportation for a trip is to allow $17 per 100 miles. This accounts for gas and any other driving-related expenses that may arise during the trip. So, for a 1,000-mile trip, you should set aside $170, for example. Now take that figure and compare it with the cost of a rental car. With some companies, you might pay up to double what you would driving your own car.

Do not forget to account for the wear-and-tear to your car. If you drive a lot in your day-to-day life, that may factor into your decision. Sometimes every mile counts on your car, and you may want to keep the mileage as low as possible. This helps limit the maintenance the car needs. The last thing you want on your trip is for your car to break down from overuse. Rental cars are generally newer, which means you have less to worry about.

Look For Those Deals

You need to locate the car that is right for you. It may take you a few rental agencies to find the car you want at the right price. Once you do, don’t forget to research any applicable discounts or deals the company offers. If you are an AAA member, for example, you may qualify for a special discount. AARP members sometimes also receive discounts, as do certain credit card holders.

When you have your rental, make sure your auto insurance covers the car. If you have no coverage on the rental, then you will probably want to purchase coverage at the rental agency. The last thing you want is to wreck a rental car and not have the insurance to cover it. If you cannot afford the insurance coverage the rental company offers, reconsider driving your own vehicle on your vacation.