One-Way Car Rentals

November 13, 2013
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I will be traveling to Northern New York to visit family. I would like to rent a car upon arriving and then a few days later travel to Washington DC to visit family there and then fly home from DC. What are the best priced companies to offer one-way car rentals where I can pick a car up from one airport and drop off at another and is one cheaper than the other?

    A. One of the best ways to get a great deal is to book early and keep checking rates. Rental rates can change multiple times a day (especially within a couple of weeks of your pickup date). Savvy renters know that it's best not to prepay for your rental, since this gives you the flexibility to cancel and re-book if a better deal comes along. A hassle-free way do this is to book your rental and then track prices via We passed your question over to auto rental expert and AutoSlash CEO, Jonathan Weinberg, who offered this advice: "All of the major rental companies offer one-way rentals. Hefty 'drop fees' are sometimes tacked onto to the base rental rate, which can significantly increase your total cost. Other times, the base rate is inflated as compared with a standard rental where you pick up and drop off at the same location.

    There are however ways to reduce that sting. First off, it pays to shop around. Just because one company is charging a $250 drop-fee for your one-way rental, doesn't mean that all of them are. Use a comparison site like Travelocity or Kayak to compare rates across multiple companies. In some cases, a particular company may want to move vehicles from one location to another, and they will offer a much better deal since you are helping them with inventory management.

    Next, don't forget about discounts codes. The application of a discount code and/or coupon to your rental can have a startling effect on your rate. We've seen discount codes drop a rate in half, or even more. Sometimes these discount/coupon codes will actually waive the one-way fee entirely. Just because the un-discounted price for a particular company is high, doesn't mean that the rate will be similarly high after applying a discount code. The right discount code can work wonders on your rate."

    Car image via Shutterstock