Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Jonathan


Can you rent a car at an airport if you’re not flying? If you’re looking for a rental car in your own backyard—maybe your car is getting repaired or you need a roomier ride for house guests—it often pays to check rates at your local airport, too. Sometimes airport rentals can actually be cheaper than in-town rentals, and airport rental office hours are usually much more flexible than those at your neighborhood branch.

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But if you live near an airport—typically within 100 miles or within the same state—you may not be able to rent a car at an airport if you’re not flying. There may be a requirement to produce a plane ticket. Unfortunately, these terms and conditions are often buried in fine print, so you may not be alerted until the last minute and have an unwelcome surprise at the rental counter.

Airport Car Rental Restrictions for Local Residents

Remember, these policies impact you only if you live near an airport and are not arriving at the airport by plane.


Payless tends to have some of the most aggressive rates around. While we’re not huge fans of their pushy sales tactics at many locations, you can walk away with a really low rate if you’re careful to review your rental contract before you leave the rental counter. The exception is if you are renting locally at an airport location.

Here’s the policy at the Payless airport location at Orlando International:

Local renters require a verification process which may include verifying personal information such as home phone number, address and/or employment. Supporting information can be a current utility bill, recent bank statement and /or pay stub.

From the get-go, Payless goes to great lengths to ensure that you are who you say you are.

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While most locations don’t impose mileage restrictions for local renters or force you to take CDW if you can’t prove you have insurance elsewhere, some locations do hedge this a bit. Here’s the verbiage at the Denver airport location: “We can elect not to rent to you if you do not present proof of auto liability and physical damage insurance coverage.” Again, the magic round-trip airline ticket we keep talking about is your insurance to avoid having to buy overpriced insurance.

It always pays to read the terms and conditions when reserving your rental car. Unlike airplane tickets and hotels, which are pretty straightforward, there are often some “gotchas” with rental cars, and you can head off many unpleasant surprises if you spend a moment to familiarize yourself with the rules.