Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Jonathan
A one-way car rental is where you pick up the car at one rental office and drop it off at a different location. One-way rentals can be one of the most convenient ways of getting from A to B, but they can also be very costly. We will share ways to reduce that sting through some smart shopping and a few tricks of the trade.
Often hefty “drop fees” are tacked on to to the base rental rate, which can inflate your total cost significantly. Other times, the base rate is over-inflated compared with a standard rental where you pick up and drop off at the same location.
How to Get a Cheap One-Way Car Rental
Shop around. Just because one rental company is charging a $250 drop-fee for your one-way rental from Los Angeles to San Diego doesn’t mean that they all are. Sometimes smaller budget companies, such as Advantage or Fox, will offer much lower drop fees (or none at all) compared with major companies like Avis, Hertz and National. One advantage of using a comparison site like AutoSlash is that we can compare rates across multiple companies in no time flat.
Hunt for discounts. The application of a discount code or coupon to your rental can have a major effect on your rate. We’ve seen discount codes slice a one-way rate in half, or even more.
Some companies offer special deals specifically for one-way rentals, which can reduce your costs significantly. For example, many companies run deals at certain times of the year where you can drive one way from Florida to New York (or vice versa) for a small handful of dollars per day. Numerous companies also offer deals on one-way rentals between city locations and an airport, which can sometimes be even cheaper than taking a cab. Check out our AutoSlash coupon page for current deals.
Check out Hertz for One-Way Savings
Hertz consistently offers some of the best deals around for one-way rentals. There’s a simple trick you can use to get some astounding discounts. Hertz has a number of fields on its website where you can enter various discount codes. Look for the RATE CODE (RQ) field and enter the code DRIVE. Let’s look at an example:
The image above shows two quotes for a one-way rental from Chicago O’Hare airport to Mitchell Field in Milwaukee. On the left, the standard Hertz rate for a one-way rental is over $2,000. When we enter the DRIVE code into the Rate Quote field, the price drops to $767, for a whopping savings of $1,280. But we’re not done yet.
Another cool thing about the RATE CODE field is that using it does not preclude you from also applying a DISCOUNT/CDP code (from AAA for example) as well as a PROMOTIONAL COUPON (like $25 off a weekly rental). Stacking codes can lower an already-great rate even further.
At AutoSlash, we’ll always work all the angles to find you a low rate. Once you’ve made your reservation, don’t forget to enter your confirmation number in our Price Tracker tool. If we find a lower price, we’ll email you an alert so you can decide whether you’d like to snag the lower rate.