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A few weeks ago I talked about how to get cheap one way car rentals.  The basic idea is that in the fall, car companies often need to move cars south, in anticipation of more people living and vacationing in the south.  In the spring, it is the opposite – one way car rentals going north become cheaper.

As someone who is trying to visit every county in the United States as part of my travel bucket list, sometimes you need to drive instead of fly!  After all, it’s hard to read the “Welcome to County” signs at 30,000 feet!! 🙂  3 of my kids and I just took a 17 hour day-trip through Nevada, Idaho and Oregon, and lived to tell the tale…

I thought I’d give a few examples of what you can get right now as far as one-way car rentals

Here’s New York City to Miami for only $14 / day for the weekend of October 10th.

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I was able to get car rentals pricing out pretty cheap from JFK to several cities in Florida (Orlando, Tampa, etc).  Other Eastern cities like Philadelphia or Boston, were more expensive ($30) but still pretty reasonable.  When I put in Detroit or Cincinnati, then it got into the $180 / day rate that you NORMALLY see for one-way returns.

Here’s Denver to Phoenix on a 5 day rental starting on October 24th.

den-phx-one-way-car-rentalHere’s Seattle to Los Angeles, for a week at the beginning of October

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Looking for patterns

Other than trial and error, it was a bit hard to figure out exactly which cities would yield a reasonable price.  Other than the basics of heading south, here are a few general patterns that I observed:

  1. Bigger cities are better, especially at the origin.  New York was the best of all, but also places like Chicago and Seattle beat out more mid-size cities like Cincinnati or Detroit
  2. Length of rental didn’t seem to matter – it was mostly based on the date it got to its destination.  Though there were times that a longer rental out of New York made the price go up slightly (but still pretty cheap)
  3. I had more success keeping things in the same geographic region.  New York to Miami and Seattle to Los Angeles?  Good.  New York to Los Angeles?  Bad.
  4. It seemed based on casual observation that the earlier in the season, the cheaper, but I couldn’t get any definitive data on that.  Your mileage may vary (literally!)

Anyone ever had any success renting a car one-way?

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