Have you tried to rent a car for your next vacation or road trip? Good luck with that; the rental car supply can't meet the demand. Why is this happening and when will rental car companies get more vehicles? I’ll explain.
By now, you’ve probably heard that we’re now living through a car rental apocalypse. The pandemic has changed the travel industry in ways we never thought possible. Air traffic is recovering, but there’s another change that none of us thought possible: It’s getting really hard to rent a car.
Why is this happening? There’s a myriad of reasons. To start, many rental car companies fell on hard financial times shortly after the pandemic started. No one was traveling and they obviously were not renting many cars. This caused rental car companies to quickly sell large portions of their rental fleet and cancel upcoming new vehicle orders. In turn, once travel started to pick back up, they were underprepared for a surge in new booking rentals.
This has had some terrible repercussions for travelers. Some travelers have shown up at airport rental booths only to find that there confirmed reservations have been canceled due to lack of supply. This can lead to major travel headaches especially if you need a rental to get to your final destination.
How to protect yourself when renting a car…
Book your rental as far in advance as possible. This is the single most important way to ensure that you have a rental at all, and that you don’t end up paying more than you have to for it. Do not let it be an afterthought. People who wait until the last minute will most likely not have a vehicle available. If you’re booking a pay-later rate, it may be worth reserving a car even when you’re just starting to plan out your next trip.
Some people have used car sharing apps like Turo.com
. It’s a car-sharing app. Turo is the world's largest car-sharing marketplace. From rugged 4x4s to smooth and sports cars to affordable daily drivers, Turo.com
rents cars from owners who are trusted, local hosts.
We have also heard about travelers getting so desperate that they use a U-Haul rental to drive to their destination.
Here’s the Bottom Line:
I highly recommend booking you car first when booking your trip. Cars should start returning to rental car fleets in the fall, but there is no guarantee. Once production is back up to speed consumers will be seeking new vehicles and so will the rental car companies. Remember to book with name brand rental car companies to protect your travel plans.
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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host.
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