Car hire in the U.S.
Renting a car in the U.S. is the best way of smoothly getting around the country at a low price. The public transport is rarely good and taxi services are becoming increasingly expensive. New York is more or less the only city in America where the public transport is more convenient than the car. If you book through us, rest assured that the rental cars are from the larger companies, and they are always in very good condition.
Prices and insurance
You can get rental cars in the U.S. from about 14 to 19 pounds per day, including unlimited mileage and full insurance. If you book your rental car through us, we include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP) with £0 in excess. Upon arrival, you’ll usually be offered several extra insurances. We recommend that you clearly say no to any such “deals”. They are often unnecessary and pricey, even if the person selling them makes it sound like a good deal.
Please note that bookings made from Canada or the U.S. usually do not include insurance, meaning you have to add it to your booking. You should therefore always book the car in advance before taking off.
Picking up the car at an airport
US airports typically have large car rental centres at or near the airport. Renting a car at a car rental centre is quick and efficient, and there is a wide selection of rental cars. The renter will usually get to choose a car from his or her rental car class. Generally, it’s best to pick up and drop off your rental car at the airport to avoid extra costs for getting to and from the airport.
Tips and rules for car rental in the U.S.
- Age limit: The age limit for car hire is 21 years, although some car rental firms might have lower age limits. If you are between 21 and 25, there will be an extra charge usually between $15-$25 per day.
- Fuel: Full-to-full is the standard fuel policy. This means that you’ll get the car with a full tank and return it with the same amount of fuel. If you fail to do this you will be charged for missing fuel, usually at an expensive rate. However, this kind of fuel policy is not used if you, for example, have been offered a free tank. In that case you should return the car with the tank as empty as possible.
- Right-hand traffic: The U.S. has right-hand traffic. Read more under Driving in right-hand traffic.
- Right turns: In America, right turns on red are allowed in all states. The only place it is not allowed is in New York City (even though everywhere else in New York State the rule does apply). Motorists behind you will almost always honk if you stop at a red light when turning right. However, keep in mind that there can be signs saying “No turn on red”.
- Book from the UK: Complete your booking before you leave the UK. If you book the car upon arrival in the States, basic insurance is not included.
Parking: Parking is rarely a problem in the US. The country is essentially made for driving. In major cities like New York, however, there aren’t a lot of parking spaces in the city centre.
- Additional drivers: Additional drivers usually cost about $10/day extra. It’s sometimes possible to find “premium packages” in the search results that include up to three drivers and a free tank.
- Good for car hire: The U.S. might be the best and smoothest country to rent a car in. Now that you’ve read our tips, hiring a car won’t be a problem.
Other useful information
- If you are travelling with a child don’t forget to check the requirements for the child car seat. The car seat laws in USA varies from different states and the child car seats that are approved according to European Standards are not acceptable in USA. Read more under child car seats.
- The road rules might not always be the same in all states, so it is worth checking this before your trip.
- Almost all rental cars in USA are automatic which makes your driving even easier.
- You will not find any “give way” signs in the US, instead the sign “yield” will great you, meaning the same.
- Often at restaurants and hotels valet parking is common. You give your keys to a person that parks your car. When you are ready to leave you show your receipt (not always) and you get your car back. This costs a few dollars and don’t forget obligatory tip.
- Finally: You don’t have to worry when driving in USA, the road signs are very well stated, early before your exit. The road grid is very easy planned and roundabouts or small narrow junctions is very unusual.