Transportation

When traveling, there’s only so much you can do when it comes to getting around. If you happen to be in a condensed city like Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles or New York city then you might be able to skate off with no rentals and take their public transportation, but that’s only if they provide solid and reliable public transportation. Which fortunately, some do, example: Tokyo, in terms of both cleanliness and reliability. In this post I’ve jotted down different types of transport apps and businesses I’ve frequented and organized them from my favorite to my least favorite ones to use.

Enterprise
This company is the one I use most frequent because it’s the most convenient and before the price hikes (due to lack of vehicles) also the most affordable in my opinion. Enterprise is like Bank of America, they’re everywhere and luckily I live close to a main one where they provide overnight drop-off. Which is AWESOME. Most of my road trips, I don’t get back until late at night and after unpacking, it’s way past closing time. They also usually have good prices where it ranged from $20-$60 a day (depending on what you choose to drive, e.g. a sedan or a truck, they will vary in prices). My personal favorite is that the affordable price comes with unlimited miles so there’s no worry about the distance. You just need to refill the gas back up to the way you got it, the staff usually will note it down if you don’t get a full tank (I had once where I got a rental with a quarter tank left and the staff said to just bring it back empty since that’s what he wrote down).

Another point for them: you can drop-off at more specific time (half-hourly) instead of by days. Only downside is that they don’t offer 4WD options, kind of sucks since sometimes our hiking adventures takes us out to the desert which requires 4WD vehicles.

Oh, they have free membership accounts where if you book 6 rentals in a year, you’ll be bumped up to silver and you get even more perks like free upgrades and stuff.

Avis
The is my backup choice if I ever need a 4WD option. They seem to be one of the few, if not the only, company that has 4WD vehicles. I did a little digging and it was briefly mentioned that rental companies don’t usually provide 4×4 cars because it’s extra liability and work. But I get it, humans… Are unreliable. Some will try and lie and cheat the system and bring back a banged up car.

Avis usually costs a little more per day than Enterprise and they’re not as convenient location wise as well as looking for ones that has late drop-off (only ones available listed are ones near the airport at John Wayne or Santa Ana, which is too far for me).

Turo
I had a friend introduce this app to me and I was fairly interested in it. I used it a few times when I went traveling around the PNW and Canada. It’s… Definitely not my favorite option to use after my third try with them only because most of them have a set amount of miles you can drive for an affordable price (that you can get with Enterprise for unlimited). You can filter for unlimited miles, but those cost a lot more. I rented one with limited miles once when in Canada and we were about 4 miles (6 km) over the limit, I thought the host would be cool about it since it wasn’t that much, but he ended up charging me extra and the whole experience was just… Not that great. The rentals are also more anal because you’re using someone’s personal car (and not so much something you buy off the lot in mass like Enterprise and Avis). I just worried a lot more when I rented through Turo.

But they do allow more specific time drop-offs and won’t separate it via days when renting.

I also found pick-up and drop-off a little inconvenient. Sometimes you have to drive the driver back to their house before you leave or sometimes you can’t find the pick-up person in the crowd of people at the airport. Or the host will sometimes send someone that’s not themselves to come get the vehicle. It was just very messy and inefficient.

U-Haul
My least favorite option because it was the most expensive, BUT they do do a great job on being VERY convenient for emergencies or VERY short distance travel/moving. We recently had an emergency where we had plans A, B, and C fall through for transport for a track day we were doing and it was late into the day (3PM) already when U-Haul came to mind. We usually don’t rent them unless we needed box trucks for moving, but I remembered they also offered large vans.

It was also great that U-Haul is also convenient in terms of locations, a lot of mailing places usually have a few for rent so there were a few around the area we lived that opened until 5PM. I was able to book one through their app and pick it up within the hour. Pick-up and drop-off was really easy and simple, check-in at the front desk and pick up the key.

They have a base fee of $20 then they charge by the mile $0.90, which is basically a $1.00 for every mile. I rented a van for 26 hours and was probably the most expensive I’ve been charged for a vehicle use. Their booking system goes by daily rentals (e.g. 12 hour, 24 rental, 1 day, 2 day, etc.) instead of a return time. It was almost $200 for 26 hours of use because they don’t have after hour drop-offs so they told me I had to book for 2 days, even though I didn’t need it for two days. I returned the van right when they opened the next day, but they still decided to charge me for 2 days, which I thought was a little unfair.


Public Transport
This is more so in its own category!

I actually quite enjoy taking subways and trains. More sustainable, eco-friendly and usually also cheaper. But this will also depend on how much effort is put into the public transport system by your local government. I’ve always heard great things about the subways and train stations in Japan and how clean and courteous commuters are. Unfortunate that my plans for Japan got cancelled because of the pandemic. 😦 But we have heavily relied on the subway system when we traveled to New York City, we took the subway to all our destinations. Some say the train lines/destination mapping is confusing, but I remember it was strangely easy for me (I say this because I’m usually SUPER directionally challenged) so definitely should read up on a city’s train line system before hopping on. As for NYC, when the subway was empty, it’s relatively clean albeit you still see graffiti and scratched off parts of seats and walls. But I still thought it was very efficient and cheap, each ride was only $1.50-$3.00 (this was back in 2018) depending on where you are going.

Lyft
The main rideshare app that I use if and when I really need to. It just tends to be too expensive and not convenient since you have to wait 20-30 minutes to be picked up and you don’t have access to a car whenever you want. We heavily relied on it when we were traveling around in San Francisco because parking is very difficult to find due to how tight the city is. So we opted to rideshare around. Thankfully, because SF is so condensed, you can basically walk to most restaurants or stores for shopping. The city is very pedestrian friendly. But for the farther destinations up north, we would Lyft it. For a cheaper fare, we always selected the shared ride option (where the driver can pick-up another person on the drive to your destination). I also use Lyft quite often when I’m in Vegas, they make for GREAT DDs. 🙂

I also prefer Lyft to Uber because Uber has always been bad experiences and they’re also more expensive than Lyft.

Side note, during holidays, the prices skyrocket, which isn’t new– high demand means higher prices.

Uber
My least favorite rideshare app, I can’t give much experience on it but the two times I tried booking rides on that app, the drivers drove past me, even with me running after them and trying to wave them down. They would end up cancelling my ride and leaving me stranded which resulted in me almost missing my flight.

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