Monday, June 2, 2014

Adventures in car rentals

FYI, renting a car in the US and returning it to Canada poses a significant problem. Apparently, it's not just something you can do without any forethought. 

When we arrived at the Bangor, Maine airport on Wednesday we requested a car for 10 days that we would like to return to Montreal. 

Hertz: We do have a car with Canadian plates you can take. It will be $3000. 

Us: No. We want to rent a car for 5 days and return it here. 

It seems that they will charge you over $200 a day to drive a car one way to Canada, but they charge you that every day that you have the car! 

So today we returned our friends to the airport so they could fly home and we figured we would rent a car for the day to get to Canada and then switch cars once we got there to avoid most of the increased cost. 

Only a few companies even offer one way rentals to Canada and Bangor is not a big airport. Everyone was out of Canadian cars. And for whatever reason they won't rent you a car with US plates to drop off in Canada. Evidently that's not the case in Canada. 

So, we decided to return the car to Vermont and change out flight to leave from the Burlington airport. Which, after phone calls to both Expedia and Delta we found out would cost over $800 due to flight change fees and a need to switch airlines. 

At this point we had already begun driving to Canada and were about an hour west of Bangor. I got back on the phone with the nearest rental car company to see if ANYONE, ANYWHERE in the state of Maine had a car that we could drive one way to Canada. One of them suggested trying National at the Portland Airport. 

As luck (?) would have it they had a large SUV with Ontario plates that needed to get back to Canada. For obvious reasons no one was renting a large, expensive vehicle with foreign plates. Although we were pretty much willing to pay anything to rent a car-we could always switch when we got to Canada-they were even more anxious to get rid of it so they offered it to us at the price of an economy car (a savings of $120/day) and threw in a free tank of gas. I told him to hold it and we would be here ASAP. 

So we turned around, drive the hour and a half back to Portland (the opposite way we had been heading), ditched our Impala and are now headed to Canada in a 2014 Yukon.  Everyone is happy. But never underestimate the value of a travel agent-it's not always worth trying to do it yourself!

Also Hertz doesn't seem to be the place to rent a car anyway. We got our 5 day rental much cheaper at Avis and National did not appear to have any up charge to go to Canada as Hertz did. 

The rest of the trip has been great. Pictures when we get home!


Diana said...

Crazy. Glad it worked out. We used Avis when we went to Oregon. I thought they might charge us extra because of a dog in the car, which I had heard cars companies do from other people who rented cars, but nope.

Joseph Joffo said...

Very unique experience.The service was great.