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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

February 4, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Save loads by renting your car away from the airport

For the price of a short cab ride from an airport, you can sometimes save a bundle on car rentals. (Mike Siegel photo, The Seattle Times)

For the price of a short cab ride from an airport, you can sometimes save a bundle on car rentals. (Mike Siegel photo, The Seattle Times)

I was just reminded, through experience, of this great trick for thrifty travelers.

Booking a trip to California for some future Seattle Times travel stories, I found a decently cheap flight to San Jose ($160 round-trip on Alaska), but was crestfallen to find that a rental car was going to cost more than double that for my eight-day visit. The lowest price I found on Travelocity was $360 for a compact car from Enterprise. The website warned me of “high volume at this location for my selected dates.”

But wait, what if I rented from an off-airport location?

I called up the list of Enterprise rental offices. There are a lot in San Jose — what would be closest to the airport? Aha, one had the same ZIP code as the airport, so I chose that office. Mapquest said it was 6 minutes from the airport.

There, I nabbed a car for $196. A savings of $164. The only catch is I’ll need to pay for a 6-minute cab ride; maybe $18, with tip? (Enterprise offers pick up and drop off service, but not usually to or from the airport.)

OK, it’s a little bit of added hassle, but my “cheap gene” will be happily indulged.

Comments | More in airports | Topics: airport car rental, budget travel tip, off-airport car rental

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