Rent a car in the USA

Rent a car in the USA – our experience in California

Rent a car in the USA is a great opportunity to see most of sightseengs of the country. We tell you about our experience of car rent in Los Angeles. An article will be interesting to people who would like to rent a car in San Francisco, Las Vegas and other cities in the USA.

Rent a car in the USA – cost, choice, details

We were traveling in California and neaby states during New Year holidays. We were driving more than 2 700 miles (about 4 345 km) for 11 days.

Before we rented a car in European and Asian countries and even in Jamaica. We are very experienced. So we didn’t have any problems in rent a car in the USA. We can say that car rent system in the USA is very convenient. We were really surprised with maximum insurance that was include in the cost and minimum cost of a car rent and other points.

Car rent in the USA

Looking ahead, we can say you that our car rent experience is positive. Frankly speaking, public transport in LA couldn’t boast of comfort and speed like rented car. Our trip from Hollywood district to Malibu beach took a whole day. One-way trip by bus is 2 hours.

Driving a car in the USA is realy easy and comfortable:

  • drivers on 99% are polite and patient
  • road rules, marking and navigation are very easy and intuitive

Only  huge road junctions gave us a headache. Several times we passed exits from the road.

How to choose a car and a car rent company

For our trips we usually look at options from several trusted brokers. In 99% final cost for rent from brokers is cheaper, that renting directly. And brokers have more convenient and intuitive order form. Also 48 hours before the trip you can cancel a booking without deposite loss. We can advise you Economybookings, Autoeurope and Rentalcars as a trustful aggregators.

The main points to choose car rent company from brokers in the USA:

  • Price. Usually we choose a car at the lowest price in high-rated car rentals.

  • Car rental location. In LA we spent 4 days without a car. We moved by public transport only. That’s why we wanted to rent a car in the city and return it back in LA airport (LUX). Unfortunately we couldn’t find such variants, therefore drove to the airport. We were renting a car for 11 days.
  • Value of the blocked deposit. One more reason to rent a car is a lack of blocked deposit (this applies to our reservation in Alamo in LA). From our credit card was taken one dollar only and returned back. For citizens from another countries situation with deposite can be different.


  • Raiting of rental company. Gives you opportunity to check the level of car rental service on aggregator’s website. Because aggregators use their our rating system. When we were selecting a car, Alamo offered the lowest price. We also were looking for feedback about car rental companies in another source. So we can conclude that Alamo rating corresponds to reality. Implementation of the rating on the site Autoeurope:

Rating of car rental companies in the USA

  • Insurance and availability of franchise. We were surpised with full auto insurance including zero franchise, insurance against theft, as well as insurance of wheels, bottom and so on. Everything was insured. You can see this information when choosing a specific option. At the same time, the franchise is also “zero”. There is no need to pay for insurance, it is already included in the price. For citizens from another countries situation with deposite can be different.
  • Choosing the right car. Many people think that it is necessary to rent a big car for trip in the USA. It’s true, because infrastructure was built for big cars: wide roads and huge parkings. To travel by car in the USA is a pleasure! Price difference between Compact and Midsize car is not so big. So you can rent bigger car than you thought. For example, we booked Compact car, but have got free of charge upgrade up to Midsize. Probability of getting higher class car is really big. On packing we didn’t see small class cars. Variants of rented cars:
Car typeOffered car model
SmallFord Fiesta, Cherolet Spark, Aveo, Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota Yaris and etc.
MidsizeFord Focus, Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Nissan Note, Sentra, Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte and etc.
FullsizeKia Soul, Volkswagen Jetta, Cherolet Malibu, Cruze, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry and etc.
VansNissan Quest, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Sedona and etc.
SUV/4WDFord Escape, Toyota RAV 4, Jeep Patriot and etc.
CabrioCherolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and etc.

Car rental cost in the USA

From January 01st-12th we paid USD260 for car rent. It was Midsize car for 11 days. For USD260 we have got zero franchise, full insurance and second driver. In Europe we often paid for these options.

We booked a car in Autoeurope. When we finished our booking, we received voucher with total cost and booking number. We chose two-doors Buick, but in fact there were no available Buick.

Final cost can be either lower or significantly higher. We flew to LA during Christmas holidays. It was December, 28th. We flew to LA around the Christmas holidays on December 28th, but even one extra day (for example, December 31st) increased the rental price up to $ 750. Try to be flexible on the trip. It will help you to save on rent considerably.

Also cost can be significantly different from state to state. To check cost in different states please use agregators above.

Jeep or minivan rental in the USA

Take a look on SUV or minivan. In Europe and Russia rental cost of these cars is signifcantly higher than in the USA. For example, rental cost of SUV on our dates (11 days) would be more expensive by less than USD100 for the entire rental period. In our case we we didn’t have needs in SUV. If you would like to visit National parks, then we recommend you to look at this option.

If you dream about cabriolet, then in America it can be reality. In the USA cabriolet rental cost starts from USD60 per day. It will be legendary Camaro and Mustang.

How to get car in the airport

We picked up our car from the LAX airport (LA). In another airports procedure of getting car will be the same. More often, rentals are made at special centers nearby the airport. You can drive to the center by a free transfer immediately after leaving the airport. In our case we drove about 15 minutes. Buses run frequently and company name is indicated on it. Sometimes the centers of different car rental companies are located nearby and they organize a joint transfer.

Car rental in LUX airport

In rental center everything is easy:

  • draw up the contact (you can do it with manager or by yourself through the kiosk);
  • print out the contract;
  • show it to manager;
  • get  a car.

We drew up the contract through the kiosk by ourselves, print it out, waited in the line a little bit and went get a car. In the conract manager checked a car size and shown the row with cars. You choose a car by yourselves!

We liked beautiful Chevrolet Malibu. We loaded our luggage, but we didn’t know that it was Midsize not Compact as was written in our contract. But manager said that we could take any car from the row  “Compact” even a Midsize car.

We were really happy with it and took Chevrolet Malibu to our journey. Our contract and driver license were checked on leaving the parking lot. It was the first time when our driver license was checked in the USA.

As a result our car mileage was only 3 miles (less than 5 km). We drove about 2 700 miles (approximately 4 345 km). Can you imagine that somewhere else you can take a new car for rental?!


Car rent in the USA

Return car in another city

In the USA you can easily pick up a car in one city and return it back in another, but price will be the same. For example, in California you can pick up a car in San Francisco and return it back in LA or neighboring Nevada (Las Vegase). You do not need to pay for it, because of huge numbers of bookings and car rental movements between big cities. Check car rental cost with returning in another city:

Return a car after rental

To return a car back is also very easy as to pick up it. You only need a car with full tank in according with your contract agreement, receive check, take a luggage with you, leave keys on torpedo and reach LAX airport by bus.

We were sad to leave our car which made our journey more interesting.

Return a car back in LA
Cars are waiting in the line

Our route in the USA

In America car rent gives you a lot of variants for your journey. We were visiting many interesting places for 11 days. We were in America in winter time. So National parks were closed. In summer time you can spend several days there. We visited LA, San Francisco and towns between these big cities, lake Tahoe, Dead Valley, Las Vegas and Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Route 66, National park Joshua Tree and sunny San Diego. In San Diego you can sleep before return a car back to LAX airport.

Road navigation in the USA

In rental company you can pay for additional options like navigator and baby chair. We do not advise you to pay for navigator. We used free offline map, but you need to load all necessary states. We also used to find hotels and sightseengs.

Details of our trip

  • You need to have cash with you. For example, we couldn’t refuel using our debit and credit cards. So we used cash.
  • Observe the speed limit. Our friends on the another car had to explain to the sheriff in the area of ​​Death Valley for a significant excess of speed. They didn’t have to pay a fine, but it could be a big.
  • At the equivalent intersections of the road, first passes the one who first approached the intersection.
How to rent a car in the USA
Rental car in San Diego

We hope that our article will help you to prepare your trip. Car rent in the USA is the best way to meet America. If you have any questions, please ask us.

You can find a car for your trip on trustful aggregators Economybookings, Autoeurope and Rentalcars.

The best variants to live you can find on Booking.

Can be interesting:

  1. How much does it cost to travel to the USA

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