The Price Lab performs a live search on all major car-rental companies in the USA and Canada to quickly find you the cheapest one-way car rental deals. We take a scientific approach to finding the best rates. Price Lab compares all search results to our database containing millions of records so you can see how prices change over time for different locations. That way, you can always be confident that you're getting a great deal. If it looks like the price might drop some more, just set a price alert and we'll automatically check for you every day and let you know as soon as the price drops!
A one-way car rental is when a driver picks a car up at one rental location and drops it off at a different one. For example, renting a car from Enterprise in Seattle and dropping it off at an Enterprise location in Los Angeles, or renting a car at Avis JFK Airport and dropping it off at one of Avis's downtown locations. Often, this creates problems for car rental companies as they accumulate too many cars in some locations and not enough in others. In order to manage this problem, it's common for car rental companies to charge an additional drop-off fee for one-way car rentals.
Having good info is a great place to start! That's where the Price Lab comes in handy. In general, though, you need to shop around. Rental agencies may give you a discount or waive their drop-off fee completely if picking up your car reduces a surplus of drop-offs at one of their locations and dropping it off returns the car to where it started.
So it pays to check all major rental companies (or have the Price Lab check them for you ;). Often, rental companies won't disclose up front if a drop-off fee is going to be charged for a one-way car rental, so always phone ahead to the location to confirm before you slap down your credit card.
Make sure you're calling the location itself rather than the call center, as boots-on-the-ground knowledge is a big help when it comes to the nitty gritty. Be sure to give them the exact details of your trip, including the dates and what kind of car you plan on booking. And of course, be sure to emphasize that you're looking for a one-way car rental. Finally, don't forget to specifically ask about the drop-off fee.
For inter-city travel: MirrorTrip is a one-way car rental solution that securely connects you to people driving in the opposite direction - turning two one-way trips into a round trip so that you don't have to pay drop-off fees. However, MirrorTrip isn't available everywhere yet. While you wait for MirrorTrip to come to a city near you, you can use our free Price Lab to search for the best one-way car rental deals from regular car rental companies.