Experts: Book rental cars now to avoid spring break crunch

Spring break travelers have multiple factors working against them if a rental car is part of the equation.

“Right now, the car rental companies are seeing an increase in reservations,” said Greg Scott, a government relations adviser for the American Car Rental Association. “There aren’t enough rental cars to go around.”

Rental companies sold off large portions of their fleets when demand plummeted early in the pandemic and have been slow to rebuild them because of global supply constraints. Now, both leisure and business travel are rebounding, compounding the problem.

Andrew Kunesh, points and miles editor at The Points Guy, said that, according to Kayak, rental car prices are up more than 25% from roughly a year ago.

“And in some areas like Hawaii and Alaska, you’ll see prices much higher than that,” he said.

Recommendations include booking as soon as possible, being flexible about the type of car being rented and about pickup and drop-off locations. Kunesh also suggests looking at peer-to-peer car-sharing service Turo, which he describes as Airbnb for cars.

Even those who can snag a rental may have to wait, because the labor shortage is impacting rental car company staffing, too.

Both Scott and Kunesh expect the rental car shortage to be with us for the remainder of 2022.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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