By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach
Have you tried to rent a car for your next vacation or road trip? Good luck with that! The rental car supply can’t meet the demand. Why is this happening and when will rental car companies get more vehicles? Why are we now living through a car rental apocolypse? I’ll explain.
The pandemic has changed the travel industry in ways we never thought possible. Air traffic is recovering but there’s another change that is a big surprise: it’s really difficult to rent a car.
Why is this happening? There’s a myriad of reasons.
To start, many rental car companies fell on hard financial times shortly after the pandemic started. No one was traveling and they obviously were not renting many cars. This caused rental car companies to quickly sell large portions of their rental fleet and cancel upcoming new vehicle orders. In turn, once travel started to pick back up, they were underprepared for a surge in new booking rentals.
This has had some terrible repercussions for travelers. Some travelers have shown up at airport rental booths only to find that their confirmed reservations have been canceled due to lack of supply. This can lead to major travel headaches especially if you need a rental to get to your final destination.
How to protect yourself when renting a car…
Book your rental as far in advance as possible, and make sure you don’t end up paying more than you have to for it. Do not let it be an afterthought.
People who wait until the last minute will have the most difficulty. If you’re booking a pay-later rate, it may be worth reserving a car even when you’re just starting to plan out your next trip.
Some people have used carsharing apps like Turo.com, which is the world’s largest car sharing marketplace. Other carsharing companies also exist and this might be the way to go.
We have also heard about travelers getting so desperate that they use a U-Haul rental to drive to their destination. Too bad, if a U-Haul is your only option.
Here’s the Bottom Line
I highly recommend booking that car first when booking your trip. Cars should start returning to rental car fleets in the fall but there is no guarantee. Once production is back up to speed, consumers will be seeking new vehicles and so will the rental car companies. Remember to book with name brand rental car companies to protect your travel plans.
Watch the video review. We show you everything you need to know.
If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news, and safety issues.
Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on ABC.com with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak.
Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum, and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.
Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.