At this point, you’re probably familiar with Airbnb, but have you heard of Turo?? Instead of booking a rental car at the airport, we’ve been using Turo for car rental and it is saving us a TON of money while traveling. Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing app where people list their personal vehicle with pictures and a daily rate. You scroll through, find the one you want & book it with a simple tap. It’s basically Airbnb for cars! There are even some Airbnb hosts who are pairing their space with a Turo car.
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To get signed up on the Turo app, all you have to do is enter your driver’s license information and wait to be approved. This can take up to 24 hours, but once you are cleared you can book immediately. You type in the city where you need a car, and just like Airbnb, you can see on the map where the vehicle is located. Some hosts offer to deliver the car to you, if you are hoping to have it upon arrival at the airport, but as I will explain below, there can be associated fees with that. We haven’t had a bad experience with Turo so far. So if you haven’t tried it out yet, go get signed up and use Turo for Car Rental on your next trip!
I like it better than traditional rental car companies, and here’s why:
Get The Car You Want with Turo
Whether you are looking to ride in style, with a large group, or on a budget, there are a wide variety of vehicles to choose from on Turo. No more hoping you get what you booked or secretly hoping for an upgrade into something nicer. You see the exact car you’ll be driving, what the gas mileage on it is, and the price for that car with all fees and taxes included.
If you really want to make your vacation special, you can splurge on a luxury vehicle. People list their Teslas, Mercedes, and Corvettes all the time! This is a fun option for a special event, like a birthday or anniversary, if your significant other likes cars. Or if you know you will be going on more adventurous drives, you can find something 4WD or AWD. The variety of cars is far better on Turo than what you’ll find from a traditional car rental company.
For example, in Phoenix, AZ you can rent an F-250 or a Polaris Slingshot! These would never be found on enterprise or budgets websites. Just the first of many reasons why you should use Turo for car rental!
TURO for car rental
When we were in Seattle, I booked a Toyota Prius because I knew we would be doing lots of driving to & from the city plus a day trip to Mt Rainier. Having a Prius proved to be a cost effective decision because we used less than a tank of gas over 4 days! When gas costs $5+ a gallon, this is a major win!
Money Saving Options with Turo
Another way you can save some money with Turo car rental is by opting in or out of certain services. If you want to stay on a tight budget, some hosts give you the option to clean the car & fill up the tank yourself at the end of the trip to save somewhere around $20-$60. You have to realize though, you still will be paying for the gas and a car wash, so how much is it really saving you? If it’s significant enough, go for it. I have noticed that in general, Turo can be a more affordable option than other rental car companies, even without this extra work.
Turo vs. Car Rental Company
*this is just an example, prices will vary depending on time of year, city, and other circumstances.
We reserved a minivan for our trip to Oahu so we could travel with our group comfortably. It was way cheaper renting a van on Turo than it would have been at a car rental company. Look at the comparison above if you don’t believe me! For the same exact 5 days in Honolulu, HI, you will pay $626.16 for a minivan from Budget at the airport.
In contrast, this host on Turo can rent hers to you for $142.77. Almost a $500 difference! That is huge!! There are so many other experiences you can put that $500 towards instead of into a rental vehicle. This is the biggest reason why I like using Turo for car rental. I am always on the hunt for the best deals and it seems like I consistently find them here.
Convenient “Extras” on Turo
Some listings have “extras” you can pay for to make your trip more convenient. These can include outdoor equipment, storage boxes, and child safety seats. It might be worth the small daily charge in exchange for lighter luggage and less stuff to lug around the airport with you. Car seats, beach chairs, coolers, & boogie boards are just a few we have taken advantage of. This is not offered at normal car rental companies. It is a really unique & special thing about Turo!
Here are examples of extras offered:
Our host on Oahu offered beach chairs, a cooler, and a beach umbrella for only $5/day. In addition to that there was some sunscreen & a rain umbrella in the back just in case we needed it. We used the cooler, chairs, and umbrella at every beach we went to around the island. It helped us enjoy our days out and about more because we didn’t have to worry about getting out of the sun or not having enough water at the beach.
You can add another driver for no cost. As long as that person has an account with Turo, where they have verified their drivers license information, and they are at least 21, they can drive cost free. Most rental car companies require renters to be 25. This opens up more travel opportunities for young people! It also makes it easier for group travel because you can switch off who drives the rental car.
Since the Turo host lives in the location you are exploring, you can easily message them and ask for itinerary suggestions. I have had great experiences with the hosts we’ve rented from, they have been very accommodating & helpful. Even though I grew up in Hawaii, our Turo host directed us to some of the best snorkeling I have ever done! It was fun getting his opinion and incorporating it into our trip.
They often go the extra mile too. Our host in Seattle left us bottles of water & extra masks in the cup holders at pick up. Turo hosts are going to give you better personalized service than at a traditional rental car company.
KEEP IN MIND…
Picking Up the Car
You have to take into account that most of these vehicles are not picked up at the airport. They are at a location set by the host & you have to pick it up there. Some hosts offer delivery as an “extra”, to make it more convenient, but this is usually an added charge. Traditional rental car companies are easy because there is a shuttle that takes you to the lot of cars, cost free.
We paid for the car delivery service on our trip to Seattle. We had limited time and we wanted to go straight from the airport to doing fun activities downtown. Our host met us at the baggage claim terminal with the car and handed over the keys. (I’m not sure what he does to get back home, but we were immediately on our way!) We will take advantage of this “extra” again if it is the cost effective option.
How to get to your Turo Rental Car
In Hawaii, we did not have our Turo delivered. Instead we Ubered from our hotel to where it was parked. The Uber only cost about $10! Then at the end of our trip when we dropped it off, we had someone else in our group pick us up in their rental car and take us to the airport. If we hadn’t had that option, we would have Ubered again from that location to the airport. It still would have been cheaper to Uber both ways rather than pay for a traditional rental car at the airport.
Weigh your options. Will Ubering to the vehicle be more or less cost effective than paying for the pick-up & drop-off fee through Turo? Are there other cheaper modes of transportation such as a Bird Scooter, light rail, buses, etc that can get me to the Turo for car rental?
When you estimate all those little charges into your overall price for the Turo, is it still less expensive than the rental car companies at the airport? If yes, then definitely do it! There is no sense in overpaying for a service you don’t need to.
Some listings have a per day mile limit. Be mindful of this because if you go over, you are charged for every mile over the limit, which can add up quickly. You can opt in for unlimited miles if it is offered by the host, but it is an added cost. If you are planning on driving a lot, narrow your search to vehicles offering “unlimited miles” with the search filter. That way you won’t be counting the miles you drive and stressing if you have to make any detours. You want to set yourself up for success, giving yourself leeway to not stick 100% to the plan.
Why You Should Use Turo for Car Rental
COVID19 has affected all aspects of life. Especially travel. As a result, there’s a shortage of rental cars (and practically everything else), making Turo an excellent option. You can find a fantastic car that fits your needs, all for a killer price. And you’ll make a new friend out of it too! On your next trip, you should use Turo for car rental.
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