For travellers hitting up foreign cities, renting a car may be a necessary evil. Even for those who choose not to own cars, if you are hoping to see more than just a foreign or local city’s downtown core, you will most certainly require a car. Luckily for these people, there are numerous options for those who want to forego the traditional car rental route. I spoke with FlightHub, a North American online travel agency, and they shed some light on the growing options for car-sharing and ride-sharing in North America. Using FlightHub’s reviews of these services, I have compiled a few options that you could use today when travelling in North America.
While requiring a healthy dose of preparation, Zipcar is a great service that allows members to get access to cars quickly and efficiently. Once you are fully set up, cars can be accessed using either a mobile app, or your own Zipcar card. Some pro tips, these cars cannot be rented one-way. You will need to return the car to its original destination. Offered largely in the United States, but also countries like Canada, Spain, and the U.K., Zipcar allows for seven day rentals which you can pay by the hour or by the day. Membership is limited to those who are 21 or over, unless they affiliated with a recognized university.
A ride-sharing option that is very personal, RelayRides connects drivers with renters, creating a marketplace where you connect directly with car owners to grab their ride for your vacation. Once again, this will require planning, as owners have a 24 hour window to decide whether or not they will allow you to borrow their car. Once again, this is not a one-way option as you will need to meet with the driver to both acquire and drop off the car. It’s a rather simple solution, the renter pays the gas and a per mile price over a prescribed limit from the owner. This can be particularly useful if you don’t plan on driving far, as staying within the drivers limits can create a lot of value according to FlightHub.
There are many services out there that are region specific. For example, in FlightHub’s home city of Montreal, services like Communato make it very easy to grab cars on demand in four Quebec cities. Communato has numerous stations across the province allowing for convenient pick ups and drop offs, making it simple to rent a vehicle within the city.