Mndsm MegaDork
5/10/22 9:38 a.m.

Ok, need a quick one. In roughly 48 hours I'm landing in Minneapolis for a week. Got some things I need to take care of. Initially I had a car on loan, and that was going to take care of the problem. However I've been going over my itinerary and I don't see how I can pull it off without having a second car so that swmbo can do what she needs, not to mention the first car was to be shared with other people who may not be interested in what I have to do. (namely take my kid out for shopping and time away from his mother). Shamefully, I've never had to rent a car, so I have no idea how to go about it. Do I just hire one at the airport? Do I use a site beforehand and make sure I have it when I land? Do I look for a super sus gmt400 with a broken ignition and hope for the best? I despise Uber because I despise strangers, so that's out. Minnesota public transportation in general leaves a lot to be desired, so that's out. I suggested I just buy another car when I get there, but swmbo gave me a dirty look, so that's out. 


Help me obiwan, you're my only hope!

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/10/22 9:51 a.m.

Here is what i know from renting a lot:

Toyotas have nanny controls you cannot turn off. berkeley those guys.

Nissans are pretty good cruisers. Confortable and economical and they dont want to take over the driving but they do have unobtrusive driving aids.

midsize or fullsize for more than a few miles on the highway unless you have a cast iron ass.

Very few cars around right now. Book early and dont arrive late in the day or evening because when the cars are gone they are gone

Most companies are not allowing you to drop off at a different location than pickup right now.

Hertz and budget always have massive counter lineups. 

I like National (when they have cars) because once you are signed up in the Emerald club you just walk out to the car park, choose a car and drive away. No counter paperwork or line up. 

Mndsm MegaDork
5/10/22 9:54 a.m.

In reply to bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) :

Full size was my goto- I have a rental spec versa in my personal fleet and I find it to be hateful over about 30miles. 


Edit- I should add, is renting beforehand any more cost effective? Is it cheaper through like, Priceline? Or do I just go and do it. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/10/22 9:56 a.m.

Double check prices at the airport and a standalone rental.  Usually airports are way more expensive for two reasons: convenience/demand and airport surcharges.  It's not cheap for the companies to occupy airport space and all that parking.

Look at Uhaul.  My bestie's daughter went to Hawaii with a car reserved and they canceled it when she got there and they realized she was 24 (instead of their requirement of being 25 to rent).  She rented a pickup from Uhaul instead.  No age requirement, cheaper, and more availability.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/10/22 9:59 a.m.

Use websites like Orbitz to check prices.  They at least combine all the major companies, there are often coupon codes, and it's easy one-stop shopping.

If you find that off-site (not airport) rentals are significantly cheaper, just research Uber to a cheaper spot.

jfryjfry SuperDork
5/10/22 10:14 a.m.

I have found that seems to give the best prices but definitely shop around.  

aaa and Costco might have some good deals as well. 

you can book your car in advance and cancel whenever with no penalty. (at least this has been my experience).  So look now, book now, lock in the early rate and decide later. 

there are also good reviews from the car sharing services like turo.   They are vrbo or airbnb for cars.  Might be easier/cheaper than rentals. 

and I have also heard that renting away from airports is cheaper but have never done it because every time I use on it's because I flew in and going off-site is a hassle and potential complications I'm ok paying to avoid. 

Lastly, consider buying a bicycle if you could make that work, freeing up the available car for the others


SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
5/10/22 10:25 a.m.

Sounds like you've got a lot going on.  Yes, you can probably save $3/day by shopping all kinds of websites, Costco, etc...  However, for the extra $20-$25 you might save, I'd just shop the major rental agencies right now and reserve the best price.  Budget, ERAC, etc...

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
5/10/22 10:29 a.m.

I just took a quick look at Dollar, they have a "mystery" size rental for $502 for the week, all in.  I've done that many times and the "mystery size" is typically a Corolla or slightly larger.  Not a bad rate.

Join their "grab and go" program, whichever rental company you choose.  It'll make the rental go much faster when you get to the airport.  It's free to join.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/10/22 10:58 a.m.

Considering that there is a supply and demand problem these days for rental cars, my recommendation is to not use a 3rd party for reservation but rather rent directly.  Then, if there is a problem, you are the rental company's genuine customer.  You are not the customer of Priceline with a problem with Avis where then Avis might tell you, "the problem is not us, it's Priceline."  Or, they might say, "you'll have to speak with Priceline for resolution."

Have a reservation before arriving.  Showing up w/o reservation could very well mean no car or "rape" rates.  

Hertz is a mess.  My experiences with Enterprise are less than perfect.  My best experiences have been Avis.  

Avis and Budget are the same ownership.  I would start with those two.  

Enterprise owns National and Alamo too.  National seems better than Enterprise.  


If you can avoid renting at the airport itself you could save significantly on taxes and tourist fees.  You know how Enterprise (and Avis) often have locations near the car dealerships.  If you can get a ride to there and not pick up or drop off at the airport, it can be as much as a $15 per day savings.  


I know you say you don't want a "hateful" vehicle.  The reality is going to be more that you're thankful to have any vehicle.  And, what till you see that for a large vehicle, they change nearly double that of a small vehicle.  $500 /wk vs $1k/wk.  

adam525i Dork
5/10/22 11:14 a.m.

See if your current auto insurance policy or credit cards give you insurance coverage for a rental as well. There is a good chance you already have coverage with your normal deductible without having to buy the rental companies insurance, this can really save you some money.

Like others have said, if you can get away from the airport rentals to another location you will likely save doing that.

Last time we were in Europe we rented in northern France to visit various WW1 sites, the convenient thing would be to rent at the train station and go from there but it was significantly less to get it from a remote lot using public transportation to get there. The remote lot turned out to be a gas station where it was pretty obvious Hertz had to make a special trip to drop a car off just for us that likely came from the airport or train station lol. Fortunately my partner speaks a bit of French which came in handy there, Bobzilla would have liked the car though, a Rio like his but with a 1.4l turbo diesel and 6 speed. 

Apexcarver UltimaDork
5/10/22 11:17 a.m.
dculberson MegaDork
5/10/22 11:18 a.m.

I also need a rental car soon, and looking on Turo there are all sorts of cool cars you can rent for not much more (or in some cases less) than the plain vanilla stuff from the big rental companies. There's more risk, but more reward and possibly more convenience. Some people will come get you, others you need to uber to the car. See if they offer a "meet you at your location" option.

I've never rented from Turo and have heard some nightmares but I might risk it for this trip. The ability to rent a Mustang GT premium convertible for $56/day is pretty dang tempting.

wake74 Reader
5/10/22 12:19 p.m.

I second the recommendation to absolutely NOT just hope for a rental at the airport.  I'm a fairly frequent corporate renter, and top tier with Hertz. Over the last two years, there have been numerous times where I couldn't get a rental on short notice, ie, a couple of days.  On a few of those occasions, I couldn't get a car with the corporate back-up, Enterprise and got stuck Ubering the entire trip.

I've never done Turo but would certainly consider it for a personal rental.  I always just worry about the logistics of meeting someone to pick up the car, with the nature of the constant flight delays and changes.



Mndsm MegaDork
5/10/22 4:14 p.m.

Ended up getting some sort of b class penalty box (probably a Corolla or Elantra, since they claim it's a focus....and Ford doesn't do those anymore) for about the same price as the cheapest car I could find in turo. I thought about doing the turo car for fun, but swmbo wasn't as excited about a golf wagon as I was. I think we did go through Disney, so we didn't do too bad. $400 otd for the week seemed fair for the fastest car in the world. 

RX Reven'
RX Reven' UltraDork
5/10/22 4:49 p.m.

Hi Mndsm,

FYI, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) international airport is effectively a combination of two separate airports (Lindbergh - Terminal 1 & Humphrey - Terminal 2)...two separate off ramps, the whole shebang.  


Fly Tucson Nonstop to/from Minneapolis-St. Paul


The big international carriers like Delta are at Lindbergh and the smaller domestic carriers like JetBlue are at Humphry.

Each terminal has their own car rental agencies and if I had a buck for every time I've witnessed somebody being told "wrong terminal, you've got to take the car back to XYZ" I'd be retired right now.

Minneapolis has an excellent light rail system with a highly convenient terminal right in the airport...I wouldn't hesitate to rent a car off airport anywhere the light rail goes and I image the off airport car rental agencies know this and setup shop along the light rail route.

Pre COVID, I commuted almost ever other week between California & Minnesota; love that state, nicest people you'd every want to meet but berk o' berkedly berk does it get cold.

1kris06 HalfDork
5/10/22 5:09 p.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

Has your phone number changed? You could possibly borrow my 2nd car if needed

Mndsm MegaDork
5/10/22 6:53 p.m.

In reply to 1kris06 :

My phone number lasted longer than my marriage lol. I still have it. Already have the car paid for and on deck, but I do appreciate the offer. 

Mndsm MegaDork
5/10/22 6:54 p.m.

In reply to RX Reven' :

Yeah....I'm deeply familiar with msp. I remember before it was the Lindbergh terminal even. I've only been out of the state for about 7 years. Also one of the few airports in the country that usually has pinball in it. 

APEowner UltraDork
4/28/23 8:20 a.m.

I've had really good luck with asking if there's something bigger available at the same price when I pick up at the desk.  With the vehicle shortage that might not work but it's worth the ask.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
6/10/23 9:22 a.m.

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