Every destination is different for what is best to use for transportation. And where your accommodations are located within a destination can have a big influence on this too. For example, are you staying downtown or are you out in the suburbs? Likewise, what kinds of activities you plan to enjoy on your trip also can give you a different set of transportation needs. Taking all these things into consideration, sometimes you may think it’s best to rent a car, or to use public transportation, or to take cabs, or some kind of combination thereof. But another option to consider for a growing number of cities in the US and a few cities in Canada, the UK and Spain is Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network. And if you join now you can get $25 of FREE driving!
Of course Zipcar isn’t for everybody. If you think you would use it only one or two days a year then it probably wouldn’t be worth it to pay the $60 per year annual fee. But if you were to use it any more than that then I’d say it’s definitely something to consider. Because after that $60 fee you only pay hourly rates as low as $8 or daily rates that start at $83. These rates include gas, insurance and up to 180 miles per day of usage. These fees likewise include the cost of your designated parking space which can be a significant savings if you were to use Zipcar in a city that has really high parking fees like New York.
Likewise, if you are staying pretty far from the center of the city, then Zipcar may not work well for you. They understandably have the cars positioned in higher population density areas, i.e. in the central parts of cities.
But again, if you’ll be staying near the center of town, don’t have easy access to efficient public transportation, and don’t need constant access to a car for multiple days in a row which may make renting a car more economical, then Zipcar could be the least expensive way to go.
So how does it work? Well after signing up online and getting your Zipcard in the mail, you can easily reserve a car online or on a smart phone for a few hours or an entire day. Then just walk to the car and waive your Zipcard over the windshield for a few seconds and the door unlocks for you automatically. The car keys are in the car itself, so all you have to do is drive off. Sweet and simple.
There are of course some caveats. For one, you will need to return the car to where you picked it up – no one-way trips. If you end up needing the car longer than you had expected you can extend your time as long as the car isn’t already reserved by someone else. Otherwise you will pay $50 per hour late fees on top of the additional regular fees.
All in all, Zipcar is another great service to consider when trying to minimize your travel costs. Because if you are like us, the more you can save on transportation costs or any other costs associated with travel the longer you can stay on the road and the more interesting places you can go to.