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USA TODAY

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Apr 12, 2021
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Travelers in several vacation destinations, including Hawaii; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Orlando, Florida, have reported recent problems with availability, prices, and long airport check-in lines to pick up the car. AutoSlash, a car rental search site that applies discount codes, coupons, and other promotions to help travelers save money, said 18 of 20 airports in Florida were sold out of cars during many spring break weekends.

When the coronavirus pandemic devastated the travel industry, car rental companies responded by shedding cars in their fleets, just as airlines did with planes. Rental giant Hertz, which also owns the Dollar and Thrifty brands, was forced to file for bankruptcy reorganization in May 2020 and quickly started selling thousands of used cars in its fleet.

Now that many people are returning to travel, the limited number of new cars available due to computer chip shortage and the sharp increase in demand form the perfect storm for sky-high car rental prices.

If you're planning a trip, there are a number of things you can do to deal with this problem according to Smarter Travel:
1. Book as far ahead as possible
2. Go during off-peak season
3. Ask local car dealers for non-advertised rentals
4. Check Costco, AutoSlash, Priceline
5. Try carsharing through Zipcar or Turo
6. Take taxis or shuttles
7. Book an excursion with a tour rental company
8. Use bike-sharing services

Sources:
  • USA Today
  • Smarter Travel
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