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Should You Rent a Car, Take a Taxi Or Uber it?

Should You Rent a Car, Take a Taxi Or Uber it?

When it comes to getting around town, there are many options. From taxis, Uber, Lyft, car rentals, and public transit, among others, the choices can be overwhelming. When choosing your method of travel on your next vacation, be sure to take all of your needs into consideration.

Certain options are only right for certain situations. Busy cities have different circumstances than rural desert areas. Be the judge of what you’ll need during your travels and take the following into consideration:


You Won’t Be Crammed If You Rent

Traveling with more than four people? Four people with all of their luggage, bags, purses, and other belongings won’t fit comfortably inside a regular taxi or car service ride. By renting a car, you can choose the exact make and model that will fit the needs of your group.

Have lots of bags and suitcases? No problem. Rent an SUV, minivan, or large car and fit them all comfortable in the back.

The risk you’ll run with using a taxi or car service is you can’t be sure how much luggage space you’ll have. Taking public transit lugging your bags back and forth can be a nightmare. Prevent these problems by renting a car.

Car Services Will Save You Money

Keeping a tight budget? You’ll want to rely specifically on car services such as Uber or Lyft.

Both of these are apps that allow you to “order” a car. There are several options, but they can only be ordered immediately – not for dates and times in the future. You’ll need a smartphone with the app downloaded to use these services.

These services are considerably cheaper than traditional taxis, and studies show this is true in almost all major cities. Many discount codes exist — usually for first-time users — that give free rides or big discounts. Search for these before you take your first trip.

It’s important to note that Uber sometimes has a “surge” charge; these occur during busy times when there are lots of rides, and can jack up the price quite a bit. Be on the lookout for these times. Also make sure to check that Uber or Lyft is available in the places you’ll be visiting; it isn’t currently everywhere – yet.


Taxis Are Reliable

Need a for-sure ride? A taxi may be your best bet.

Time-sensitive trips to and from the airport, or important meetings, require the exact car you need at the exact time you want to leave.

Riders cannot “pre-order” Uber and Lyft rides. Rental cars can sometimes get sold-out last minute, or not have the size or model you need for your entire group.

While they are more expensive, book a taxi ahead of time to ensure you get to where you need to go on time.

 

Travel Long Distances in Rental Cars

Rental cars are a great option for those looking to travel long distances once they get to their destination.

For those looking to take long trips, such as ride up and down State Route 1 in California, an Uber or Lyft ride would be unreasonable.

While the average cost of renting an intermediate-sized car costs around $50-$70, according to a real-time estimate from the Uber app a ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles would cost an estimated $471-$627. That’s an expensive ride!


Don’t Pay For Parking or Gas

One of the downsides of renting cars is that you’ll have to pay for parking. In rural areas that aren’t so busy, parking might be free, and you won’t have this problem. But if you plan on staying in a big city, it will be best to stick with car services or taxis, as parking can run sometimes up to hundreds of dollars a day in the big cities.

Even though gas is technically included in the price of taxis and car services, you never have to actually pay for it – that is, you never have to take the car to the pump and fill it up.

Renting cars, though, can be a different story. While typically given a full tank of gas upon first rental, the car is usually expected to be returned with a full gas tank, meaning you’ll have to fill up with money out of your own pocket.


After weighing the pros and cons of each, decide which method of transportation will be best for you and your group.


If you need to make arrangements or reservations ahead of time, give yourself a big enough window of time so you’ll be all set upon arrival for a smooth, worry-free vacation.

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