services 07.5.11

Rental Car Deals
Every Person in New York

You can drive yourself crazy getting different rates for the same type of car from different companies. You can also get different rates for the same type of car from the same company at different locations. Here are a few strategies to keep the costs down.

Rent outside Manhattan.
Almost anywhere outside of the city is going to get you a better rate than you can find here. Yes, it's less convenient, but if you're headed that way anyway, you can save real money without losing much time. By way of example, we priced a weekday rate from Hertz in the third week of July. Same day, same car type (compact), different locations, best rate:
Midtown, $100.49
184th Street/Bway, $70.99
Hoboken, $62.99

Check the web.
Car rental rates are like airline seats—the price is fluid. Check the web at sites like VroomVroomVroom, which compares rates and allows you to book through them. Retail Me Not tracks coupons and coupon codes for all kinds of businesses, including many car rental companies. And Independent Traveler keeps an excellent list of current rental deals.

Check your wallet.
In addition to corporate discounts, an AAA card, a frequent flyer card (even when you're not flying), associations like AARP, and some gold and platinum cards can all bring a discount. Generally speaking, you can only get one discount at a time, and we found that reservation agents don't always tell you which program gives you the steepest discount (the system is so complex that there is no way to keep up with the constantly fluctuating tariffs).

Rent from an independent.
At Aamcar, 315 W. 96th [WEA/RSD] 888.500.8460 or 506 W. 181st [Amst] 888.500.8480, you can rent a compact for $59.95 a day, unlimited miles (in the Tri-State area only) during the week. Look for other independents here.

Rent by the hour—or the week.
Sometimes if you need a car for, say, five days, it's cheaper to book for a week. But double check with the company if there's an 'early return' fee or some other gotcha. And of course for short hauls, there are hourly rates from Zipcar, Connect by Hertz, and Mint.

Some photos courtesy of

Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.

Broadway (from 2009)

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