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All you need to know about one-way car hire

COVID-19 Update

One-way car hire is now a hot topic as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With flights cancelled across the world and other forms of public transportation restricted, many are wondering if hiring a car is the only way they can get home. 

One-way car hire very well could be your way around cancelled flights. Most hire facilities in affected countries are still open, even those at airports. You should be sure to check the current working hours before booking a car, though, as many companies have reduced their hours and it is currently impossible to pick up a car out-of-hours.  

Social distancing is a buzzword, currently. This may be hard to do if you are just trying to get home. Even if your flight hasn’t been cancelled, but you are wary of going to the airport or sitting in a plane with a hundred or more other people, hiring a car for a one-way trip may save you lots of anxiety and keep you healthy. Imagine sitting in a car with you and your family instead of a plane full of people. For many with compromised immune systems, this could be very crucial at this time. 

Note: You should be sure to check the current situation before booking a car. Many countries in Europe have closed their borders to foreigners. Thus, if you would have to drive through a third country to reach your destination, it may not be possible. 

One-way hire is currently still possible between states in the United States. 

How one-way car hire works

One-way car hire is, in fact, quite simple for you the hirer. All you have to do is search for a car with a pickup in one location and a dropoff in another. That’s it, you pick up the car in one place and drop it off in another. This could be in the same city, in another city, or in another country (mostly in Europe). The hire company will take care of the logistics of moving cars around. 

The only thing you need to be aware of before hiring a car for one-way travel is the fee. One-way hires usually, but not always, come with an added fee. This fee is paid to the hire company when picking up the car. We earn no commission off of this fee. 

In every offer, we specify what the one-way fee is so that you know how much the hire will cost. Sometimes, the fees may be low. When travelling to a different country, the fee may be much higher. But since we include the fee in the price you see when searching, you don’t have to worry about any type of surprise. What you see is what you will pay. 

Use to find a one-way car hire

Our site is the best place to find a one-way hire. It is simple to search if hires are possible between your destinations of choice. Unlike others, we include one-way fees in the total price making it simple to compare offers. And if you can’t find what you are looking for on our website, we have customer support standing by ready to help you. 

How to find a one-way car hire

Searching for a one-way hire on our website could not be simpler. Simply uncheck the box: “Return car in the same location.”

Then simply enter the location where you would like to drop off the car at the end of your hire.

The search results will list the available cars for your selected route. And don’t worry, the prices include the one-way hire fee, so there is no need to calculate and compare. 

Finally, on the booking page, you will see a breakdown of the hire costs into the hire rate and the one-way fee. Note that we the one-way fee is paid for when picking up the car and directly to the hire company. 

Avoiding one-way car hire fees

Unfortunately, one-way hire fees are the one fee that it is almost impossible to avoid. The car hire company will have to relocate the car after you drop it off, therefore they must charge a fee for this. In some cases, you may find some companies have lower fees than others.

There are only a few exceptions to this. There are some routes that are much more popular going one direction than the other. For these routes, if you hire a car and travel in the opposite direction, the car hire company may waive the usual one-way fee to have you relocate the car for them. This not only depends on the popularity of the route but also the season. 

Most popular one-way car hire routes in Europe

The most popular one-way hires in Europe are actually within countries. The fees for these hires are much lower than those of international one-way hires. 

Porto - Lisbon - Travel between the two largest cities in Portugal is extremely popular. And when hiring a car, travellers can experience all there is to see and do in between. Of course, why bother to make the return trip when you can just hire a car one way. The savings in gas alone should make up for the one-way fee.

France - Italy - The two most popular countries for tourists visit Europe make for a great one-way trip. Start in historic Paris, drive to the Mediterranean coast, swing through the Alps, all before ending in legendary Rome. Who wouldn’t want to travel such a glorious route?

Switzerland - Italy - This is another classic trip. Traverse the Alps and travel between modern Switzerland and historic Italy. Stop and visit some of the best ski resorts in the world in the winter or hike through the gorgeous scenery in the summer. And hiring a car one way, you don’t have to worry about the arduous return trip!

Most popular one-way car hire routes in the United States and Canada

Los Angeles to San Francisco - The most popular one-way car hire route in the United States is that between California’s largest metropolitan areas. Though with the most direct route (I-5) the drive takes six hours, it’s certainly worthwhile to take longer and drive along the Pacific Coast. 

Orlando to Miami - The two most popular cities to visit in Florida make for one of the most popular one-way routes in the country. Travellers can visit the theme parks of central Florida first, then head to Cape Canaveral to experience the history of the American Space Program, before heading to the beaches and luxury of Miami. Of course, a jaunt down to Key West is also a popular part of this trip. 

New York to Chicago - The largest and thor-largest cities in the country make for a great one-way trip. Fly into New York and then head across to the Midwest and Chicago. The drive can be done in a day, but it’s better to plan multiple days to be able to stop in the various states on the way. 

Vancouver - Calgary - One of the more popular routes in Canada is to travel from the west coast city of Vancouver through the Rock Mountains to Calgary in Alberta. Taking this route allows travellers to pass through and gander at some of the most stunning scenery in the world. 

FAQ About One-Way Car Hire

Is it possible to hire a car in one location and drop it off in another?

Yes, one-way hires are available in many countries and locations. In the United States, it is possible to travel one-way between cities. In Europe, it is possible to hire a car in one country and drop it off in another. 

Do I need to book a one-way hire in advance?

Yes, you must specify what location you would like to pick the car up at and where you would like to drop it off when booking the car. Specifying this when searching will let you know the availability and the amount of the one-way fee.

Is it possible to avoid one-way car hire fees?

In general, it is not possible to avoid one-way fees. Count on having to pay a fee if you want to hire a car for one-way travel. 

How will I know how much the fee will be?

When searching on our website and entering in the pick-up and drop-off locations you are interested in, the one-way fees will be included in the prices on the search results. On the booking page, you will see a breakdown of that fee.

Can I drop off the car anywhere?

No, you must book a one-way hire in advance and specify where you would like to drop off the car. It may not possible to drop off the car in all locations.

Where is one-way car hire popular?

One-way hires are popular between cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe. International one-way hires are usually only possible in the European Union. 

Is it more expensive to hire a car one way?

The short answer is yes. Car hire companies almost always charge a one-way fee in addition to the normal daily rate. This is normally a one-time fee that doesn’t depend on the length of the hire. 

Are international one-way car hires more expensive than domestic?

In most cases, the one-way fee for international one-way hires is much higher than that of domestic ones. This is because the hire company needs to return the car to its original country which would be costly. 

Where are international one-way hires available?

International one-way hires are mostly only available in Europe. It is not possible to hire a car in the United States and drop it off in Canada or vice versa. One-way hires to or from Mexico are also not available. 

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