Renting a car in New York is the best way to explore this beautiful state, and even other parts of New England! However, there are a few things you should know before you pick up your New York rental car. Follow along as we share some easy tips so you can have the best experience on your upcoming trip. Whether you’re renting a car in New York City or exploring a different part of the state, we got you covered!
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7 Tips For Renting a Car in New York
1. Planning Your Road Trip
The first thing to decide before booking your New York car rental is where you’re actually going! New York City is the likely starting point for travelers visiting from the USA or abroad. You can often find flight deals that are half-price compared to flying into other New York airports such as Albany International.
When booking any flight we always check Skyscanner first! This will compare all the different prices for you so you can figure out where to fly into.
Once you have your dates it’s time to start planing your trip to New York! Are you heading for the Adirondacks and Hamptons or spending a nice relaxing week on Lake George? How about just driving from town to town?
Your locations and how long you need to rent a car in New York for are all things to consider. Also, make sure to ask for the weekly rate as it is often a better deal!
2. Don’t Rent a Car For New York City!
One of the biggest tips we can give you is to not rent a car during your stay in New York City. Many people visiting New York will fly into the Big Apple first to see it. If you are spending some time in the city make sure not to pick up your New York rental car until the day you actually leave.
Trust us when we say you won’t actually need a car in New York City! In fact, it will actually be more of a pain than anything. Remember that parking is difficult and always expensive. The traffic is also not fun, and there are plenty of other ways to get around.
Take advantage of the city bikes, Uber, and other modes of transportation instead of renting a car in New York City. Even if you have to head back to the airport to get your car (the prices are sometimes cheaper) it’s still worth it to avoid having it in the city.
3. Finding the Best New York Rental Car
Obviously, if you’re flying into New York City and taking off from there you’re better off renting a car at the airport when you land. However, you should always compare companies to find the best deal.
We always search Discover Cars when renting a car in New York. We’ve found great weekly rentals as well as a one way deal when we wanted to finish our trip in Boston. It filters the best prices through dozens of different companies.
4. Time of Year
Another thing to look into before picking up your New York rental car is the time of year you’re visiting. If you haven’t been to the East Coast of the United States before know that there are four different seasons… And when we say the seasons can be harsh we mean it!
If you’re visiting in winter prepare for the possibility of driving in wild conditions. That means you may want to pay a little more for an SUV with 4 wheel drive rather than a flashy sports car.
The summer is also a popular time to rent a car in New York. Yet, don’t sleep on the fall either! The changing of the leaves brings in a mass of tourists who frolick to upstate New York.
Planning on traveling during the holidays or around the changing of the leaves? Be sure to book your car as far as possible in advance for the best deal.
5. One Way Car Rental in New York
When renting a car in New York it’s a great idea to look into a one way deal. This allows you to not only to see as much as possible, but to have the convenience of returning to wherever you’re ending your trip. You can even start in one state or city and end in another!
For instance, many travelers will look into renting a car in New York City plan on a road trip and returning back to JFK International Airport. Yet, if you want to see a whole other state (or multiple) why not start in Boston or Washington D.C.?
There is typically a one way fee to drop at a different location. Still, it may be worth it if you want to experience multiple places on your vacation.
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6. Tolls & Fees
Something to watch out for when renting a car in New York is the tolls. They are all over the highways and particularly expensive when you get towards the massive bridges heading in and out of New York City.
We recommend asking about them when you pick up your car. Some companies offer a daily toll rate while others do a pay as you go. There are actually manned toll booths now. Instead, cars are charged automatically and the toll pass comes with your vehicle.
It’s best to know what will happen beforehand so you won’t be surprised at the end or panicking when you drive through the tolls.
7. Checking for Damage
The last thing to watch out for is when you go to pick up your New York car rental. It’s so important to check for damage both in and outside of the car before you drive away. With many companies these days, they don’t even bother to walk around the car with you!
Even though they may give you assurances they know every inch of the car, still do your due diligence. Take pictures, have them mark the contract, and even make a video circling the vehicle.
As you can imagine, many of these cars have been through a lot! There’s no reason to put yourself or your insurance deductible at risk by not taking these simple steps beforehand.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re insured before renting a car in New York. Our credit card covers us whenever we’re renting vehicles. Yet, if you don’t have your own form of coverage you’ll want to purchase the additional insurance from the car rental company.
Have any questions on renting a car in New York or want to share your own fun road trip ideas? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
New York Travel Planning
Flights: We always find great flights using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around New York. Book a luxury brunch harbor cruise, skip the line at the Empire State Building, or go on a Manhattan helicopter tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!