7 Top Things to Know Before Renting a Car in New York

Renting a Car in New York

Renting a car in New York is the best way to explore this beautiful state, and even 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!

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!

Renting a Car New York State

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.

Renting a Car in New York 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.

Best New York Rental Car

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. 

New York Rental Car Tips

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. 

→ 20 Best Things to do in Burlington Vermont On Your First Visit

→ Planning a Visit to the Berkshires: 10 Step Fun & Easy Travel Guide

→ 18 Fun Things to Do in Newport Rhode Island 

Rental Car in New York

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 no 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. 

Renting a Car in New York 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.

Renting a car New York City

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!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar


Where to Stay in New York City

NoMadHotel Giraffe by Library Hotel Collection – Boutique hotel with a rooftop garden and quick walk to Union Square Park and Chelsea. The hotel is decorated with classic photos from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  

TribecaFour Seasons Hotel New York Downtown – Historic high-end hotel in the heart of New York. Close to the Brooklyn Bridge and Seaport District. 

Little Italy NobleDEN Hotel – Great location in the Italian district and steps from Ferrara Bakery and Chinatown. Some of the rooms have a terrace or balcony which is not common in the city!

Times SquareLUMA Hotel – Modern design with bright bold patterns which reflect the energy of the area. Great place to stay near all the action of Times Square.

ChelseaThe Hotel Chelsea – Built in in the 1800’s with history reflected in its unique style. Known as one of the best historic hotels in the city.

East Village The Bowery Hotel – Beautiful boutique hotel with floor to ceiling windows and an industrial loft design. Ideal location in one of the most popular neighborhoods in NYC.

Hudson Yards – Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards New York City – Plush accommodation with a sleek design. Rooms range from deluxe to scenic skyline suites. 


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New York Car

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!

*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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