It’s a difficult decision. It really is. On one hand, you might be spending less money initially, but on the other hand it is a lot less stressful. Taking your own car or selecting a rental to travel in has a lot of variables to consider. Now we would hate for you to get a headache trying to think about everything involved, so here’s a little list to help you out.
Gas: mile by mile
To figure out whether renting or using your own car will cost less money, you have to know the mpg of each car, the total miles you’ll be traveling, and the average price of gas in the area you will be going. Alright, take the average price of gas per gallon, say $2.88, and apply it to your car’s mpg. Assuming you have an average older car (2006 sedan or something), it probably gets about 30mpg on the highway. This means it costs $2.88 to go 30 miles; simple math and I’m sure you could figure that out…hopefully. If not, take your $2.88 and divide it by 30 to get the price per mile. Can anyone tell me what we should get??? Anyone? Come on now. I believe in you! No? Okay. About $0.10 a mile. (Do the same for the rental and compare the two). That might not sound bad but if you have to pay more for gas, *cough cough California cough cough*, then you will have to pay more. The same goes for worse gas mileage. Even if you do only pay $0.10 a mile, a trip from Phoenix to LA and back is 744 miles, not including city driving. That alone is $74 and ANY city driving will add heaps to your gas bill. But gas isn’t the only consideration.
Wear and tear: we’re not talking about crying trousers
You also have to take into thought the amount of wear and tear your car will endure and how much money that will cost you. Between extra oil changes, tires, and various other car fluids, there probably is an exact price for your car. I do not know what car you have though, so I can’t really tell you. Each car’s oil, air filters, tires, etc. all cost different amounts. A 2009 Honda Civic part or fluid change will not cost the same as a 2009 Audi a4. It’s simply a matter of luxury cars have luxury replacements and common cars have common replacements.
Comfort: it’s a vacation after all
Assuming you will be driving or sitting in the car for a long period of time, you probably want to be comfortable. If your personal car happens to be very comfortable and rides smooth, then maybe that could go under your “reasons to take own car” list. However, if you know the car you want to rent is even more comfortable and even smoother ride, then maybe you would put that on the “reasons to rent” list. So as far as comfort goes, it really just depends on what you prefer and are comfortable with. Think of this factor as a tipping point if the price is even somehow or you’re split on what to do.
Spending money: one way or another you’re going to have to
I hate to say it, but, you’re going to have to dish it out if you want to go on a road trip, vacation, or do anything, really. If you take your own car, you have to pay for any repairs down the road, tires, fluid changes, etc. If you decide on renting, you will have to rent the car. . . I know, what a shock. . . and also buy renters insurance if you so choose. My point is that neither way is going to be cheap. Cars are expensive and that’s just the reality we live in. BUT, if you take the time, you can figure out which option is the cheapest, leaving all the more cash to spend on food, tickets, and souvenirs. There are even trip, travel, and rental calculators on the internet that will help you decide on what to do. The main thing to remember though, is to have fun and drive safe.