Some of the best heartfelt pre-video game memories were made on family road trips. Families would pile into the station wagon or minivan, with the cargo carrier filled with clothes and supplies. Yes, there were arguments and mom or dad saying things like, “Don’t make me pull over!” There were also songs and road games like the license plate games, I Spy and twenty questions. Of course, with all that family time, there was always the inevitable question from the backseat, “Are we there yet?” There were also getting-to-know-each-other discussions and heartfelt expressions of love, not to mention debates and the sharing of knowledge. Yes, these trips provided great memories and rejuvenated family connections.
Today, for various reasons, many of us own smaller cars. For those long trips, it often makes sense to rent a larger car, SUV or van which provides more feet room and necessary comfort to facilitate patience and positive attitudes.
Fortunately, it’s easy to rent a vehicle. Enterprise-Rent-A-Car alone has 6000 locations, but there are many car rental agencies across the country; many of which are nationwide such as ACE, Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Rent-a-Wreck and Thrifty Car Rental. Each of these agencies has a multitude of car brands and sizes in a wide range of prices.
Of course there are some logistics you’ll want to think about, which will raise the price some. The original price quoted is not the final charge. In some cases, there will be a vehicle license fee, an alternative highway use tax, targeted tax area tax, rental vehicle taxes, etc. You’ll want to consider purchasing a loss damage waiver (LDW), sometimes referred to as collision damage waiver (CDS) which covers the costs of damage to the rental vehicle in the event of an accident. Another option is supplemental liability insurance (SLI), which is insurance to cover the possibility of an accident in which those other than the renter and renter’s passenger are injured or their vehicles are damaged. To cover the costs of injury or vehicle damage for the renter and passengers there’s personal accident insurance (PAI). In addition, there’s also personal effects coverage (PEC) to cover the loss of personal belongings. Talk to the car rental agency to see how much or how little, depending on the trip you’re taking and for how much peace of mind you’re willing or required to pay.
Many car rentals don’t have GPS, so you’ll want to be sure to either bring your own portable GPS, or a smart phone with a GPS application installed. Of course, there are also printed instructions from Google Maps, MapQuest, or the like. Oh, and remember those old fashioned things called maps? In any event, it makes sense to buy one, just in case.
Perhaps you have fond memories of childhood road trips, or perhaps you just want your family to have their own. Either way, it’s always important to remember that a little preparation goes a long way to ensuring that your family has a worry-free journey, during which you’ll be ready for anything. More importantly, the only other things you’ll need to worry about is keeping everyone entertained and reigniting and re-nurturing family ties.