Category Archives: car rental

Why is it so expensive to rent a car at the Phoenix airport? And is Fox rental ok?

Little did I know when I booked cheap plane tickets to fly to Phoenix (rather than to Tucson, our ultimate destination) that we’d have to spend an arm and a leg on a car rental but it’s starting to look that way. In Nashville, we rented a car for $22 a day – our bill for three days came to just under $70. In Phoenix, the mainstay companies like Thrifty were charging $290 for a week (we need the car for only 5 days) which wasn’t great but that turned out to be the “base rate” – with various fees the total comes to a whooping $430. (Which we didn’t find out until we actually reserved the car.)  So we are looking at smaller rental companies like Fox, Payless and Sixt. I reserved a car from Fox and was assured that the final rate is $262. Of course I’m a little suspicious – since I’ve never heard of this company. I’ve looked them up on various travel websites and they get mixed reviews but generally okay ones in Phoenix. The other issue is our flight gets in very late – close to midnight so some companies aren’t open at that hour (sadly that includes Enterprise, which gave us the good deal in Nashville.) We also get in too late (11:51 p.m.) to probably make the last shuttle van to Tucson at 12:15 a.m. NEWS FLASH: just heard from my dad and his wife – they’ve decided to pick us up at the airport, which is very kind, especially given the late hour. So no car rental!

All this reminds me of a trip many years ago – 25 or so – when we rented a car from “Sisters Rental Car” in Morocco. It turned out okay although we were a bit nervous, especially driving the car – which was a flimsy number that looked like an over-sized sardine can with a wire coat hanger in the dashboard, that served as the gear shift – way up into the Atlas Mountains south of Fez.

Toubkal Mountain in Toubkal National Park in the High Atlas


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Rental car complexities

So I’m renting a car for a three-day visit to Nashville because the guidebooks recommend it – and we follow guidebooks these days on this kind of stuff – so I’m once again trying to decide if any of the many coupons I have for rental car discounts make sense to use. And I’m trying to discern the REAL cost of a rental (once the various local taxes and surcharges are added on.) So far, I’ve decided to use Enterprise primarily because it came up cheapest in a Kayak search (even if the Enterprise coupon I have saves me only a whopping $6.) But I’m wondering why it’s so much cheaper than the nearest competitor (about $65 vs. $110) and what the ultimate add-on charges will be. Still, we have had good experiences renting from Enterprise in the past, most recently in New Orleans, so why switch?

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Renting a car in Panama – maybe not so cheap

A reader let me know today that the car rental in Panama will probably be closer to $140 for three days once you factor in mandatory insurance. She tells me we can email or call the car rental place for details. And that when in Panama, she rents a four-wheel drive car like a Subaru or Diahatsu so she can better explore off-the-beaten track roads. Good to know!


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Renting a car in Panama – can it be so cheap?

I just rented a car in David, Panama for three days in February- the price: $70. Thinking that couldn’t possibly be right, I looked at another car rental agency and found the same car for: $80. I’m still trying to figure out if we can drop the car in Almirante (en route to Bocas del Toro) or if we need to return it to David and take a shuttle or bus to Almirante. Can’t seem to figure this out online. Also need to look a more closely at whether we need insurance (we don’t usually buy from car rental agency since our insurance covers…)


Filed under car rental, Panama