Hitting the Road: Rent a Car or Drive Your Own?

Hardly anything can replicate the excitement of going on a trip. However, the initial euphoria is soon replaced with the stress of dealing with logistics. You need to prepare and organise all the stuff and equipment you are about to bring, choose your designated vehicle and decide whether it is suitable to use your own car or go for the rental. Numerous sites such as offer a number of vehicles to choose from, so that might help you out in your decision making process. The decision such as this depends on several important factors and scenarios, so before hitting the road, you need to decide whether to rent a car or drive your own.

A car for a singular purpose

Can you afford to own two vehicles? You might want to invest in a robust and durable vehicle; it doesn’t have to be a looker, just to get the job done. The car with a strong framework and moving parts that are easy to maintain can pay off fairly fast if you’re an avid adventurer who likes to embark on long road trips. One more issue is the car seats. When traveling with little ones, I usually opt for driving my own car so I don’t have to move the car seats around.

This completely eliminates the need to use a rental, but the kicker is that rarely anyone has the luxury (space included) to own such a car. In that case, it all comes down to the matters of weighing issues and possibilities. 

Tire wear and tear

The length of the trip is a significant factor that may tip the scales in favour of a rented vehicle, especially if the terrain gets rough. Still, it all depends on whether you already own a robust SUV, a bulky RV or an all-around durable car and what works best for the trip itself. Make sure that your vehicle can handle the road and replace anything that might give out and leave you stranded far from help. If you have a habit of taking good care of your car, you might be able to get away with just a change of tires before the trip. Of course, you should always be on the lookout for a good deal and waiting for a reliable seller to offer a tyre promotion is a good strategy that can save you a pretty penny.

The crash factor

Still, tires might not be the only wear and tear issue that depends on the destination. It is not that uncommon to crash a vehicle on long and arduous trips, especially if you’re not familiar with the terrain; you might wonder whether the scenario is worse if the crashed car is rented. For one, these sorts of crashes rarely total the vehicle. However, if you crash a rental, the hit on your wallet might be the one that hurts more. Still, the upside of this is that you still have a functional car to bring back home, which is an invaluable factor if you need to drive to work every day.

A matter of size

Should you decide to go for the rental, the size of the car can reduce the price significantly. The smaller you go – the lower the price, but this can also truly limit your luggage capacity. In this regard, you’ll have to rely on your own pair of eyes to assess the size of the car that you require since rental companies tend to use their own size designations which can vary from one company to another and the size tags do not necessarily correspond to the ones standardised by the car-making companies.

Think about comfort

If you plan to hit the road for a week or longer, you need to think about your own comfort. In fact, this is often the factor that trumps all others. Right off the bat, your own car is probably the environment in which you feel most comfortable for a few reasons. One, it’s a familiar place, and two, you have ‘broken into it’ like it’s a well-worn pair of shoes. Alternatively, a rental can be a more comfortable environment if you require a bigger car for your road-trip purposes. For example, if there are companions joining you for the vacation and you need to pack some extra equipment, a bigger rental car may be a more prudent option.

Deciding on a rental or your own vehicle might seem like a throwaway choice, but it can actually determine whether the vacation will become a minefield of frustration. It’s not only about the financial bottom line – you need to consider terrain, distance, luggage and – it goes without saying – your own level of driving experience. Whichever you choose, cover yourself with reliable insurance so you can enjoy your vacation by truly kicking back and savouring every second.

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