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Road Trip 101: When To Bring Your Car and When to Rent a Vehicle

When organizing a road trip, your vehicle of choice can make or break the entire experience for you and your companions. One of the biggest decisions you would have to make is whether to bring your own car or to rent a vehicle with driving services included, such as a charter bus.

To help you reach the best decision, assess your needs and preferences by asking these five questions.

 1. How many people will be traveling with you?

The size of your traveling party should be your first consideration. If you’re going solo or with a small group, then taking your car or renting a family-sized RV would be the more logical choice. On the other hand, renting a shared vehicle is better than taking several cars on a convoy when traveling as a big group. If you compute the costs of a chartered bus service, for instance, you’d find that it is more economical than lining up several private vehicles going to the same destination. This way, the group can pay less by splitting the costs of fuel, toll fees, and other expenses.

 2. How long will you be on the road?

Long-haul road trips can be very taxing for your car, not to mention exhausting for the designated driver. If it’s just a 3-day road trip, you may be able to tough it out driving, but any longer than that and you might find it hard to enjoy your vacation after driving too much. Either find a friend who can share drivers’ duties with you, or rent a vehicle service that includes a professional driver. This will allow you to sit back and completely enjoy the road trip without getting too tired.

 3. How many stops are you planning to take?

Long trips would not be much of an issue for you or your car if you’re amenable to staying at inns and hotels at specific junctures of your trip. Sometimes, a good night’s rest is all you need to energize for another couple of days driving, so consider this if you really want to take your own car on your trip. On the other hand, if you’re pressed for time and are hoping to stick to a packed schedule without having too many rest stops, you might want to rent a driving and car rental service to ease the pressure off of you.

 4. Is your car in top shape?

Always keep in mind that if you do decide to take your own car, you have to be prepared for the very real possibility of your car breaking down right in the middle of your trip. Bring an emergency kit and never venture out without a spare tire and the necessary basic knowledge on how to keep your car in top shape while on a road trip. However, if your car is prone to breakdowns, renting a vehicle might be a safer option. Nothing ruins a good road trip like getting stranded somewhere you never planned on staying too long in, so better ditch the headache and leave it all to the pros.

 5. Do you have roadside insurance?

A related consideration would be whether or not you have the necessary coverage for roadside accidents or breakdowns. Most car insurance companies bundle this on their policies, but it’s always better to be sure. If you have it, then you might feel more secure about bringing your own car, since you’d have your coverage provider to back you up should any unwanted incidents happen while you’re on the road.

Now, if you don’t have roadside assistance coverage, you have to either sign up or pay for one before you drive your car on a long-haul trip, or simply rent a different vehicle.

In conclusion

The decision will ultimately depend on what you want to prioritize on your trip, may it be convenience, affordability, enjoyment, or peace of mind. The important thing is not to make any rash decisions before you’ve asked yourself the five questions listed and discussed in this article.

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