As travel optimism continues to grow amid updated CDC guidelines, vaccine availability and state reopenings, AAA travel counselors see significant interest in pre-season car rental bookings. summer trips. However, travelers keen to hit the road may experience high costs and limited availability due to disruption from the pandemic.
A slowdown in auto sales during the pandemic and now a shortage of semiconductor chips has resulted in a domino effect with auto manufacturing delays and inventory shortages from car rental companies as demand for domestic road travel grows. increases.
AAA travel advisors have also noted another trend where demand for local car rentals is increasing as people don’t think their vehicles are ready for a road trip. As a result, rentals in Virginia could also be impacted.
According to the AAA Leisure Travel Index, average daily car rental rates have doubled, with prices reaching $ 134 per day. But even as the national average has doubled, some destinations are being hit hard with daily prices ranging from $ 250 to $ 600 or more reported at some rental airports across the country.
“Car travel will be the main driver of the travel recovery as summer approaches,” said Morgan Dean, spokesperson for the AAA. âWith growing interest in a great United States road trip experience, AAA encourages travelers to plan to ensure lower costs and availability for their trip.
AAA expects a significant rebound in travel this summer, as evidenced by the results of an exclusive survey of Virginians which found that 62% of those polled are considering or planning to take a trip this summer. Additionally, the survey found that 51% of Virginians plan to travel for a quick getaway or a longer, more extravagant trip.
AAA offers the following tips on how travelers can plan:
- Book early. Block all rental car reservations when booking flights, hotels and other initial travel arrangements.
- Work with a travel counselor. They can help you find discounts and research bundled travel options that could make your rental cheaper when combined with other travel costs.
- Use AAA for free COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik for the latest information to help you plan your trip.
- If possible, stay flexible with your travel dates. Weekly rentals may be cheaper than daily weekend rates. Some rental companies may offer you a refund for unused days if you return the vehicle early.
- Consider off-airport locations, which are often cheaper than renting at the airport. Be sure to inquire about the location’s times in relation to your flight, and factor in the cost of transportation from the rental location to the airport.
- Need some road trip ideas? AAA has compiled our favorite Great American Road Trip planning resources, backed by over 100 years of road-tested experience and expertise, into a website, AAA.com/RoadTrip. This free resource will help travelers find inspiration, explore destinations, plan the perfect itinerary, and prepare for their vehicle trip.
- Prepare your vehicle. If you can’t hire a car and need to use your vehicle for the trip, take it to a trusted repair center with Approved auto repair (AAR) or by visiting one of the AAAs Auto maintenance centers for a vehicle maintenance check.