Automobile

What’s Your Wildest Rental Car Experience?

A couple of weeks ago, Tarikh Campbell traveled to New Jersey to visit family and rented a 2020 Toyota Camry from Avis. Sometime that evening, it was mysteriously towed away and returned to the airport; Campbell was baffled to find it missing. A nightmare of phone calls and investigations followed, and Avis ultimately released Campbell from blame and apologized earlier this week.

This story made me wonder: what was your most, shall we say, interesting experience with rental cars and rental car companies?

When I was growing up, there were only a handful of options for travelers: you rented a car, jumped on public transportation, or you took a taxi. Now there are personal cars to rent like an AirB2B for vehicles, major and discount car rental companies, last-minute reservations warehouse sites, ridesharing (Lyft, Uber, et al), and even scooters if you’re traveling light. That doesn’t mean that car rental companies are going away; they’re still very much in demand, especially as travel picks up again. You can rent one if you can find one and don’t mind paying premium prices right now.

I remember one time my sister and I flew to Florida with my mom and a family friend with her daughter for spring break. Back then, Mom favored Lincoln Town Cars when she rented a vehicle, and when we arrived at the parking spot a giant purple monstrosity was there to greet us. My teenage self was mortified. Every time Mom dropped us off at the beach to wander the shops and walk on the sand, we asked to get out two blocks away so no one would see us in the Great Purple Beast. On the other side of the spectrum, Avis once upgraded me to a Mustang convertible for a business trip in California, and that was glorious. There is balance in the universe sometimes. 

What kinds of rental car stories do you have? I’m sure there are some good ones out there, so join us in the comments to hit us with your best (and worst) memories.

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