Friday February 10th, 2012
MILWAUKEE/GENERAL MITCHELL AIRPORT (MKE)
Douglas “Chuck” Booth (Baseball Writer)– Just to give everybody a bit of background here, I have rented cars for 4 years and 6 months straight. I do courier work for a living. I have found that the unlimited mileage that car rentals give you are a lifesaver. I am not going to bore with huge mathematical details yet. What I will do is breakdown my knowledge for baseball road trips. Depending on where you live is the big determining factor in where you should rent a car from. For the Central to Midwest, this means doing any number of these parks: Minnesota, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago (AL), Chicago (NL). Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland- you should arrange for your trip to start off and end in Milwaukee.
Not only is the Airport cheapest for airfares (seewww.airtran.com for a lot of early non-stop fares for in the $100 range). The airport also features the cheapest car rentals in the country. The only other airport in the ballpark is Cleveland (CLE) or Akron/Canton. Milwaukee features rentals for about $23 a day ($160 for a week). The average distance between these cities are about 250-350 miles. Most people do not realize that depreciation on their own vehicle averages about 9 cents a mile alone. Repairs are also about the same. So you are looking at $50-60 per day to operate your own vehicle on these trips. Even if you pay the $10-12 extra a day in full insurance for a rental, you are still way ahead in Milwaukee with $30-35 cost per day. Most credit cards also have insurance packages though, so check with your financial institutions to lessen the dollar hit to the wallet. If you are in the West Coast, you are better to rent in Los Angeles or Oakland if your trip exceeds 3 days. The Eastern Seaboard does not feature many cheap car rental airports, BWI in Baltimore or DCA in Washington seem to have the best rates. Amtrak Train and Light Rail in each of the big cities is a cheaper way to travel up I-95 from Maryland to New York.
A key factor in renting cars is that they usually have better mileage than most people’s cars. Unless your car is under 2 years old, it is highly unlikely that you automobile will have less gas mileage than these rental cars. Another great thing is that if anything goes wrong with the vehicle mechanically, the car company instantly gives you a new vehicle at the next possible city. You will not be stuck in a city because your car overheated and it is Sunday. This concept gives you less hassle than risking your own car. Yes there are definite exceptions to this rule. The more people you travel with will affect these numbers in declining motion. If it is a travel party of 1-3 you are in the majority for road trips. If you are traveling with more than 3, chances are you are better off in your own vehicle as SUV’S through van sizes exponentially drive up the rental rateS. A good economy/compact car is what you want for fuel efficiency. For National Car Rental the car most frequently rented for the last four years has been the Ford Focus sedan. For Thrifty Car Rental, they run with the Toyota Fleet, so you can expect a heavy dose of Corolla’s, Matrix’s or the Toyota Yaris. Avis has a nice diverse selection for fuel efficiency, of late the car most popular has been the Kia Soul.
I have rented from every car company there is. In the United States, I rate National/Alamo as the highest for overall price and value. Avis is Second, and the rest of the pack trails behind.
Bidding on your cars for Priceline is the way to go for paying a serious discount. Unlike Hotels where they can put you in any old hotel, or winning bid flights that can have you fly out of your city at any time, winning a car bid has you in the same place when you win a bid. Most airports have car rental transportation centers. From my experience, National/Alamo will be the company that will offer the lowest bid more so than the other companies anyway. Take advantage of this bidding. I will have a whole future blog on Priceline, so stay tuned.
The last point is to search the internet for discount codes. You should also look in your cities Entertainment Books as a lot of the car companies have coupons listed within. I have given you some links & codes here to get you started.
TOP CAR RENTAL PLACES
Avis Rewards Program www.avisfirst.com
Car Rewards Thrifty Rewards Program https://www.thrifty.com/BlueChip/SignIn.aspx
(Thrifty gives you one free rental day for every 16 days you rent a car.)
Codes updated all of the time http://www.mousesavers.com/national.html
National Rewards Program https://www.nationalcar.ca/index.do?action=emcIndex.do&type=cazl-withnav-header
When you qualify for free rentals at National Car Rental they have the best benefits to exchange them in. Like I said last week, the best thing about the free day rental w/National is that you can use the one-way option from airport to airport (within 24 hour windows). Should you amass 20 of them in a year like me, you can hop city to city and just keep renewing at a new airport every 24 hours.
This is my reasoning on why you shouldn’t take your own car on big road trips. Please feel free to comment, as I will respond to your questions!
*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Chuck’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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