June 23. 2021 — As travel optimism continues to grow amid updated CDC guidance, vaccine availability, and state re-openings, AAA travel advisors are seeing significant interest in bookings for car rentals heading into the summer travel season. However, travelers eager to hit the road may encounter high costs and limited availability due to pandemic-related disruptions.
A slowdown in auto sales during the pandemic and now a shortage of semi-conductor chips has led to a domino effect with auto manufacturing delays and rental car company inventory shortages as demand for domestic road travel grows.
AAA travel advisors have also noted another trend where the demand for local car rentals is increasing as people do not feel their vehicles are road-trip ready. As a result, rentals in the Miami Valley area may also be impacted.
According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, average daily car rental rates have doubled with prices topping out at $134 a day. But even as the national average has doubled, some destinations are getting hit much harder with daily prices ranging from $250 to $600 or more reported at some airport rental locations across the country.
“Road trips will be the biggest drivers of travel recovery heading into summer,” says Micki Dudas, Managing Director, AAA Leisure Travel. "With interests growing for a great American 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 Ohioans that reveals 61% of respondents are considering or planning to take a trip this summer.* Additionally, the survey found that 57% of Ohioans plan on traveling for either a quick getaway or a longer, more extravagant trip.
AAA Members Enjoy Exclusive Rental Car Benefits and Savings
AAA members can enjoy discounts up to 20% when booking with Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty. Members can take advantage of more discounts such as an additional qualified AAA driver for free (savings of $13.50 per day per driver), free use of one child seat (savings of $13.50 per day), 10% discount on prepaid fuel at any Hertz counter and a young renter fee waived for ages 20-24 (savings of $29 per day).
AAA offers the following tips on how travelers can plan:
- Book early. Lock in any rental car reservations when booking flights, hotels, and other initial travel arrangements.
- Work with a travel advisor. They can help find discounts and look into bundled travel options that might make your rental less expensive when paired with other travel costs.
- Use AAA’s free COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik for the latest information to help plan your trip.
- If possible, remain flexible with your travel dates. Weekly rentals may be less expensive than weekend rates on a per-day basis. Some rental companies may offer you a refund for unused days if you return the vehicle early.
- Consider off-airport locations, which are often less expensive than renting at the airport. Be sure to ask about the location’s hours relative to your flight and factor in the cost of transportation between the rental location and airport.
- Need road trip ideas? AAA has compiled our favorite Great American Road Trip planning resources, backed by more than 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 route and get their vehicle road-trip ready.
- Prepare your vehicle. If you cannot rent a car and need to use your vehicle for the trip, take it to a trusted repair facility with Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities or by visiting one of AAA’s Car Care Centers for a vehicle maintenance checkup.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, access a COVID travel restriction map, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com..