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Car Rental One Way Fee – What is a one-way fee?

Whilst the majority of rental cars are returned to the same location where they are picked up, it’s not as uncommon as you might think to want to return a rental car to a different location. It’s not unheard of for a customer to request to return a rental car to a different country and even that is possible sometimes. If you plan to return a rental car to a different location you’ll often see the term ‘one-way’ fee on any online quotes and if you don’t, you should ask the question as it’s likely that you will be charged a one-way fee by the rental agent and you should be aware what that fee might be.

car rental one way fee

How Much is a One-Way Rental Fee?

It can vary hugely from supplier to supplier, location to location. One-way car rental fees range from free to as much as £200 or more which you could be charged for returning the car to a different country. A more representative one-way fee is around £50 / 60 EUR / $80 for a typical one-way fee. As this is a fee set by individual rental agents you should check for each option as some higher priced rentals may have lower one-way fees bringing the overall price below a budget rental agent who might charge a high one-way fee.

One-way car rentals are often, but not always for shorter rentals where you might want to get from one place to the next and renting a car and driving could be cheaper than a train ticket, or most certainly air fare. However, whilst a single day rental could cost as little as £20, the one-way fee could be significantly more, pushing the price of the overall rental lots higher. Less scrupulous rental brokers and agents may want to keep this information quiet, however here at Rhino we’re transparent with our one-way fees, in fact, all of our rental quotes include the one-way fee where applicable enabling you to see the total cost of your rental in full and upfront to save you the effort working out what rental car offer the best value when you consider the base rental cost plus the one-way charge.

Most Popular One-Way Car Rentals

We get asked for one-way rentals from locations all over the world, some of the most popular are to collect a rental car from the airport and return it to a downtown location. However our most commonly requested one-way rentals include;
  • Christchurch to Auckland
  • Los Angeles to San Francisco
  • Alicante to Corvera Airport
  • Las Vegas to Los Angeles
  • Orlando to Miami

Free One-Way Car Rental

Not all one-way rentals carry a fee, particularly in the US you’ll find that many rental agents allow you return your rental car to a different location without charge. Some of the most popular routes include Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Orlando to Miami (and vice versa) where many of the major rental agents like Alamo, Avis, Budget and Hertz do not charge one-way fees.

Why Do rental Agents Charge One-Way Fees?

The basis for the fee is quite simple, if you rent a car from one location and return it to another, the rental agent needs to arrange for the car to be returned to the original location. Managing car rental fleets is a complex business, ensuring rental cars are available for customers when they arrive is a logistical challenge, however when rental cars don’t return as they have been dropped off to a different location (a one-way rental) this adds to the complexities. For the most popular routes, this is often why there is no fee as it’s a regular request and most routes operate on a vice versa basis, car rental fleets even themselves out in time. Where that’s not likely, or the rental agent need to have the car returned, they have to arrange for someone to drive the car back which takes time and resource, hence the one-way charge.

Can I Return a Rental Car to a Different Country?

Yes, whilst far less popular a request, it can be done. Most rental cars in Europe can be taken to other states within the EU and we can often arrange to be returned to fellow EU members states however this is usually limited to a single cross border. For instance, it is usually possible to return a rental car collected in France to any EU country that borders France; Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, but not one where 2 borders are needed to be crossed, Portugal for instance. As you might imagine, the one-way fee for returning a car to a different country is higher than within the same country as the logistics even more challenging. At Rhino, you’ll see all one-way fees included in our total price to avoid any unwelcome surprise!
Chloe Demaret
Posted: May 13, 2019 by Chloe Demaret
About the Author -

Travel writer, social media guru, Chloe keeps our readers and customers up to speed with all the car rental and travel trends on our blog. Favourite destination: Dubai.

Last updated: Sunday, February 4, 2024
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