The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Art of "Nickel & Diming" the Rental Car Customer

I’ve commented in the past about how the airlines and cruise lines are “nickel and diming” travelers these days. Here’s a recent rental car experience that someone shared with me that helps illustrate the fees and surcharges that are being added to the base cost and eventually drives up the amount that you pay.

With a rental car you pay for the period that you use the vehicle and these are generally quoted in 24 hour periods or a 1 day rental. On a recent 3 day rental my colleague reserved a mid sized automobile at $14.99 a day with a total rental of $44.97. A normal person would expect to pay some taxes on the rental but her final bill was $84.09!

There were seven, yes count them, 7 extra fees and surcharges tacked onto to her bill. That’s close to a 50% increase over the base rate. What was more interesting is that most of these extras were taxable items.

Imagine what the total bill would have been if she purchased the rental car companies fuel and insurance options.