4 Best Apps That Come Close to ‘Airbnb for Cars’
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Do you live in a city? Or maybe you’re in college? Whatever the reason, you might not own a car and you’d like to rent one on occasion. Maybe traditional rental car companies just aren’t doing it for you, and you’ve already had great success with gig economy companies such as Uber and Airbnb.
Or, on the flip side, you’ve got your own car but you don’t need it all that often, especially now that you work from home. It’d be great to make a little extra money without having to put in a lot of effort. Why let your vehicle sit around and collect dust when it could be put to work for you?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an Airbnb for cars?
Let’s take a look at three different car-sharing companies that act like Airbnb for cars, plus one app worthy of an honorable mention. All of these platforms offer the ability to rent cars, whether you’re an owner or someone looking for a ride.
Apps most like Airbnb for cars
Probably the most well-known name on this list, Turo does exactly as is advertised. As a renter, you simply input your location and the dates during which you’ll need the car.
Turo will then come back with a list of results from which to choose. You can filter by price, the type of car you’d like to rent and delivery fee.
Be aware that there may be quite a few fees associated with renting from Turo, including an added protection plan. This can add a significant charge to your rental.
Here’s a look at a one-day rental for a Hyundai Sonata in San Diego. Although you’re technically renting the car for just $36 for one day, Turo also charges a $15 trip fee. Even with the early bird discount, your total amounts to $49.20.
At this rate, however, you’ll need to travel to Oceanside to pick up the car. You can opt to have it delivered to the airport, but that adds an extra $120.
There’s also a 200-mile maximum for the car, which won’t even allow you to get to Los Angeles and back. Still, if you’re able to find a car that’s near enough to your location and has unlimited miles (or you’re not planning on traveling far), Turo may be a good alternative to a traditional rental car.
Turo is available in three countries, including the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
» Learn more: Does your credit card cover car-sharing insurance?
Getaround is another car-sharing platform that works similarly to Airbnb. Like Turo, you’ll input your search requirements and will be presented with a variety of car offerings.
The company has some pretty widespread coverage, with cars available in 46 metropolitan areas. Pricing will vary according to where you are, but you may find more expensive pricing than Turo.
Here’s a look at the same one-day rental search we conducted for Turo above. Right off the bat, the cheapest rental car price started at $49.19.
After adding in a mandatory booking fee (for all bookings) and license fee (for first-time bookings using a new or changed license), the rental shot up to $86.62 for the day, well above the price Turo was charging.
3. Car Shair
Are you feeling fancy? Do you live in Orange County, Los Angeles or San Diego, in California, Las Vegas, Dallas or Atlanta? Consider Car Shair, another available app to rent people’s cars. This one, however, allows you to book ultra-high-end cars.
Although it has a relatively small geographic footprint, you can also rent ebikes from this platform, with prices as low as $4 per hour or even less for daily rates.
For Car Shair, we conducted the same search as we did above with Turo and Getaround, looking for a one-day rental in San Diego at the end of August. Initial results returned a few different options, including an Audi A3 E-tron with a starting rate of $51 for the day.
After adding in insurance and taxes, the total rose to $72.33 for the day.
This is significantly cheaper than the older Toyota Corolla offered on Getaround, and for this price, you’re renting a plug-in Audi hatchback.
Long story short, if you’re in a market where Car Shair operates, it’s well worth a look for a vehicle.
» Learn more: How to rent cars for cheap
Our honorable mention here goes to Zipcar, which is a multinational car-sharing platform. It has a presence in the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Iceland, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom, so it’s likely you’ve seen one or two in your travels.
Zipcar, though, isn’t a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform. Instead, all the cars available for rent are owned by Zipcar itself. As a Zipcar member, you simply head over to an available car, unlock it via the app and begin driving. There’s no denying it’s convenient.
However, becoming a member also incurs a monthly fee. Unlike these other applications, you’ll need to either pay $9 per month or $90 per year in order to access car reservations. In return, you’ll get free gas on all your trips and a maximum trip length of 180 miles included, with an additional cost per mile after that.
The types of cars you can rent differ, but rates start at $10 per hour and $83 per day.
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If you’re looking for a car-sharing platform
Although peer-to-peer car rental sharing hasn’t blown up like Airbnb, there are still some decent options for those looking for short-term rentals. Turo is the best known with the largest presence, and you’ll find its platform across a few different countries. Car Shair, meanwhile, offers a variety of rental cars in specific locations — and you may even find a deal or two on a high-class vehicle.
Otherwise, if you’re a car owner, you could consider one of these sites to earn some extra money on the side.
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