Friday, December 26, 2014

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Holiday Car Rentals Sparse Thanks To Sandy

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TWC News: Holiday Car Rentals Sparse Thanks To Sandy
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Hurricane Sandy destroyed hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of rental cars along the eastern seaboard, making renting a car this holiday season even tougher than normal. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.

Travelers looking to rent a set of wheels for the holidays may come up empty thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

This universal gesture pretty much sums it up: Rental cars are scarce around the tri-state area.

The shortage of both rental cars and gas after Hurricane Sandy is having a ripple effect on Thanksgiving travel, a period when AAA says more than 40 million people nationwide take to the highways.

Enterprise Holdings in particular is reporting lengthy waiting lists in New York City, where priority is given to insured drivers requesting replacements for damaged vehicles.

To compound the problems, Sandy did a number on at least a thousand of Enterprise's own vehicles along the Eastern seaboard. To make up for the shortfall in the New York metro area, more than 27,000 cars from across the country are being added to the fleet.

Hertz, on the other hand, reports its fleet suffered minimal damage but has brought in thousands of cars to help meet demand.

Despite best efforts to beef up the fleets, there's still a dearth of cars to go around. Even my go-to method of heading to the suburbs by train to pick up a car didn't yield dividends for Thanksgiving week. However, I did finally manage to find a Hertz rental on the Upper East Side for a whopping $500.

By booking a pre-paid rate, I reaped marginal savings but can't modify or cancel the reservation without paying a penalty.

Much to my relief, when I got the car, there was a full tank of gas, so I'm not the odd woman out leaving the city on an even day.

If you are counting on a car rental for Christmas, now is the time to look. Consider traveling further afield for wheels, where availability may be greater and rates cheaper.

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