Uhaul Cargo Van Rental Prices – Aside from some U-Haul vans and trucks is a number — $19.95 — that only begins to tell the story of how much you’ll pay for a rental. As noted by the much smaller text below the image, the $19.95 is actually just the base “in-town” price offered only to those who return the vehicle where they picked it up. And $19.95 doesn’t include mileage charges (you know, if you really want to move the thing) and “fees,” a generic term that can really mean anything U-Haul wants it to mean.
Truth be told, renting one of these 9-foot vans or 10-foot trucks will probably cost you at least double or triple the amount advertised on the vehicle. And, if you’re dropping off your rental at another U-Haul location, there’s an inclusive flat rate that doesn’t discount unused days or mileage.
Uhaul Cargo Van Rental Prices
Here’s a look at what $19.95 excludes and how it can all add up in a very consumer-unpleasant way:
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Movement can be a headache. So can hidden fees that increase the advertised price. Find out the total real cost of renting that van or truck before you sign on the dotted line. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit this page.
So buying a last-minute flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Orlando (MCO) in late April to check out the annual flying competition in Groveland, Florida—a trip the paraglider pilot planned to make with friends who also fly – was nothing unusual. What was unusual, however, were the rental car prices Salamon found when she went to browse prices online for her three-night trip.
He immediately sought the advice of a friend with a talent for solving travel problems, but they did not turn out. A solution, however, came when she was out for a walk.
Salamon told TPG that she found a cargo van from a U-Haul pickup location near the Orlando airport for $19.95 a day, plus an additional $10 for mileage during her trip.
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The entire rental cost her under $100 — and she saved a lot more because she was able to forgo a hotel and sleep in the van during the event thanks to friends in Florida who had an air mattress and pillows. Salamon said they even bought a magnetic screen from ACE Hardware to keep mosquitoes away.
A delayed flight meant Salamon landed late in the evening at the Orlando airport, so no one was working at the off-site U-Haul office when she arrived. Additionally, the U-Haul app did not work for her to pick up the van.
But even though she didn’t get access to the U-Haul until the next day, Salamon told TPG she still considers the experience a success.
“It was clean and it was super comfortable,” she said of the van. “For less than $100 I had a hotel and a car for my trip.”
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With travel increasing to many domestic and even some international destinations, dwindling rental car inventory and high prices make it difficult — and expensive — to find a rental car right now. Travelers everywhere are calling the current situation carmageddon (among other … more creative terms).
In late April, an Orbitz search for car rentals in the Florida cities of Tampa and Key West showed prices around $500 per week for dates in May. In Honolulu, car rentals were priced above $1,000 per week for the same dates. CNN recently reported car rental rates in Maui totaling $722 per day.
While not all parts of the country are dealing with this problem (for example, car rentals in Aspen, Colorado, were priced around $250 per week on Orbitz for the same week in early May), travelers should be aware that car rentals just now it can come with sticker shock – if you can get a vehicle at all.
The Travel Pro Show’s Andrew Locke says he also failed to rent a U-Haul when he discovered Las Vegas car rentals were skyrocketing for his trip from London in mid-April. Locke, who rents a car about once a month on his travels and usually books directly through Hertz, told TPG he has a pretty good understanding of what Las Vegas rental car prices typically are.
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“It’s usually around $40 a day, but I’ve seen rates around $150 a day, even on sites like AutoSlash and Costco,” he said, referring to aggregator sites known for good rates.
Faced with such a high price, he turned to U-Haul in hopes of being cheaper. Locke did the math on how many miles he would need to drive around Las Vegas during his five-day work trip (about 100 miles) and took out $40 in U-Haul insurance. He told TPG that it’s a no-brainer to rent a U-Haul instead of a traditional rental car.
“For what it would have cost me to rent for a day, I got the U-Haul for the whole time.”
He chose a cargo van, one of the smallest rental options from U-Haul. According to Locke, the U-Haul van can be compared to driving a large SUV – including parking. But Locke cautioned fellow travelers to confirm what you’re getting with U-Haul when you book so you don’t risk upgrading to something much larger if it’s out of stock.
How A $19 U Haul Rental Can Cost $60 Or More
Turo — a car-sharing service that calls itself the “Airbnb of rental cars” — is another alternative to traditional car rental companies that has become popular in light of the recent car rental woes.
With inventory in every market in the US, as well as Canada and the UK, the Turo app acts as an online marketplace where car owners can rent out their personal cars to people who need them. Rates are often much cheaper than what you’ll find through a rental car company—a recent search showed rates as low as $23 a day for a Fiat in Los Angeles and $30 a day for a Prius in Maui, Hawaii.
However, Touro is subject to stockouts, which happened to Cindy Rich of Orem, Utah, during an April trip to Orlando.
She and her husband changed their flight at the last minute to arrive a day early. They went to rebook the car reservation they had made a few weeks earlier with Thrifty, but there was no availability. They turned to Touro as their backup plan, but Rich said there were no cars available even through the app.
How That $19 U Haul Rental Can Cost $60 Or More
“My husband had the brilliant idea to rent a Home Depot truck,” Rich said, adding that he did so on a previous trip to Colorado. The couple hailed a drive to the nearest Home Depot and got the last rental truck in stock — a Ford 250 flatbed utility truck — for $130 a day.
“But I can’t imagine what they would have done if my little daughter had been with us. “Home Depot trucks are not suitable for car seats.”
Passengers were lined up for rental cars at MCO. (Photo courtesy of Cindy Rich for The Points Guy)
If you’re planning an upcoming trip that requires a rental car and find the prices too high for your budget, here are some tips and tricks to help you find an alternative:
U Haul Across The Nation
1. Home improvement companies such as Home Depot and Lowes often rent pickup trucks which can be a cheaper option than renting cars in some markets. However, keep in mind that these trucks may not be family-friendly if you’re traveling with small children who need car seats.
2. If you’re seeing high rates for certain rental dates, try extending your booking window for a longer trip to see if that lowers the daily rate, Locke advises. Often, rental car companies will let you return the car earlier than you booked without penalty – and in some cases, they may even refund you for the days rented.
3. Make sure you also check car rental prices closer to your trip, as they may drop as your actual travel dates approach.
4. For trips between Florida and the Washington area, look into Amtrak’s Auto Train to see if it might be a better deal to bring your own vehicle with you. Daily service travels nearly 900 miles (17.5 hours) along the East Coast between the Washington, DC and Orlando areas.
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5. Check out car dealers like Nissan and Toyota that offer try-before-you-buy weekends or car rental deals. This is another option that can be cheaper than traditional rental companies right now.
6. Finally, check aggregators like Costco and AutoSlash for deals. Be sure to tap into your AAA and AARP memberships as well.
Terri Ward is a Florida-based freelance writer who travels the world with her two young children while contributing to The Points Guy Family, among many other outlets. She lived in France and New York
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