Category Archives: Car Rental New York

New York City Car Rental Tips and Tricks

Months of September through mid-November are some of the best times to visit New York City.  In the city, there are deals on Broadway shows, hotels, lots of other fun activities.   How about your car rental?  We hear from many customers who are interested in renting cars to travel all over the state of New York.  They want to visit Niagara Falls, Adirondacks, Poconos, Boston, etc.  Here are some tips in helping you obtain the best deal for your money.

New York Skyline as seen from Ellis Island, Manhattan, New York
New York Skyline as seen from Ellis Island, Manhattan, New York

Avoid the airport.  Rentals from off-site locations are much cheaper than the ones at the airport.  If you prefer to pick-up the car at the airport, just speak with an off-site car rental company.  We spoke with Geoffrey Smith who rented a 15 Passenger van that was delivered to LaGuardia airport from a car rental company based out of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  He said his rental came out to be $250 less than the cost of renting one at the airport location even with including the $60 delivery fee that the rental company charged to drop-off at the airport!  The van was delivered to the airport parking lot and he called the rental car agency after landing.  He was very happy with the service and since his communication with the company was via e-mail, there were no unexpected charges.   He was right.  We recently checked the “extra” charges at LGA airport for a one day rental of a compact car; it was an additional $13.66 per day!

Brand name car rental companies have to charge you the published rate so there is hardly any room for negotiation. In New York City, there are many local car rental companies that have lower operating costs so they typically charge 10 to 25 percent less than rentals from national agencies.

Check your credit card for insurance coverage for the rental vehicle.  Most major credit cards such as American Express, MasterCard, and Visa offer car rental insurance, which saves you an average of $9-$15 per day.  Depending on how long you rent, this can be a substantial saving.

If you own your own home, your liability policy should also cover you against third party loss or damage.  Once again, do your research by contacting your homeowner’s policy and verify if this is the case.  In addition, the Personal accident coverage which offers some medical coverage in the event of an accident is secondary to primary health insurance.  So if you have health insurance, you can decline to take the one offered by the car rental company thereby avoiding any additional charges for insurance.

Reserve the car for a longer period to get a lower rate.  This may sound absurd but most systems are set up to give you a discount the longer you rent.  Of course, you don’t have to keep the car for that period but you still pay the lower rate.  Last weekend, a compact car for a 4-day rental was $299.95 but $339.95 for a 7 day rental.  We kept the car for 6 days and got the best rate with a free upgrade.  Most times when you are dealing with a local car rental company, the best things to do is pick-up the phone and speak with an agent.  Good Luck!

Renting a Sports Car in NYC

mustang.jpg

My wife and I were visiting New York from England and I am a huge gearhead.  After weighing my options, I figured what better way to feed my obsession than to rent a sports car and visit the Orange County Choppers in Newburgh, NY.  I have been a huge fan of the show for a few years and our visit there did not disappoint.  Our trip started out on the right foot when we decided to rent a Ford Mustang from AAMCAR Car Rental on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  This car rental was not like your typical place. It was a small, privately owned business and I was able to speak to a knowledgeable, “adult” staff who actually knew a few things about cars and bikes too!  The Mustang we rented was wonderful.  It was silver with racing stripes and let’s just say I kept it under 60 MPH the whole time. Do you sense sarcasm in my voice?  Anyway, the Orange County Choppers were amazing.  It’s a shame I didn’t get to see any members of the actual cast out there.  I did, however, get to buy a small souvenir and we made our way back to Manhattan.  The option to drop the vehicle off up until 11:30 pm at night was really helpful.  It allowed us to drive around NY and then not have to look for a parking spot or garage.  What a great day we had!  I wonder if my wife feels the same way. (HAHAHA sorry honey).

 

 

 

UPTOWN CAR RENTAL

As a long time resident of northern Manhattan – currently in Washington Heights (previously in Inwood), I appreciate and value small businesses.  When I spend my hard earned money I want to spend it in the most impactful way.  I want to better my community. Small businesses tend to be run and managed by our neighbors and generally employ in the community.  These businesses understand that the bottom line isn’t the amount of profit that can be shipped back to wherever their corporate headquarters are located -usually out of state, in some cases outside the country!  Instead they know that the enrichment of the community as a whole is as important, if not more so, than trying to maximize every last dollar.

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I bring this up because I am reminded of this every time I rent a car from AAMCAR on 181st.  As usual Danny is behind the counter – he’s quick, efficient, and friendly.   I know my car is going to be waiting for me. No delays and no hassles, I am in and out in a jiffy.  Plus their garage is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and unlike some other places there is no drop-off fee to return over night!

While I’m on the topic I should mention some of my other favorite local establishments.  If you find yourself on Fort Washington Ave you should definitely check out Jins on 181stAnd I’ll take Franks Supermarket on 187 st any day over Whole Foods.  For Dominican food you can’t go wrong with El Malecon on 175th st and Broadway.  Maybe my next post will be about all the great restaurant options along 181st.  

Washington Heights – Hidden Gem in NYC

Washington Heights, one of the most diverse neighborhoods of NYC was virtually unknown to tourists until recently.  Now that MTV has a show called Washington Heights, interest in the neighborhood has surged.  I have been living in NYC for over 10 years and have never really gone that far Uptown.  So last weekend, on a bright and sunny Saturday we decided to tour “The Heights”.  We decided to rent a small car but were unable to find acceptable rates.  We searched online for keywords such as discount Washington Heights car rental, cheap car rental and found a branch of AAMCAR called Uptown car rental right in the middle of the Heights neighborhood.  After checking for deals AAMCAR has posted online, I was able to rent a car for the day for $90!  My friend and I decided that spending $45 each made sense because we could do things at our own pace without having to worry about train and bus schedules. The garage was open for 24-hour drop offs which made things a lot easier as I didn’t want to be saddled with the car overnight.

We started our day by going to America’s only museum dedicated exclusively to medieval art, The Cloisters.  It is located in the beautiful setting of Fort Tyron Park which was gorgeous with some snow left over from the previous weekend.  After hiking through the park, we were both famished.  Next stop was Patacon Pisao for some yummy Venezuelan food.  The huge portions of delicious food left us well satisfied.  My friend then wanted to go shopping.  We had heard about the plethora of vendors selling everything from children’s clothing to refrigerators in La Plaza de Las Americas so we decided to head there.  It was sold as described.  An array of businesses selling so many different things!  It truly boggled our minds.  

 We decided to drop off the car after this and then go out.  When I returned the vehicle, the transaction was smooth and there were no additional charges.  There was a Shell gas station right next door so I was able to fill up the gas without any issues.  Overall, both of us were glad that we decided to rent a car to explore the Heights because the park is not very close to the subway station and we didn’t want to waste time waiting for buses or spending ridiculous amounts of money on the gypsy cabs.   

Activities near NYC

SUVs

The last of the winter months seem to draw out like no other.  After the holidays are over, the city seems bleak with snow and ice everywhere. However; a short road trip to some of the most amazing ski resorts on the Eastern Seaboard can be nourishing to the soul.  Ski season is almost over but there are many beautiful slopes all over the east coast to take advantage of. Last weekend to celebrate the long weekend, a bunch of friends decided to go to Vermont.  We decided to go to Stowe ski resort.  I was tasked with finding an SUV that would fit all five of us and keep us within the budget.  My first stop was AAMCAR, the company I use right next to my house on the Upper West side.  I checked their web-site and found exactly what we needed but the price was a little higher.  Some of the rental locations in LGA airport were offering the same type of vehicle for $50 cheaper.  I called AAMCAR and spoke with the agent who said that normally they would match the rate but they were almost sold out of the vehicles so the best he could do was meet me half-way.  Now, I must digress here.  Anyone who lives in Manhattan knows the travails of going to any of the area airports.  It is expensive, time consuming and generally not worth it unless you are actually going to the airport to leave NY. So it was a no brainer for me.  I made the deal and we had a wonderful time in Vermont.  The resort was amazing, the route was scenic and safe because of the all wheel drive vehicle. I was especially happy when we got back that night and I was able to drop off the vehicle and be in bed all by midnight.  Definitely worth the trip and it was a very smart decision to do some comparison shopping before deciding on AAMCAR!

Support your small business in NYC!

In the great city of New York, one is always on the move.  Whether they are moving themselves, others or stuff, sometimes trains and buses just don’t suffice.  Have you ever found yourself purchasing that lovely book case in the flea market that came pre-assembled but cannot be transported easily in a cab?  Or how about this scenario, the same bookcase, you standing at the corner of 66th and Broadway with nary a cab in site.  Oh, there are plenty of cabs zipping by, but what YOU need for your nifty new bookcase is a Minivan.  Of course, ALL the minivans seem to either be missing your raised hand or just missing in general.

Here is a great solution, rent one!  Especially if you rent them during the weekdays, prices are phenomenally low AND you may just be able to negotiate a better price by simply calling. By doing a quick web search using KayakI found Minivans ranging in price from $100-$120 in Manhattan.  I love Jersey, but it adds up to the same costs in time and money to go rent a cheaper vehicle across the water.  In fact, I am moving some things to storage at the end of the month, so I decided to call a couple of area car rental companies.  Their lowest posted price was $109.95 plus tax.  We negotiated and settled on an agreeable $100 total thereby saving the additional 20% in tax!  That is a deal and usually can only be obtained by trying your luck with the small, local rental companies.  National car rental companies are stuck to their prices which are apparently written in stone.  I learned a valuable lesson, deal with the smaller guys AND support local businesses. cargo-van-rental.jpg

Hidden gems in NYC!

It was our annual family reunion and this year’s destination was the wonderful NYC.  My wife and I had never been there before and now we can’t wait to go back.  Originally, we had planned to use the subway system to get around; but, after spending a few days in Manhattan, we wanted to venture out to some of the other boroughs.  We heard wonderful things about shopping and sightseeing in Long Island and upstate, New York.  I googled NYC car rentalsand stumbled upon AAMCAR Car Rental, a local, independent, rental company.  They were a quick, 2 stop train ride up from our Marriott Hotel in Midtown.  I was amazed by the knowledge and helpfulness of their entire staff. They gave us suggestions on what places to visit and made us feel like we were back at home.  My wife was a little intimidated and heard some horror stories about rude people in NYC, but everyone we dealt with was an absolute gem.  The car they provided us was a black, 2012, Nissan Sentra.  We couldn’t believe it!  We have the same car at home!  This made our whole driving experience extremely comfortable.  On the first day of the rental, we visited Roosevelt Field and the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead.  The second day was spent in Williamsburg  followed by a Brooklyn Nets night game at the new Barclay Center.  We absolutely LOVE Brooklyn.  We returned the vehicle after two days without a problem.  The train station is located two blocks away from the rental office, so we were back in Midtown in 20 minutes.  We can’t wait to return to NY.

OUTLET SHOPPING IN NYC

My mother was flying into NYC for a visit.  I had already taken her to the major tourist attractions last time she was in the city.  There was one major thing left to do on her list, especially with the holiday season approaching.  She had been bugging me for a while to take her out to Woodbury Commons and I finally caved.  It is enough of a hassle taking commuting on a bus; I did not want to take one to the outlets too.  So I jumped on google and searched for a discount car rental(more money for shopping) and found this place in the Upper West Side. Their prices were the cheapest that I found in the neighborhood, so I made a reservation online.
I called a day ahead of time, just to make sure everything was ready to go. When I found their office I realized that I had probably walked by it hundreds of times and never noticed it!  It is a really small office, but the staff was quick.  I was on the highway within probably five minutes.  I dropped off the car that night with the attendant and the cats.  I couldn’t get a receipt from him, but when I called the next morning everything was already taken care of and I got a total.  I don’t have a need to rent a car often, but I would go back.

One doesn’t have to drive far to find Fall Colors

One doesn’t have to drive far from the City to experience the incredible fall colors of this season. Just less than an hour’s drive up the Taconic Parkway, go to the Pepsi Cola headquarters in Purchase NY and experience a wonderful sculpture park in the most exquisite setting.Before you even get to the parking lot you have passed a Henry Moore and the first sculpture you reach, when entering the park is Picasso’s rendering of Eve.There are many sculptures gracing the wonderful grounds of all genres and size.

The grounds are beautiful and the many trees are in full autumn regalia with a lake and a 30 foot high fountain in it’s middle.

Entrance is free, parking is abundant. Go with your own car or rent one from Aamcar.

15 Passenger Van Rental Experience

When flying becomes too expensive, don’t just cancel your trip!  There are other ways to make your trip a real possibility and at a fraction of the cost.

When my buddies in New York wanted to have a reunion at our Alma Mater, Notre Dame, we spent weeks searching for flights on web sites like Kayak, Expedia and Orbitz.  The lowest rate we could find from NY was $279 dollars per person, including taxes and fees.  For one person, this was a bit of an expense.  For 15 people, we were looking at a total cost of $4199.25.  Although we love Notre Dame, this was too much money to spend on a flight for a weekend getaway.  We needed another alternative to make this trip cost effective and not have our significant others question why they are still with us.

I decided to search other travel alternatives and came across a rental that saved our trip.   It was a 15 Passenger van rental and I didn’t need a special license or permit to drive it.  It had passenger plates and could sit all of us comfortably.  We also had the luxury and convenience of all sitting together in the privacy of one vehicle without having to deal with screaming babies and unruly strangers.  The rental for the weekend was an astonishing $879.95.  This was so much less than flying!  We all couldn’t believe it. 

To be very honest, we had a wonderful time in South Bend, but we also had a really great time traveling there.  The ride allowed us to reconnect and share old stories in a group that we would not have been able to do on a flight.  If you’re looking to save money and have a real bonding experience with your family and friends, look into renting a 15 passenger van Our trip was absolutely perfect.15-p.jpg