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Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Derry
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Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Hi everyone,

We have just booked our flights for our trip beginning in Chicago and finishing in Washington DC. We are travelling from Ireland.

I am now turning my attention to the car rental. We intend to pick up the car AFTER our visit to Chicago and I'm looking for suggestions for convenient, quieter pick-up points not too far from Chicago. I think I read that South Bend airport may be an option but it seems to be quite a way from Chicago - any other suggestions, closer to Chicago but not too close? Somewhere we could get to by public transport.

We have only rented in the US once before, picking up and returning the car to Boston Logan airport.

Is it usually more expensive to pick up/ drop off at airport locations?

Thanks for any advice!

Illinois
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1. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Why would you want to travel with luggage on public transit just to pick up a rental car? All of the major rental companies have offices downtown.

In Chicago, the tax is less expensive on non-airport rentals. The airport rental tax is higher in order to fund a new car rental complex currently under construction.

Regardless, your rental will be very expensive as you plan to drop off your car at a different city/state than the original pick up. Play with rental rates at www.kayak.com to compare rates.

Derry
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2. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Hi Dave,

Thanks for replying.

We hope to collect the rental car in a less built up location, we want to avoid a downtown office in a major city.

We aren't very experienced at driving on the right and do not relish the idea of navigating through such a busy metropolis IF we can make life easier by travelling outside the city to pick the car up.

Yes, I'm aware of the one-way rental issue. Like before, we intend to book the car through a 3rd party company who will include all necessary insurance cover in the deal. This works well for non-US drivers.

Edited: 8:09 am, April 25, 2014
Illinois
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3. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

What direction are you heading after you leave Chicago?

Chicago
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4. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Any particular reason why you are driving? You can fly one way at Southwest Air and it may be less expensive than a car. Or what about the train?

Derry
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5. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Dave,

We haven't finalised our route after Chicago, as yet.

We will take around 10 days to travel to DC, heading East/South east from Chicago and stopping off for a couple of of nights 'here and there'.

HappiTraveller,

We want to do a road-trip as we will have the opportunity to see some other places/areas and like the flexibility of having our own transport.

Illinois
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6. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

Budget/National has a location on Dempster St in Skokie, IL. It's one block west of the CTA yellow line train station in Skokie.

www.transitchicago.com

Edited: 10:04 am, April 25, 2014
pgo
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7. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

A location north of the city would require them to drive through a large portion of the Chicago metro area before heading south and east towards Washington DC. If they aren't comfortable driving on the right, the city is no place to start! Also, the SE route out of Chicago goes through some highly questionable areas. Getting lost in Gary could be a bad start to a trip.

The South Bend airport is not a bad suggestion. Train tickets are under $10, a real bargain. The car rental office would be very convenient.

They could also look at towns along an Amtrak route such as Indianapolis or Cincinnati (the Cardinal/Hoosier State train). Fare is $50-60. You would probably have to taxi to a car rental office.

Another idea would be a cheap flight to Nashville or another town with a small metro area and easy access to the southeastern states.

Edited: 10:23 am, April 25, 2014
Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

You pick up the car at the most convenient location to your hotel. Why would you put yourself through all that hither, thither and yon pick-up points just to get out of town? Sorry, that makes zero sense. If you are staying downtown you are 6-8 blocks east of the freeway. You can drive 8 blocks through a civilized city with traffic lights at every corner.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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9. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

"Getting lost in Gary could be a bad start to a trip." LOL, what an understatement!

The South Bend and South Shore Railroad's website is www.nictd.com. Please keep in mind that South Bend is in a different time zone than Chicago (1 hour later), but their timetables reflect the destination times.

I was going to suggest Indianapolis as well but, if the OP is uncomfortable with driving in city traffic, that might not be a good option, either. Indianapolis is the 13th largest city in the U.S. and they'd have to pick up the rental vehicle right downtown in Indy - somewhere near Union Station.

To the OP: How comfortable will you be driving in Washington, D.C.? Or any other major metropolis on the way there - such as Pittsburgh or Philadelphia?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Suggest pick-up points for car rental

OP: I know plenty of seasoned American drivers who won't drive in downtown Chicago (my husband, who drove ambulances and fire trucks for a living is one of them...). I don't blame you for wanting to get out of town before tackling the right side of the road...