Category Archives: Rent a car

The dwarfes and the dinosaurs of California’s National Parks

 

It’s time to hit the road as the summer heat gives way to the gentle September sun and the leaves start to turn. We have selected four national parks in the Golden State that will leave you awestruck at the towering expanse of nature. We have also chosen Los Angeles as the starting point for your California car rental.

When you see the magnificent trees, waterfalls and scenery of these Californian treasures, you will come away rejuvenated, humbled and reinvigorated.

Redwood National Park

Crescent City, CA 95531

Redwood National Park – all 4 billion hectares of it – lies in the far northwest of California, home to some of the state’s wildest yet most enchanting terrain.

OK, it’s a bit of a trek if you have taken a Los Angeles car rental – at more than 1100 km away and a 10-hour drive from the airport – but you can always break up the journey and the drive is truly breathtaking. Just imagine you’re in an open top, dovetailing Highway One. You look down on the magnificent Pacific. At times you feel you are dipping into the ocean itself as you pass lagoons, secluded beaches and twisting turns that take you almost to the southern border of Oregon. It’s just you and the love of your life against the world!

The Park itself – as the name implies – houses several groves of massive Redwood trees. Some of them can live for 2000 years. They can grow to a height of up to 367 feet and measure up to 22 feet at the base of the trunk. The Redwoods are evergreens, blessed by heavy rains in the winter and thick fog in the summer.

Before it became a national protected park, 80 per cent of Redwoods in the vicinity had been destroyed. So the park has been a lifesaver. One of the Redwoods in the park was once believed to be the tallest in the world.  Now scientists say that the tallest is hidden away in the forest, its location kept secret to protect it.

The lush growth in the area has appeared in the movies Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Be sure to visit Fern Canyon, home to Elk Prairie, and the Roosevelt Elk, the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. The whole area is also a pure heaven for hikers, birdwatchers and campers.

Redwood National Park

 

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Perhaps, if you’re coming out of LAX, you don’t fancy driving so far north. In that case you would do well to opt for three parks a bit closer to the airport. Let’s begin with the Joshua Tree National Park, a distance of just 237 kilometers, or a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.

The park’s name derives from the distinctive Joshua Tree, a tall-growing variety of the yucca genus that litters the area. Joshua Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres of the Mojave – the hottest desert on the North American continent – and the Colorado Desert, two separate deserts that collide to produce a remarkable ecosystem.

The area within the park was once populated by ranchers, rustlers and gold prospectors. Top attractions include the decayed ruins at Wonderland Ranch, a huge rock resembling a human skull, and the Wall Street Mill – a preserved gold ore crushing mill featuring late-19th Century two-stamp mill machinery.

Don’t miss the Oasis of Mara, a desert-like oasis attracting birds rarely seen elsewhere, such as the energetic roadrunner, which travels up to 15 miles an hour. Climbers will also appreciate the rocks, some of which geologists claim were formed millions of years ago.

Joshua Tree National Park

 

 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Three Rivers, CA

Although technically they are two separate national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon –357 km from LA, a distance of about four and a quarter hours – are thought of as one park. The combined area embraces 865,952 acres, mostly wilderness.

Sequoia is home to the largest tree in the world – the General Sherman – and, altogether, 5 of the 10 largest trees in the world. It’s only when you see people walking past these trees, like dwarves at the feet of dinosaurs, that you get an idea of their incredible size. Even the branches are like large trees. You’ll spot some bears too if you’re lucky!

Sequoia-National-Park-32

 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Village, CA 95389

Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountain, 454 km from Los Angeles, a four-and-a-half-hour drive away, is renowned for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. It’s also the home of the Grizzly Giant – 2700 years old – one of the oldest giant Sequoia in the world.

Climbers will appreciate the Half Dome Cables Section. Pit your will against the imposing North Face; all you need is a firm step, a propensity to look up rather than down, a determined mindset and fair weather! The park is also home to some of the most magnificent waterfalls, including Bridle Vale and Upper Yosemite Fall.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA - summer 2000 - Patrick Nouhailler  ©

 

We hope you enjoy your trips to the California National Parks and that you choose a company that offers you the lowest car rental rates!

 

Your College Move Just Got Easier: Get the Best Car Rental

The last summer days are quickly slipping away and fall is around the corner, which means it is time to get down to serious business, energized and refreshed after the long warm days and nights. Whether you are a freshman or an old dog, moving in your new dorm or shared flat in the beginning of the college year is an exciting but challenging experience. Every fall feels like the beginning of a new era – and it also involves a myriad of things to consider and, most importantly, to pay for.

Most college students, naturally, immediately fancy the idea of getting their own car because of the independence and comfort that it provides. This is high on the agenda, especially when you have to transport your belongings to your new home on or off the campus. Besides the actual move, there are many other administrative and logistical issues to settle, which might be overwhelming for young people who are just making their first serious steps in adult life. Thinking ahead, packing the right amount of luggage, organizing the details for the transportation – the process is a complicated one. In addition to all the other expenses involved in the start of a college life, investing in a vehicle might not be the thing you can afford instantly.

 

College campus
Some rights reserved by UBC Library

Although the benefits of owning a car are clear, the hassles involved cannot be ignored. On top of actually buying the vehicle, you need to take care of various taxes and checks, as well as parking and maintenance. Yet, you need a car to make the move to your new home and new life. Even if you do own a car, it might be too small or too old for a challenge like this one. Thus, a quick solution to this financially and logistically daunting situation is a car rental – and your college move just became smoother. This option can be useful in general in your first days at college, as you can use the car rental to get your official papers organized at different institutions, run away for a weekend with your new mates, or give a hand to a friend who is facing the same moving challenge as you did.

Renting a car, however, can also be a complicated project, so you need to get the details right. There are car rental options that can really make your life easier. Some renting searches give you a multitude of options to look into, and you can choose between economy cars, SUVs, discount cars and other specifications. With an aggregated search engine, you get the results from various car rental agencies. This means that a preliminary selection is already made for you – so you just need to pick the best from the best, in consideration of your needs and financial situation. You might even have the luck to get a weekly car rental discount or deal – just keep your eyes and ears open.

8 FAQs When Renting a Car

 

Renting a car should be a no brainer. Yet, how many times have you returned the rental at a different location, after getting carried away by the pleasant emotion of a fleeting vacation; or a stressful business trip; or just because it was most convenient?

Or forgot to fill up the tank upon return and had to pay a hefty price? Or got in an accident with the rental car and did not know what to do about it; or let your boyfriend/girlfriend drive without having listed them as a second driver, and when the fender-bender happened your insurance raised hell?

Well, nobody is insured against such misdeeds. The bottom line, though, is to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of the rental company. Most of the time companies keep rules pretty straightforward, but do not assume – contact them with any questions you may have.

Check out this compilation of frequently asked questions. Be aware that the list does not end here.

Will you check my driving record?

Well, yes. Most companies would contact the issuing Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and if they are not impressed with your driving history, they may deny you rental. You better not have any convictions of reckless driving or DUI in the past 4 years; two or three accidents within the last 36 months, or leaving the scene of an accident, to name a few unacceptable activities. Above all, make sure your license has not expired.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Most likely. The deposit will vary depending on the in-house rules, type of car or the type of payment.

Håkan Dahlström / Foter / CC BY

 

Can somebody else drive the car I am renting?

In most cases, yes. The same license validity check applies, and sometimes there is an age requirement. You have to add the second driver when you go to pick up your car. He or she has to be present, and be ready to show the required credentials. In some states you may have to pay between $3 and $65 a day for your co-pilot; in others it’s free.

Will I be charged late-return fees?

Vehicles are rented on a daily 24-hour basis. Many companies allow you a grace period after the set return time, so you do not need to pay extra. Other companies will charge you a full day if you are late by one-and-a-half hours. Some will impose a flat fee for any delay and charge you daily. The best thing to do is check beforehand, but even better – try not to be late.

Can I change the return location?

You signed a rental agreement where you indicated the drop-off location. Most companies would have no problem with that, but you still need to notify them in advance.

What should I do in case of a car accident?

TimothyJ / Foter / CC BY

 

Companies certainly do not want to think of a such possibility on the road, but life happens.
Nevertheless, you need to be prepared and, before you sign, check what are the regulations, because they may differ depending on the size and location of the rent-a-car company. Act as you would in any other similar situation – call 911, fill out an accident report form and call the company for instructions what to do next. Do not panic, accidents happen even to the most experienced and careful drivers.

Do you permit pets in the car?

Raymond Larose / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Certainly. Pets can travel in the rental just as they do in your own car. Most companies would not ask for a deposit of some kind, but in case of a damage or an accident that requires special cleaning of the interior, you would be expected to cover the expenses.

Can I smoke in the rental car?

Nowadays, many companies have a pretty stringent non-smoking policy. In some instances, customers will be asked to pay an additional fee if the car smells of smoke. Some of the company’s agents may inspect the car for evidence of smoking – lingering odor, ash smeared on the upholstery or the floor; cigarettes or cigar butts; burns, etc. If a violation of the non-smoking policy is detected, the customer may be charged up to $250, or more.