How to Road Trip in a Rental Car

Road tripping can be a fun and laid back way to reach your travel destination that many people may overlook. Often, we are so concerned about reaching our destination that we forget getting there can be half the fun. 

There is much to be said about taking the slower, scenic route. From beautiful views you may never see in a plane to little stops made along the way, road tripping can be an adventure all its own. 

So what should you do if you decide you want to take a road trip but are considering taking a rental instead of your own car? We’ve got all your questions covered, from “What size option should I choose?” to “Can I check my car insurance online for rental coverage?”

Reasons to Choose a Rental Car

When considering a scenic road trip, choosing to take a rental vehicle has many benefits over taking your own personal vehicle on a long drive.

For starters, you are saving the mileage you would have to put on your own vehicle when you choose the option of a rental. If you lease your vehicle, using a rental for a road trip means no fear of going over your allotted amount of miles. If you own your vehicle, it can mean no costly repairs or maintenance to worry about that were brought on by the excessive driving.

A rental car may also provide you with more space than your personal vehicle offers. Though your small car may be perfectly suited for your short drive to and from work and running errands, it could begin to feel very cramped after a few hours spent road tripping in it. 

When you pick a rental, you can choose a vehicle size that fits your needs.

Another reason to pick a rental is if you own a vehicle that doesn’t get great gas mileage. You have the option to choose a rental which does. This can save you significant money in gas, which is especially helpful if you are planning to drive a long distance.

You may also want to consider a rental if your personal vehicle is unreliable. Since you will be traveling a long distance, the last thing you want is a breakdown when you are far from home in an unfamiliar area. You may have young children traveling with you and want to ensure they are in a safe and reliable vehicle to avoid potential problems. 

Choosing to take a rental over your own gives you peace of mind that you will likely not have car troubles from an older vehicle breaking down on your journey.

Rental Car Size Options

When picking a rental, it can be difficult to decide what size is right for your needs. Which vehicle you decide to pick greatly depends on a few factors including: 

  • How many people will be traveling
  • How spacious you need the vehicle to be
  • What kind of gas mileage you want to get

Economy or Compact Car

These are typically the two smallest options offered by most rental companies. These sizes are ideal for people who wish to get the best gas mileage they can out of their vehicle. 

However, good gas mileage comes with less space. This size option typically fits no more than two adults comfortably.

Mid-Sized Car

If you’re looking for a little more leg room compared to the economy or compact, a mid-size may be a good option. These vehicles boast more space, but they can still get great gas mileage. They typically seat up to four adults comfortably.

Full-Sized Car

Moving down the meter slightly on gas mileage per gallon, full sized cars provide a more spacious experience for the driver and passengers. 

These cars can typically hold more luggage and still seat up to five adults comfortably. 


If you want a spacious vehicle with plenty of room for your luggage, an SUV may be the way to go. Typically you can choose from a handful of different sized SUVs, some of which may even have similar gas mileage to car options. 

These rentals will provide you with space to sit at least five adults comfortably and still haul on average five large suitcases.

Rental Cars and Insurance

If you make the choice to use a rental rather than your personal vehicle, insurance coverage should be one of your concerns. Do you need to purchase something special in order to cover your rental? Or are you set to go with your existing coverage?

For insurance on a rental car, you typically have multiple options. If you have an insurance policy for your current vehicle, you may not need to purchase rental insurance at all. Most policies, outside of minimum liability insurance, will have coverage for your rental car. 

It is important to always check your policy to be certain of what coverage you have. You can typically pull up your auto insurance policy online to see if your coverage includes rental cars.

If you are purchasing your rental through a credit card, you may have rental insurance coverage through your card. Most cards will offer a form of rental insurance, though it is important to check with your card provider before choosing this option in order to understand all the coverage provided.

Choosing to use insurance through your credit card can have more benefits in comparison to using your personal auto insurance coverage. If you were to get into an accident in your rental while being covered on your personal insurance plan, your premiums can increase. But if you are using credit card coverage, it allows you to avoid those costs. 

You will more than likely have multiple options when it comes to insurance on your rental vehicle. You can opt for using your personal coverage, credit card coverage, or even purchasing from the rental company themselves. 

Just be sure to choose the option that works best for you and your situation.

Take the Scenic Route in Your Rental

Road trips can be anything you make them. From stopping at random points to check out a place that caught your interest or making specific stops to take incredible photos along the drive, there is much enjoyment to be found from taking the scenic route.

If you are considering a road trip in your future, a rental car could be the way to go. They can allow you to keep your personal car mileage low, or make up for things your vehicle is lacking. Just make sure you check out all of your options and then choose what works best for you.

About the Author:

Alexandra Arcand writes for the auto insurance site,, and has lived in Ohio her entire life. She loves the city of Columbus and is a huge fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Alexandra Arcand

Alexandra Arcand