The Airbnb of Cars: How to Use Turo to Save on Car Rental

Turo Car Rental

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The platform and sharing economy is reshaping how we travel, and we love it.

Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb are a few of our favorite services to help save money while traveling. But there’s a newcomer to the car rental scene that needs to be added to this list.  It’s called Turo, and while it’s been around for years, it’s starting to gain steam with travelers.

We’ve already listed Turo in Thrifty Traveler’s 5 favorite apps for travel, but we want to give you a closer look at what it is and how you can use it to save money on your next trip.


What is Turo?

Think Airbnb, but for your car rental.

Car owners post their vehicles on the Turo platform which can then be rented by users in need of a car. Skip the long lines and high fees at the car rental kiosks at the airport. The Turo website and smartphone app allow you to select your car type, dates, features, and amenities.

Book a cheap car for a road trip to a National Park, or rent a Tesla for the night for a luxurious ride on your weekend getaway. The quantity – and quality – of the cars can vary widely based on where you’re heading.

Many rentals will drop off the car for you at the airport where you’ve arrived, while other owners require a pickup within a set radius. Need the car at the airport? Look for the plane icon and filter your results. Some owners will tack on a delivery fee, which can be hefty. You can filter the results to eliminate any rentals with large delivery fees.

Turo car rentals are available across the U.S. and Canada, along with a growing number in major European cities.


Thrifty Tip #1: Want to use Turo on your trip abroad? Learn how to easily apply for an International Drivers Permit.


Turo car rental

Some cheap and classy options available for pickup at the Las Vegas airport


Making Your First Turo Car Rental:

  1.  Sign up: The process is simple, but make sure to do it ahead of time so Turo can verify your identity and list you as an approved driver.
  2. Search your destination and dates: Scope out the vehicles that fit your price range
  3. Pick your vehicle and review the details:
    • Check how much gas and the total distance that is included in the price. Look into any extras you might want to add such as unlimited mileage for longer trips.
    • Look at the host’s reviews.
    • Be sure to review Turo’s insurance policy.  Your personal car insurance plan may extend to your Turo rental – check with your insurance company to be sure. Otherwise, make sure to look into one of Turo’s plans to be sure you’re covered in case of an accident.
  4. Book the car: Just like Airbnb, some rentals will instantly be approved while others can take eight hours or longer for owner approval.
  5. Pick up the car: Most owners offer delivery, though some will tack on a fee for drop off. Choose where you want the car to be dropped off –  the airport, a hotel, or if you’ll pick it up from them.
  6. Explore the city in your new ride.
  7. Meet the owner to drop off the car.

Thrifty Tip #3: Many car rental companies charge young drivers between 21 and 25 a hefty surcharge. Turo only requires users to be over the age of 21 to rent a vehicle through the platform. For drivers under 25, that makes Turo a great option.


Bottom Line

The sharing economy shaped by Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb has changed the game, as well as the attitudes of travelers once scared of using another person’s home or car. A Turo car rental can be the perfect solution if you need a car but aren’t happy with the National, Avis, and Hertz’s of the world. 

Remember to check out Turo as you look for your next rental car and see if it can save you some money. Make sure your personal insurance will cover your Turo rental, or buy an add-on policy.


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4 Responses

  1. kim says:

    The original price looks good until you try and check out and you see additional fees such as a $50 airport fee.

    • Emily Miotke says:

      Hi Kim. Thanks for pointing that out! The owners of each vehicle choose their own fees for each delivery option, if you filter for free delivery you won’t run into that problem anymore! Cheers!

  2. Kristi Brown says:

    Super easy and pricedd fairly. Also there isn’t a deposit requirement like rental agencies. Will use Turo all the time !

  3. chandler says:

    Just an FYI – although Turo is better for guests under the age of 25, they still charge a 30% (or $15/day, whichever is greater) fee for guests aged 21 – 25 – https://support.turo.com/hc/en-us/articles/203991070-Age-restrictions

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