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 our favorite apps for travel, but we want to give you a closer look at how it works and how you can use it to save money to rent a car for 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. And no matter where you are, Turo offers 24/7 roadside assistance – though keep in mind either you or the owner may have to pay for repairs, depending on how the car was damaged.
Thrifty Tip #1: Want to use Turo on your trip abroad? Learn how to easily apply for an International Drivers Permit.
How to Rent a Car on Turo
Although you’re renting cars directly from owners with Turo, the process isn’t much different than any old car rental agency. In some ways, it’s much easier.
- 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.
- Search your destination and dates: Scope out the vehicles that fit your price range
- 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 rental – check with your insurance company to be sure. Otherwise, make sure to look into the offered plans to be sure you’re covered in case of an accident. And keep in mind that coverage through credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred will NOT cover you on Turo.
- Book the car: Just like Airbnb, some rentals will instantly be approved while others can take eight hours or longer for owner approval.
- 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. You’ll want to download the app, as it’s how you’ll communicate with the owner of your car rental.
- Explore the city in your new ride.
- Meet the owner to drop off the car.
Want to know what it’s like to rent a car on Turo? Read our review of using Turo for the first time. Spoiler alert: It worked out great.
How Turo Compares to Other Rental Companies
Curious how Turo stacks up against other car rental companies? Here are a few key points that highlight the differences.
Car Pickup & Dropoff
With Turo, you won’t need to wait in line at the airport kiosk to pick up a car. Choose the car and pay beforehand, and arrange for a car drop-off at the airport or wherever you’d like to meet.
Unlike car rental companies, you don’t have to pick up or drop off your Turo at only one location. Chat with the car owner on the Turo app and find a pickup and drop off location that works for you!
With the Turo app, you can communicate with the car owner via message directly in the app. No getting put on hold; no emails to customer support.
Many car rental companies charge young drivers between 21 and 25 a hefty surcharge. Turo charges a far more reasonable fee to drivers between 21 and 25 renting a vehicle through the platform. For drivers under 25, that makes Turo a great option.
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’s, Hertz’s, and other traditional car rental companies 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 rental, or buy an add-on policy.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.