All Posts By

Parag - Frequent Flyer University

Using Turo (RelayRides) To Save Money On Car Rentals

Why Is Renting A Car So Difficult?

While I’d say I have a fairly above average knowledge of frequent flyer miles and hotel points, one thing I have never understood is car rentals.

Up until a year ago, I was under 25 so it was difficult to rent a car but even now being 26, I still maybe only rent a car once a year.

I don’t know what it is about buying, selling, or renting out cars but the entire auto industry seems to be out to trick customers.

Renting a car is such an unnecessarily complicated process due to all the promos codes, different pricing on weekdays as compared to weekends, different classes of cars, etc.

Seriously what is the difference between a economy car and a compact car?

Below are all the different discount codes that Hertz accepts…

5 different types of codes that all have different restrictions and requirements.

"Hertz DIscounts"

“Hertz Discounts”

And this is all before you even get to the airport to pick up your car and are badgered about buying insurance.

All in all, it is a broken process that I try to avoid at all costs.

Enter Turo (Formally RelayRides)

For a long time, customers didn’t really have a choice when it came to renting a car. You either had to rent a car from the airport or take a taxi to your destination.

Now days thanks to companies like Lyft and Airbnb, collaborative consumption or basically the idea of renting out what you own to your neighbors, has really taken off and has now finally “disrupted” the rental car industry.

Turo is basically Airbnb but for your car.

Link to Turo

Most people have a car that basically sits idle for 23 hours a day unless they are driving to work or running errands, so it makes sense that people (or you) would want to rent it out and make some money.

I’ve used Turo 3 times now and I absolutely love it.

Turo Benefits

1. Everything But Gas Is Included

Unlike renting a car, where you are hounded about insurance and tons of up sells when you pick up your car, with Turo everything but gas is included in the final price. So you know the exact price when you book it online.

"Pretty Reasonable"

“Pretty Reasonable”

As for insurance, you can pick from 3 options.

Either you can decline getting insurance if you have your own car insurance, or get a $500 / $2,500 deductible policy and then you are fully covered for anything over the deductible.

"Insurance Options"

“Insurance Options”

In the above example, I chose the $500 deductible and it was $15.20 extra which I think is pretty reasonable.

If I had opted for the basic protection, it would have only been $6!

I am not sure if car rental insurance from your credit card would be applicable here, so it is best to call and ask them if you are planning on doing that.

I hate paying insurance as much as the next person but I appreciate that Turo options are at least transparent and basic protection is extremely reasonable.

2. You Pick Your Car

Unlike rental agencies, with Turo , you pick out the exact car you want.

No more dealing with compact, economy, mid-size shenanigans and then arriving at the rental car agency only to find out your preferred vehicle is sold out.

As you can see for Chicago, there are literally hundreds of cars that you can rent from all across the city and you don’t even have to go to the airport!

"Large Selection"

“Large Selection”

To make things even better, you can filter for the types of vehicles you want!

When we went skiing in Colorado in January, we needed a vehicle with all wheel drive, so with one click we were able to find one.

Try doing that with a rental car agency website…

"Pick What You Want"

“Pick What You Want”

We ended up renting a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"Jeep"

“Jeep”

3. Way Cheaper Than Rental Agencies

The above Jeep that we rented for 3 full days in Denver only cost us $166.25 total (including insurance). Only additional thing we had to pay for was gas.

"Talk About A Deal!"

“Talk About A Deal!”

If we had tried to rent an SUV from a rental car agency, the cheapest I could find was $150 a day!

Obviously I normally don’t rent SUVs since they are gas-guzzlers and extremely hard to park in cities.

Using Turo a couple times now, I’ve found the best value are hybrids.

Not only are they “green” but more importantly they can save you serious green on gas. When we went to Napa last August and rented from Turo , we got a Prius and barely had to fill the tank.

What is awesome about Turo is that since individuals are pricing their cars, there isn’t a huge mark-up for hybrids as you will see below.

In Chicago, I can rent a Toyota Prius for the day for only $38 total. That was just the top result, so I am assuming there are even cheaper hybrid options if I had chose to dug a little more.

"Going Green"

“Going Green”

Now you might be wondering how much would a hybrid cost from a normal car rental agency.

Glad you asked because I randomly selected a rental car agency (Hertz) and checked how much it was to rent a hybrid for 1 day.

"Hertz"

“Hertz”

$208 a day which is almost the monthly cost if you just straight up bought a brand new hybrid…

While the rate for Hertz is obviously ridiculous at $144, you can see that there are about $33 in taxes and other non-sense airport fees.

Again since Turo is peer to peer, they don’t have to deal with that!

So $208 a day from Hertz or $38 a day from Turo , you be the judge!

Under 25 Drivers

I have never really understood why you had to be 25 to rent a car. While I am sure there is “data” to back up their rationale, if you have a clear driving history and are insured, 25 seems like an arbitrary number.

What is even more bizarre is that most rental car agencies will conveniently waive any concern about being underage if you pay an additional fee…

Anyways, if you are 21 or older you can rent from Turo as long as your driving record is clean. No additional underage driver fees required!

Full details here

Airport Pick Up

While Turo in theory sounds great, once someone gets off a flight, the last thing they want to do is navigate offsite to pick up a car. 

This is why rental car agencies have had a strong hold on the car rental industry for so long. People (including myself) are lazy and want the quickest and fastest option.

Turo has addressed this 2 ways.

1. SFO & LAX Airport Parking

If you live in San Francisco (where Turo is based), you can park at SFO for free (more info).

In exchange, they will rent out your car to incoming RelayRiders.

So if you are landing in SFO, you can rent from Turo right from the airport!

If you are renting out your car at SFO, you don’t get any money from the rental BUT you do get free parking and a free car wash.

Your car is covered by  their $1 million insurance policy.

2. Airport Pick Ups

Outside of SFO, Relay Ride renters have basically figured out that if they offer airport pick-up / drop-off, they are more likely to get a potential renter.

Not all renters offer this but many people will add it to their rental description on the site.

"Airport Pickup"

“Airport Pickup”

If there is no message, I typically will just message the owner and ask them if they will pick us up for a small fee of like $20 each way.

I have also messaged Turo about adding in this “airport pick up” feature in their search. They said they have forwarded it to their product team, so we will see what happens.

In Denver, we had this exact issue given that the airport is in the middle of nowhere.

Our renter apparently rents his car out a lot, so he just parks his Jeep in the short-term lot when people are renting it out. When we landed, we took the shuttle to the lot, picked up the Jeep and then dropped it off in the same place when we were done. He even left cash in the car for us to pay for the parking.

Although airport pick-up is nice, I personally find it nice that there are so many potential rental options not at the airport.

When we were in San Francisco last summer, we landed at night and were driving to Napa in the morning. It didn’t make sense to rent a car from SFO that night and then pay to park it overnight in San Fran.

Instead we used Turo, found a hybrid literally 2 blocks from where we  were staying. Picked it up in the morning and we were on our way to Napa. No picking up or dropping the car off at the airport.

Recap

While not everyone is comfortable with staying at other people’s houses, ride-sharing with strangers, or renting out someone’s car, I for one have fully embraced this new sharing economy.

Not only is Turo substantially cheaper than rental car agencies, but often for the same price of renting a crappy compact car, you can literally get any type of vehicle you want from Turo and as an added benefit, no one will try to sell you extra insurance!

-Parag

Don’t ever miss another FFU Update or Travel Deal!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter, InstagramRSS, or Email!

10 Reasons Why Young People Should NOT Travel

Reasons Not To Travel

Preface

I originally posted this on my other site TravelMore but since people seemed to like it so much, I am reposting it here. Enjoy!

There is an unreported drug epidemic going on with young people right now. It is a dangerous new high that is 100% legal, extremely addicting, instantly available for purchase online, pretty affordable, and extremely delicious. What is this new super drug?

Law enforcement officials are calling it “travel” but it often goes by the street names “backpacking”, “couch surfing”, “studying abroad”, or “finding yourself”.

“Travel” is known to produce an extremely euphoric natural high that becomes addictive almost instantly. Often times travel addicts will quit their jobs, sell all their possessions, abandon their relationships, and embark on year long journeys to find the purest “travel” high.

On college campuses, talk to any student and they will tell you how easy it is to get your hands on some “travel”. Often times, it is sold directly by the school disguised as an educational study abroad program, but really it is just another form of “travel”! Most college students openly admit to casually experimenting with “travel” while on spring break and it is extremely common for friends to say “Hey bro, want to travel this summer? Trust me it isn’t a big deal. Everyone else is doing it. How dangerous can it be?”.

However as a recovering travel addict, take it from me, real friends don’t let other friends travel. Your friends may look cool on Instagram while they are high on “travel”, climbing Machu Picchu or eating Pad Thai in Thailand, all while you are currently reading this post bored out of your mind at work, but if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you? No!

Travel Addict

A classic example of a travel addict unable to control their addiction. Do you want to end up like this person?

My only hope is that this list of reasons NOT TO TRAVEL encourages some young impressionable minds to think twice before taking their first hit of “travel”.

If you know someone who is thinking about traveling, addicted to travel, or is on the verge of traveling, PLEASE SHARE this vital post with them before it is too late!

Also if you have any more reasons why people shouldn’t travel or personal experiences dealing with “travel addicts”, please share in the comments below!

-Parag


10 Reasons Why Young People Should NOT Travel

1) You Can See Everything On Television, Instagram, or Wikipedia

Technology has made it possible for us to experience everything from the comfort of our phones. For goodness sakes, there is even an entire TV channel & app dedicated to just travel.

So why on earth would you ever leave your house when the world can come to your 5 x 3 screen and you can then show your appreciation by liking or retweeting it?

Better to let the professionals like Rick Steves, Anthony Bourdain, and Andrew Zimmern travel the world while you sit on your sofa playing Candy Crush.

2) You Have A Real Job With Real Responsibilities

If you quit you job and travel the world, who is going to do all your essential work tasks like gchatting with your friends all day? You can’t train someone else to do that! It would be weird!

Sure for the time being your job is pretty pointless and completely unfulfilling but if you keep at it for another 5-10 years, you will finally make it to middle management where you will get the privilege of managing annoying young people like yourself!

Also if you left your job, who would your co-workers go to when they had questions about Excel? You spent years learning every single Excel command and now you are just gonna throw that life skill away? I don’t think so!

3) The World Is An EXTREMELY Dangerous Place

Oh you don’t believe me? HAVE YOU SEEN TAKEN?!?

These days thanks to ISIS, the entire world is basically at Threat Level Midnight.

Thinking about going to the Middle East? Well don’t because Iran probably has a nuclear bomb. You want to go to Europe? Well hopefully you speak Russian because half the continent has been invaded and the Euro is about to collapse. Africa? one word: EBOLA. What about Asia, it is nice this time of year right? False, the entire continent is still 100% radioactive thanks to the Fukushima disaster. I guess South America is probably your best bet as long as you don’t mind being a drug mule.

Overall, it is best to just stay home and play it safe because if you ever leave your home country, you are guaranteed an all but certain gruesome death.

4) You Already Have Enough Friends

If you travel, you will undoubtedly meet some new people and you might even unintentionally enjoy their company.

Worst case scenario, you might actually become friends with them. Then you are basically screwed because you will be obligated to add them all on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat and then constantly have to “like” their posts. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Even worse, imagine if your new international friends came to visit your country, they would probably want to stay with you. No thanks!

5) Flying Is So Uncomfortable

Have you been on a plane in recent years?

It is absolutely terrible! Small seats, no leg room, no wifi, terrible food, annoying passengers.

Yes, it is true that we can now get almost anywhere in the world within 24 hours and that people used to sail 3 months across the entire ocean in a cramped boat with the threat of potential death to do the exact same thing, but at least those people didn’t have to deal with the TSA!

6) Foreign Food Will Make You Sick

Unless you are planning on bringing a suitcase full of food, don’t travel because the food is completely different abroad!

If you want a fix of authentic foreign food, I suggest simply going to Olive Garden, Noodles & Company, Taco Bell, Panda Express, or Chipotle. It is far cheaper and you won’t get any parasites or diarrhea (although Taco Bell is highly questionable).

Also if you travel abroad, there is no guarantee that they will have Yelp. Would you really want to risk eating at a restaurant that hasn’t been thoroughly peer reviewed by pretentious foodies? Didn’t think so!

However the absolute worst thing is that according to factual stories I read online, many non-western countries eat weird things like dogs. Do you really want to be eating a meat dish and wondering if you are eating Sparky?

7) Like Everyone Doesn’t Speak Perfect English

Like think about how frustrating it is when you go to like your local 7-11 convenience store and they like don’t speak English good. Like now multiply that by like 1000 and you like have the rest of the world. Like I personally would never want to like talk with someone that can’t like speak English good because it is like annoying. Seriously people need to like learn English good or whatever, otherwise I like can’t even understand them.

8) Traveling Is Expensive

If you are young, the best thing you can do is work hard and save your money so you can afford to buy a nice new car and big house. Those are physical items that scream “HEY LOOK AT ME! I AM SUCCESSFUL!“. Seriously what would you rather invest in: yourself or some awesome new possessions?

Plus if you travel when you are young, you are certain to go broke because traveling is extremely expensive.

Just think about it: You already spend $1,000 a month on your apartment, $300 on your car, plus $100 on your cell phone, and that isn’t even factoring in last month’s credit card bill and that $100 round of drinks at the bar last weekend.

Not to mention you absolutely cannot afford to travel if you want to buy the new Apple Watch when it comes out next week, so please be smart and save your money for the things that you REALLY NEED!

9) Travel Is A Gateway Drug

You know that travel bug thing your Aunt Lindsay was saying your cousin Maeby caught while she was studying abroad in Spain…..that is a real thing! Seriously, check WebMD.

The worst part is that there is no cure for the travel bug except more travel. So go travel at your own risk because more than likely you will catch the travel bug or even worse, wanderlust, and then there is no turning back.

10) Travel Will Ruin Your Home Life

Say hypothetically you decide not to listen to any of this great advice and risk everything to travel. Some how against all the odds, you manage to have a great time and don’t die. Then what?

You eventually have to return home and once you do, normal life will seem so boring in comparison to traveling that you will spend every waking hour trying to figure out how you can #TRAVELMORE…

Introducing The TravelMore Shop

Why I Love Blogging

If you can believe it, I started Frequent Flyer University 3 1/2 years ago on Jan 1, 2012. FFU was driven by a New Years resolution to find something to do that I actually enjoyed because at the time I was at a job I hated. Long story short, the blog sort of took off and I left my real job to do it full time.

While the money was good, the real joy of the blog was getting random reader emails saying things like, “You helped my wife and I have the honeymoon of our dreams. Without FFU, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Even just yesterday I got an email from a reader that made my day.

The Best Type of Email

The Best Type of Email

While I love to travel, I realized I get even more enjoyment out of helping other people travel so they can hopefully experience some of the amazing things that I have been lucky enough to see.

If you ask most people what they would do if they won the lottery or didn’t have to work, 99% of people would say that they would travel more…

So I decided I want to be in the business of inspiring people to travel more.

Enter TravelMore

While I wish I could physically force people to quit their jobs and go travel more, I realized that isn’t exactly feasible. However from my own experiences, once people have made the commitment to go travel, I can certainly help them from there.

For example, my friend who traveled with me to Asia asked me what travel gear he should get for our big trip.

I told him exactly what he needed to bring, what backpack to buy, what travel accessories were must haves, etc.

In spite of all that, he still made the mistake of buying the wrong country specific power adapter instead of simply buying a universal adapter that most of us probably use.

After that episode, I realized that instead of me just telling people what gear is best, much like me recommending credit cards, it would be much easier to have a one stop shop where everyone could just buy the exact products I recommend instead of trying to find it online by themselves.

So I decided to create an online shop called TravelMore that does exactly that.

 

Some Of The Things You Can Buy On TravelMore

While most of you probably have your “travel staples” that you take with you on every trip, the main difference between TravelMore and say Amazon is that every single product we sell, we have also personally used and tested on the road.

Additionally, we only sell the absolute best item instead of confusing people with 10 different potential product options.

You’d be surprised but we also have a lot of items that even seasoned road warriors either don’t know about or have overlooked like…

Packing Cubes ($25) which I will say are one of the best travel inventions because they instantly organize your bag and let you “unpack” without unpacking.

819jFe0jl7L._UX522_large

Or a 4 Outlet Travel Power Strip ($15) (thanks Gary Leff) which is absolutely amazing because at airports & hotels there are never enough available outlets.

61WJhFCRIAL._SL1500_large (1)

Or my favorite Refillable TSA 3oz Bottles ($20) that you can fill with alcohol and bring on the plane : )

61hosvXbgnL._UX522_large

 

We also have some random travel gifts like Airport T-Shirts

pc_LAX_cropped_high_1024x1024_0f0c3873-ca94-427d-92ca-724a22deb3a0_large

And a Carry On Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit which I’m pretty sure will be a top seller for obvious reasons…

11002580_908105472543447_3488124761960703447_n_large

The TravelMore Pre-Packed Bundle – $100

In addition to individual items, we have decided to make travelers lives easier and created a bundled package that basically has the 10 necessities for anyone starting out travelling.

If Oprah had a top ten travel products list, this would be it!

SPECTACULAR (1)

 

The bundle comes with the following 10 items, all of which I bring with me whenever I travel.

  1. Universal Travel Adapter – $15
  2. Set of Packing Cubes – $25
  3. Sleep Mask With Earplugs – $12
  4. Microfiber Travel Towel – $25
  5. Mini-First Aid Travel Kit – $10
  6. 2 TSA Approved Luggage Locks – $15
  7. Set of Reusable TSA 3oz Tubes – $20
  8. Collapsible Water Bottle – $15
  9. Travel Wallet – $15
  10. Daypack – $35

If you were to buy these items all separately on Amazon, it would cost you $189 but because we are bundling it, we are selling it for $100 flat.

365 Policy & Free Shipping (No Minimums)

One thing I hate about shopping online is return policies and paying for shipping.

So in building TravelMore, we opted to create a 365 policy & have free worldwide shipping both ways with no minimums.

You have 365 days for a full refund on any items you buy, even if they are used.

After 365 days, we offer a full 365 Year Warranty on all products we sell. So if something ever breaks in the future, just let us know and we will ship you a new one for free.

No questions asked. No strings attached.

10% Off Coupon

As a token of my appreciation for anyone reading this article, everyone can get 10% off their entire purchase.

Just use the code SKYPESOS in the checkout box.

Please Share Any Feedback

I encourage anyone who visits TravelMore to please share any feedback with me.

I have pretty great relationships with my suppliers, so if there are any products you don’t see on the site or would like to recommend any new products to add, please do share them and I’ll try to get them.

Thanks in advance!

Also feel free to follow TravelMore on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter. We have a lot of cool swag to give away…

-Parag