Important facts described briefly below:
With one-way car rental, you can drop off your rental car at a different station than where you picked it up. Please note that there is often an additional fee charged by the rental car company for dropping off the car at a different location.
Click on the checkbox, "Return at a different location," on the start page of your search. Now enter the desired drop-off location. We will then show you all possible one-way offers, which will include the extra fee for the one-way rental.
With one-way car rental or a "one way" offer, you pick up and drop off your rental car at different stations. For example, you pick up the car in one city and return it to another. There is usually an additional fee for this. Below we will explain to you in which cases a one-way car rental is possible and reasonable.
Why is there an additional fee for one-way car rental?
Many car rental companies charge a fee for a one-way rental. Since the rental car is left at a different location, the company must then collect the vehicle or have it taken back to its original station. This results in return costs, which the rental company usually recovers in the form of a one-way fee. It is basically a logistics fee.
The rental car is also not at the original station during the transportation time. Thus the car rental company loses income while the vehicle is not at the station.
Good to know: There are car rental companies that do not charge additional fees for one-way rentals. This also applies to certain routes. Tips on how to save on the one-way fee can be found below.
When is the one-way car rental worthwhile?
Despite the possible one-way fee, this option may be worthwhile. This is the case if you are going on a lengthy vacation or are far away form the airport. Leaving your own car in an airport parking lot for several days or weeks is often very expensive. It becomes even more costly if it is a guarded parking lot. In this case, it may be cheaper to rent a car in your hometown and then drop it off at the airport.
One-way rental is also useful on a round trip. With a rental car, you can discover a region or a country without having to drive back to where you have already been. This option is practical in large countries such as the USA, Australia, or Canada. Thanks to the one-way rental, large distances can be covered with ease. This way, the precious vacation time can be used and enjoyed to the fullest.
How much is the fee for the one-way rental?
The one-way fee depends on the country, rental period, route, distance, and conditions of the local car rental company. While the cost is usually relatively low in Germany, the one-way car rental can be considerably more expensive in Italy, for example.
The cost also depends on how popular the planned route is. On busy routes, the one-way fee is often cheaper than on ones that are rarely used. One reason for this is that on busy routes, the car rental company can get their car back easier.
In some cases, there is no one-way fee to pay at all. This is the case, for example, if the desired route is a return route. This means that most rental car customers drive in the opposite direction. In this case, the car rental company gets its car back easier and faster and does not have to charge the costs.
Tip: The one-way fee can vary depending on the broker and the rental car company, even if the route is the same.
Are there also flat-rate one-way fees?
Yes, some car rental companies charge a flat rate fee for one-way car rental. This option is usually only worthwhile if you want to drive a longer distance. However, with most rental companies, it is common to calculate the fee individually, depending on the route and distance.
Is a one-way car rental still charged if you drop off in the same city?
It is also a one-way rental if you drop off the rental car at another station in the same city. It is at the discretion of the car rental company whether they charge a one-way fee for this.
How can I save on a one-way car rental?
Tip 1: Since the one-way fee varies depending on the car rental company, you should compare several offers before booking.
Tip 2: Find out about alternative pick-up or drop-off locations in the vicinity. At airport stations, there is sometimes no one-way fee, while you would have to pay at the city stations.
Tip 3: The one-way fee also depends on the category of the rental car. For example, you may have to pay a fee for a one-way trip with a luxury car, whereas if you choose a different car category, there may be no fee.
Tip 4: In some cases, it may make sense to split the route and book several rental cars. If a car rental company does not charge a one-way fee up to a certain distance, book the rental car only for this distance. For the next leg of the journey, you then take another rental car.
Tip 5: There is another way to save money: You can book the rental car for longer. This sounds strange at first, but it can make sense. With some car rentals, the one-way fee does not apply after a certain rental period. Sometimes this is the case after only seven days. Especially in the southern countries of Europe, there is often no fee for the one-way rental after a certain rental period.