When I think of road trips, I think of the time my family and I – a group of seven or eight of us – drove to Canada in my grandmother’s old van. If that not-so-glamorous image isn’t enough for you to cringe, wait until you hear about the time five of us drove 21 hours (not including traffic holdups) to Florida from Rhode Island in a Honda Accord. We didn’t rent a luxury car for these trips. On your next road trip, why not go big or go home?
Most people think renting a luxury car will cost an arm and a leg, since buying it seems like it would cost that and more. In reality, you’d only be splurging a bit more than you would renting the same old Ford Focus everyone else is renting.
Got fantasies of cruising down winding roads in a drop-top Porsche? Rental car companies like Hertz can hook you up with your dream car.
How to rent a luxury car
It’s about as easy as renting any other car. Most rental car companies like Hertz will have convertibles, luxury SUVs, sports and exotic cars in their collection. What’s available to you depends on where and when you’re renting, but most luxury car collections include makes like Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Land Rover and Tesla.
Other companies, like Gotham Dream Cars, specialize in offering “ultra-exotic” luxury cars from manufacturers like Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and more.
Though it’s easy to go right up to the counter and request a luxury car for your trip, you’re more likely to get a better deal if you reserve in advance and, when you do, expect some extra restrictions such as daily mileage limits.
Hertz normally rents cars to drivers 20 years old and up, with an added surcharge in some circumstances for those 20 to 24 years old. (Young renter fee is waived for AAA members ages 20-24.) But if you’re renting a vehicle from Hertz Dream Cars collection, you must be at least 25 years old.
Plus, at the time of rental, you will need additional forms of identification, which will vary depending on location and the vehicle that you are renting.
Restrictions and qualifications vary from company to company, so be sure to check on those before you rent.
- Before renting any car, ensure that your auto insurance policy covers rentals. Usually, full coverage auto policies, or policies that include comprehensive and liability coverage, will extend to rentals. However, you may want extra coverage for a luxury car in case of a collision. Many car rental companies such as Hertz offer Loss Damage Waivers or Liability Insurance products. Call your credit card company and find out if they’ll cover any gaps in your auto insurance policy.
- Ask to be given a walk-through of the car. Luxury cars will often have advanced technology that our run-of-the-mill vehicles may not have. If your rental company can go through safety features, how to operate the transmission and how to avoid potential dangers with you, you’ll spend less time figuring out the car and more time enjoying a smooth ride.
- Examine the terms and conditions closely. What’s included in a standard rental agreement can differ from what’s included in a luxury rental. For example, Hertz Dream Car rentals don’t include unlimited miles.
Now that you’re ready to rent a luxury car, the question is – where do you take it? Which are the most scenic journeys in the country, made even more memorable in a stylish Mercedes-Benz or sporty Range Rover?
Mountainside Road Trips
The Kancamagus Scenic Byway – or the “Kanc” as it’s known to locals – in New Hampshire connects Lincoln to Conway and, while popular for its foliage in the fall season, its views are exquisite at any time of the year. The White Mountains surround you on this 34.5-mile route. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop along your drive and snap photos of the mountains, as well as picnic or hike. You’ll feel one with nature cruising through the mountains and past waterfalls and rivers in a luxury electric car.
Begin your trip through the Hudson Valley of New York on the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant, catching views of the Taconic Mountains and admiring the foliage as you pass by in a flashy luxury car. The Taconic leads to several state parks, including the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, perfect for a day trip. Along the parkway are the 10 New York counties that make up the Hudson Valley, which is designated a National Heritage Area. There are plenty of opportunities to eat, stay and immerse yourself in the history and culture of the area.
Badlands National Park in Interior, South Dakota, is home to the best views in the Badlands. The loop is 58 miles long and full of desert-like hills, cliffs and buttes, wildlife, hiking trails and overlooks for your viewing pleasure. Imagine getting to enjoy a rugged nature getaway from behind the wheel of a luxury SUV. Among the incredible rock formations, you’ll feel like you’re on another planet, or the surface of the moon. But from inside a leather-seated vehicle, you’ll feel on top of the world.
The byway begins at the intersection of Highway 9 and Interstate 15 near St. George, Utah, and ends in Mt. Carmel Junction. The 54-mile byway cuts through Zion National Park, which is distinguished by can’t-miss views of the Zion Canyon’s red cliffs. Also along the byway are the Virgin River, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow Utah State Park. Movie buffs won’t want to miss the ghost town of Grafton, which was featured in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Imagine seeing these blistering desert views from the comfort of an air-conditioned Range Rover Sport. The best part? The byway isn’t far from the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas, so you can continue your road trip in style.
Yes, it is the A1A Beachfront Avenue from Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” Part of the A1A is designated as a National Scenic Byway, as it stretches from Key West all the way to Fernandina Beach, just south of Georgia. It’s nicknamed Beachfront Avenue because it runs through most of Florida’s coastal towns and cities, like Miami Beach and Boca Raton. You’ll feel like a celebrity rolling through the beach towns in an exotic car, passing by palm trees and ocean views.
How do you explore Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian island, in a day, making sure to fit in coastal views, waterfalls and tropical rainforests? Take the Hana Highway (a.k.a. Highway 36) from Kahului to the town of Hana, making sure to stop and see the attractions along the 52-mile ride. Drive the winding roads hugging the mountainside in a sleek convertible with the top down to fully experience the beauty of the island. The ride only takes about three hours, but you can spend the whole day hitting the beach, hiking, relaxing at the park and more.
Have you driven along any of these routes? If you could rent a luxury car for a road trip, which would it be? Tell us in the comments below!
Need a ride? AAA members can take advantage of discounts of up to 20 percent on daily, weekend, weekly and monthly car rentals with Hertz. Click here to learn more about this and other Hertz savings.