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Whenever asked what the toughest thing is about family travel my mind immediately turns to rental cars. Sure flying with toddlers can be tough, trying to get babies to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings can be challenging, the sheer amount of gear young kids travel with can be stressful, but the rental car process seems to often be a very, very real pain point for us on trips. This was especially true when our daughter was a bit younger, so I’m sure it will be again with #2 on the way.
By the time you get to the rental car part of the travel process have usually just exhausted much of your energy flying with your kids and getting them through the airport, collected your belongings, schlepped them to a rental car shuttle bus (that may take forever to show up), waited in line at the rental counter (if you don’t have premium service), hopefully avoided anyone getting plowed in the busy rental car parking lots, and then you get the privilege of installing car seats in a usually most unimpressive vehicle.
For my family this has often been the time when someone just snaps a bit and the vacation mentality often gets derailed. At the end of the vacation that whole process has to be done again, only in reverse. Oh and there was that time I almost flew right back home I hated the rental car process so much.
I frequently have thought there just has to be a better way to do the rental car process, even if it requires paying a premium. Well, a couple years ago a new option was introduced via Silvercar. They only rent silver Audi A4s (in addition to the Audi Q5 SUVs in Denver…you know, ski trips and all), and they all come with free WiFi, free GPS, free satellite radio, free toll tracking (just pay for the tolls you rack up), and they will refuel the car at the going gas station rates + a $5 fee. Before you start thinking this is something clearly not geared for families, know that they also offer infant, child, and booster seats at no additional charge.
I’m excited about all of those Silvercar facts, but the feature I am most excited about is that they will often pick you up and drop you off at the airport (depending on the exact location). You can just let them know you have arrived via their app (or text them) and they can come and get you at the airport instead of you having to haul off of the airport premises to them in some over-stuffed shuttle bus. Again, I believe this process varies some by airport, but at locations where they come to you, I think this is a huge improvement!
I’ve tried to use Silvercar a couple of times, but for various reason have had to cancel the reservation each time. However, I finally have a use for Silvercar that I’m 99.9% sure will stick. We were able to get the Audi + car seat for just $14/day plus taxes and fees! That is a better price than we would have gotten if we rented a tiny and probably beat-up economy car from traditional car rental companies.
To get that price we stacked their current $39/day May rental special in Phoenix and Miami with the $50 off promo for new customers. There are likely several codes out there, but I know that currently FTU50 works to save $50 off two day rentals. That worked out to $14/day for an Audi, car seat, and much improved service over traditional rental car companies! They also have a referral program that gives $25 via Paypal to the person that refers you + $25 to your own Paypal account. My own referral code is SHULL if anyone is looking for a referral code to use.
Reportedly this referral code stacks with everything else, so my cost could turn out to be just a couple of dollars per day – I’ll report back after the rental with how everything worked out.
Silvercar is located in Austin, Dallas Love, Dallas DFW, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, and is coming soon to Chicago and possibly even Vegas!
Have you used Silvercar for a family trip? How did it work out?