Here Comes the Crazy Again: $250/day for Bozeman Rental Cars This Summer
At least we didn't find the insane quotes of $450 per day that we experienced last summer (yet). Renting a car in the Bozeman area has become drastically more expensive since COVID-19 hit, but how have we not balanced out supply and demand a bit?
We took a peek at some popular summer weeks to rent a car in Bozeman, using both Expedia.com and Turo.com. No matter what, car rental is going to be a very significant part of vacation budgets again this year. "Bargains" are a thing of the past, at least for Montana.
So how bad is it? Let's look at the week surrounding the 4th of July, a very popular tourist week: (Turo.com was GENERALLY cheaper than traditional car rental companies, but there can be a few drawbacks for the money saved such as the age and condition of the vehicle you're renting from a local.) But once you scroll past a few cheaper options on Turo.com, the prices then soon jump to well over $300 or $400 a day for larger vehicles.
Friday, July 1st, 2022 to Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 on Expedia.com was $242 per day or $1,210 total. That was the LEAST expensive option via Hertz and it was for a "Economy Special". It fits only 4 adults and could be either a 2 door or 4 door. Is that slang for Ford Fiesta???
We also checked Turo.com and although technically less expensive, your cheapest option was still $124 per day for a 10 year old Audi. Not a bargain in my book, although Turo has been massively popular around here simply out of necessity. There's just not enough rental cars.
What seems odd to me is that it appears that rental car inventory at the Bozeman airport has grown drastically to a sea of perfectly lined up sedans and SUVs. Are those not property of the car rental companies? Is it still not enough inventory?
A Turo.com rental of a late model "Bozeman appropriate" vehicle were obviously pricier. A Subaru Outback 2019 Limited, 28 MPG, 4 doors, 5 seats is going for $140 per day.
Heading back to Expedia.com, prices go right back up. A "Compact SUV Nissan Rogue or similar" with unlimited mileage from Hertz is listed at $262 per day or $1,312 total.
Needless to say, if you have friends or family coming to town again this summer, PLAN AHEAD. It's not like prices are getting better as the days tick by. Same goes for hotel rooms. Waiting for bargains to fall out of the sky is futile.
PRO TIP: THIS is the year to use any reward points or credits you may have. Not only will it drop your costs on travel related bills, but many of us had credits extended during COVID-19. Those extensions might be ending soon so double check your status.