For many of us who travel it is common to land at an airport and hire a car for the duration or part of the trip. Whether you’re on your own or with a family, there is a real sense of freedom that comes with hiring a car and having that independence to go anywhere and do anything.
The whole travel industry was spun upside down when AirBnB enabled home owners to rent a room or an entire place online with the ease of booking a hotel without the high costs. It also helped home owners make an extra buck from their dwellings. It was surely a matter of time before someone did the same for the cars that sit in our driveways and it somehow was named Turo.
Turo is best described as the AirBnB for cars, it is an app and website that enabled you to look at various cars in locations and between particular dates. There are parameters that can be set to help you find the ideal car/SUV/truck for your trip. Owners can list their own cars for rent or if you’re travelling this is a great alternative to the normal hire car option.
What is immediately obvious is that you’ll find plenty of cars on Turo that don’t exist in any rental lot. From a Hyundai i30 to a Tesla Model X to a Ferrari California. You will easily find a car to suit your budget. Each car is also offered with included mileage which then has a nominal fee per mile exceeding that quota, something you need to pay attention to if you’re planning a road trip!
Many owners will also offer a delivery option which means that you can have the car delivered to you and collected when you’re done with it.
We were planning a trip to San Francisco and wanted a car for a day trip to Napa Valley. If you’re going to explore one of the worlds largest wine regions, why not do it in style? We tossed up between the Jaguar F-Type, the Porsche Boxster and a Tesla Model 3. For less than $200 we could be behind the wheel of either car for the day.
We booked the Porsche and asked for a 7:30am delivery. The owner sent me a text in the morning to say he was on the way, we met in the lobby and after a few minutes of being shown how to take the roof off etc, we were away. Driving a random persons car around the streets of San Francisco using the GPS to guide us over the Golden Gate Bridge into wine country. What a thrill!
The Porsche Boxster is all about looks to be honest, this isn’t a car review but we knew we were behind the wheel of a posers car, but who cares, it’s a freaking Porsche.
Initially we were conscious of the mileage issue as Napa is not exactly close to the city but at $1.25 per extra mile we just went for it and made the most of the trip.
Upon the return we sent the owner a message (all through the Turo app) and met at the hotel again. The extra mileage was calculated and that charge later came through the app also. You will get charged for not refuelling the car but in the US it’s too complicated to figure out their petrol stations.
As we’ve now been through the entire process we can share a few things we’ve learned. The app will try and guide you to take pictures of the car upon collection, note the odometer and fuel levels. But it is extremely easy to be swept up during the handover that you ignore those things. It’s really important that you do note the details because they could bite you later. As the owner makes those claims after they’ve taken the car back you’ll need evidence to prove any dispute. Insurance is added through the booking and just like a normal hire car experience you can pay more to reduce the excess, nothing really surprising there. Oh but you don’t need to pay a hire car company for a GPS unit, most modern cars just have them!
It is worth noting that this is not a service specific to the USA, we’ve found Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s in Sydney which are available. Turo is definitely a service that can meet your needs for a family vacation with a modest car which is cheaper to hire than one from Avis, but it also meets the needs of someone who wants to treat themselves or be given a treat and spend a day behind the wheel of something truly special.
More info: Turo.com