Car Rental Tip:
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Before our trip to St. Thomas we booked a Van through Budget at the Airport. Showed up with all our confirmations and, just like for the people in front of us, they did not have our vehicle -- nothing even close to large enough to hold the 6 of us. So, just like the people in front of us, we were directed to the next door counter, Avis, who of course could help us but at a greatly inflated price. What could we do but take it? I can only conclude -- nice little scam Budget and Avis have going there. I always thought when you confirm a reservation, that means it will be there waiting for you. Stay away from Budget and Avis. Go here instead: Dependable car rental--800-522-3076
My only problem with Discount is I asked for a quote for both mid- and full size vehicles and the following is their response:
Toyota Corolla, 4 door, automatic, a/c, with all discounts and taxes included $314.00. These cars are not allowed to go to St. John.
Chevy Cobalt &/or Nissan Sentra, 4 door, automatic, a/c, with all discounts and taxes included $329.00. These cars are not allowed to go to St. John.
SUV Jeep Wrangler (the front section over the driver and passenger can be removed) and/or SUV Jeep Liberty, 4 door, automatic, seats 5 passengers, hard top, 4x4, a/c, with all discounts and taxes included the total will be $539.00. These vehicles are allowed to go to St. John.
So, the only vehicles they allow on the barge will cost $200+ more. Don't see that as an incentive to use them. Haven't requested a quote from Dependable yet, but will and post their reply.
In June, we thought about renting a smaller car, but we knew that if we were going to STJ, a jeep was our only option.
Discount was very nice to us. When we rented for 9 days and had to take it back 4 days later (Mom got sick), they only charged us for the 5 days. Even though our travel insurance would have paid for those extra days, I thought that was a very nice gesture from Discount.
The reason they do not allow those cars to go to STJ is because of the roads on STJ. It is HIGHLY recommended that you drive a 4WD on STJ, so much so that most STJ rental companies will only rent you a 4WD.
I don't understand their rationale, I have used compact, mid and full size vehicles on STJ with no problem. MAYBE, if I were staying on STJ and not just doing a day trip (as all of my trips have been) I might have a different opinion. Also, I haven't been to any of the beaches you actually need or should have a 4WD and of course I could understand it in that situation.
It is an insurance risk they don't want to take. When roads on STJ are wet, switchbacks can be extremely hard to manuever with a small car. Many will take a car off the beaten path, thinking that they will have no problem navigating them, when in fact, there are roads on STJ that you MUST have a 4wd for.
They can not rent you a car, let you take it to STJ and trust that you will stick to paved dry roads.
Bottom line, their cars, their rules.
I can absolutely understand that. We rented a mini van last year and went over to St. John. Took a wrong turn and ended up on such steep roads that I had to cover my eyes while my husband drove. So I agree with you on the 4 x 4 although that mini van did make it with 6 adult passengers. Would I do it again? No.
Discount Car Rental Rules - if you should have a machanical breakdown in St. John, they will either walk you through the problems, send a machanic or send a machanic with a replacement vehicle. Since we are talking about machanical item, you never know when one will break down - even in the newer vehicles.
If you should have a flat tire - you get to change that yourself as they do not send machanic to change flat tire.
If you have to pay to bring the vehicle back to St. Thomas - I bet you would only do this once. With Discount Car Rental - they will take care of the expense unless you totally had abused the vehicle. (even then they still will send a machanic, or replacement vehicle.)
You might not go off road - this is not the only time you need 4 wheel drive - especially in St.John.
Also putting 2 wheel drive vehicles on the barge, sometimes it damages the bottom of the car as they sit too low to the ground.
Funny - how everyone wants cheap, cheap but expect the best - and don't care how you treat the vehicle or what you put the vehicle through.
If everyone would treat the rental cars like they would treat their own cars, maybe rental car agencies could keep the rental cost down? (Not that this is the only reason why rental cars here on de island cost more than what you pay on the mainland.)
And last but very important - when you make reservation with Discount Car Rental, you will have a vehicle when you arrive here on St. Thomas.