Apr162014

Drive North! $15 to $20 per day one-way car rentals from Florida

For years I have known about the migration of rental cars between Florida in the spring north, and in late fall, the migration back to Florida for winter rental car inventory in the sunshine state. Rates for Florida are under $20 per day for one-way rentals in May 2014 to northern states from Raleigh, North Carolina to Boston, Massachusetts.

The deal here is the opportunity to fly inexpensively one way to Florida, rent a car and then drive the rental car somewhere out-of-state north to a place like Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Boston or any other place where another one-way cheap ticket by plane gets you back home.

One-way car rentals in May 2014 are as low as $15 to $20 after tax, per day, from Jacksonville to Miami for any size car from economy to full size for travel from all the major companies like Hertz, National, and Enterprise car rentals.

I never gave much attention to the opportunity for Florida one-way car rentals to northern states, until today, when I thought about a road trip along US Route 17, the Coastal Highway from Florida to Virginia.

At $15 per day for a one-way car rental from Jacksonville or $19 per day from Miami, the opportunity to tour for two or three weeks in a car picked up in Miami, Florida and dropped off in New York is an incredibly inexpensive transportation option. $300 to $380 for 20 days of car travel can get you to a lot of places in the USA.

Hertz MIA-LGA 19-day

$19.21 per day for one-way Miami-New York LGA, Hertz Standard-Size car 7-day rental $134.47.

Even SUV rentals are highly discounted at $31 per day from Miami to New York- LGA.

MIA-LGA ow Enterprise SUV $31

Enterprise SUV for Miami  to New York MIA-LGA one-way rental at $31/day. $217 for one week.

Once I looked more closely at potential itineraries and the cost of flights from Monterey, my desire was to limit the driving distance with a Jacksonville, Florida rental car pick-up and an IAD airport, Washington D.C. drop-off.

Jacksonville Airport car rentals are even less than Miami at $15 per day with most major companies for rentals in May 2014.

National JAX-IAD 15

National Car Rental: Jacksonville, Florida – Dulles IAD Airport, Virginia one-way rental at $15.23 per day. $106.61 week.

Seven days driving north is time to visit one place for an extended stay or several places. Near Jacksonville, Florida are Amelia Island, Florida north of Jacksonville and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, a large barrier island reached by ferry with no cars allowed.

Tourist cities and regions along the Atlantic coast include,

  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

One week is barely enough time to squeeze in several good destinations and a 1,000-mile drive along the Atlantic coast.

And there is always the option to focus on an inland drive north along the Appalachian routes for a different scenic and cultural adventure.

Google Maps Southeast

Google Maps Jacksonville, Florida to New York, NY.

Just an East Coast thing?

Being in California there is no similar dynamic situation of car shuffling along the west coast between San Diego and Seattle. Checked a couple of sample rates for one-way one week rentals to Seattle in May.

  • A car rental for one week in May from San Francisco to Seattle is $70 per day for a Standard size car rental from Fox ($490 week)
  • Monterey is $84 per day for an Economy size car from Hertz for one-way to Seattle ($582 week).

Florida flights on sale for too

Airfare to Miami is as low as $141 on Delta today from San Francisco for May flights and under $200 from Washington D.C. IAD back to SFO with United. Monterey flights are only slightly more.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. You could easily do a pleasant weeklong vacation just from Jacksonville to Charleston with some combination of the following, depending on your interests: St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Amelia Island / Fernadina Beach, Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island, Savannah, Beaufort, Charleston.

  2. @Nick – The $15 one-way rental rate does work for Jacksonville to Charleston.

    Charleston is a higher airfare than Raleigh and IAD for me.

    The reason I started looking at these one-way rates is I have not been in the coastal area of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia since 1977. I have a 5-night hotel reservation in New York. The one-way rental seemed like a good opportunity for driving up the coast from Florida to New York.

    Then, as I looked up the places along the way, my thoughts changed from driving to New York to driving to D.C. or Raleigh, NC and flying home in a week and canceling the New York sightseeing trip. For me, the idea was a scouting trip to check out different places and familiarize myself with the southeast.

    Low fares from Scandinavia to USA make these one-way rentals a cheap transportation opportunity for Europeans to fly into Florida and out of New York.

  3. Just checked and also see the $15 per day rate in May is applicable for one-way with drop off in San Francisco.

    That would be an extreme road trip that I would love to do. One of my travel dreams is to drive US Route 6 across country from Cape Cod to California. Add Jacksonville to Cape Cod and that would be a 4,000+ miles trip.

    Convincing my wife that a three-week road trip would be a good business move might be difficult.

  4. Hello from Jacksonville! If you do decide to start your trip here – might I suggest that you take 2-3 days in the Jacksonville area?

    You would need 1 day to visit St Augustine. Basically, you would go to St. George Street and walk around. Flagler College is worth a look. It was built by Henry Flagler as a luxury hotel in the late 1800’s. You want to visit the Castillo de San Marcos and maybe the St Augustine lighthouse.

    In Jacksonville, if you are there on a Saturday, I would start in Riverside and go to the Riverside Arts market. You are then down the street to the Cummer museum – which is worth it for the gardens.

    I would then drive down to Mandarin and visit the Walter Jones historic park and explore the area where Harriet Beecher Stowe used to live.

    You could then drive out to Mickler’s Beach near Ponte Vedra for a stroll on the beach.

    If you wanted to spend more time in Jacksonville, you could also go to the Zoo (which is fairly good – and you can feed giraffes), tour the Budweiser plant, hang out at Atlantic or Jacksonville Beach or

    The next day, you would then start to head north.

    Let me know if you have any questions about Jax!

  5. @Katherine – Thanks for the Jacksonville travel tips. I do not have fond memories of Jacksonville from my last visit. Several of the places you mention sound interesting to me.

  6. OK, but when does it start on the other way around. Any good dates for trips from the north to Florida?

  7. If you haven’t been to the southeast coast since the 70s, you definitely need to give it another visit. What didn’t you like about Jacksonville? I lived there for a bit in the late 90s, it’s not so bad.

    And to follow up on Katherine’s advice: I would also recommend a day in St. Augustine. The old town area is neat, and the gator farm is pretty cool too.

    Haven’t been there in forever, but I also like Little Talbot Island State Park on account of the fact that you can get a beach all to yourself.

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