When traveling to Walt Disney World, transportation costs can really make or break your vacation budget. Flights, car rental, parking fees, gas, tolls, etc. really add up quickly!
One trick that you may not have considered is to fly one-way to Florida and drive the other way. Under regular circumstances, this wouldn’t be very frugal advice, since one-way car rentals are usually way more expensive that round trip rentals.
However, due to the influx of seasonal residents and tourists that Florida sees each winter, one-way rentals to and from Florida can be really cheap certain times of year. Since there is a much higher demand for rental cars in Florida in the winter months than during other times of year, car rental companies actually move portions of their fleets down to Florida in the fall, then move them back in the spring. And these companies would LOVE your help moving their fleets of cars around in the spring and fall!
The major companies often offer rental cars for as low as $5/day during the spring and fall when they are trying to re-position their fleets. Right now, Alamo (the official car rental company of Walt Disney World) is offering one-way rentals from Florida for as low as $7.95 per day from April 1st through May 31st. You can even rent a car from Alamo right on Disney World property at the Car Care Center. I checked and a one-way rental for a car picked up at the Disney Car Care Center and returned to Raleigh Durham International Airport in early April costs only $9.95 per day! I searched for the best rates on Orbitz to find this deal, and also found low rates for similar rentals from Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Avis.
To take advantage of these one-way rates, you usually have to live east of the Mississippi, though sometimes they apply to locations in Texas. You also likely need to return the car to an airport, as opposed to a neighborhood location. Rates I saw were good up through full size cars, an nice discounts were also available for SUVs and Minivans.
So if you are planning a trip to Disney in the spring or fall (which are two times that I highly recommend visiting – read why here) consider driving one-way to save on your transportation costs. I would especially recommend this strategy for these visitors:
- Those already planning to rent a car to stay off-property or with friends
- Families for whom round-trip airfare is cost prohibitive
- Those who live close to an airport from which Allegiant offers cheap flights into Sanford International Airport, which is not serviced by Disney’s Magical Express
- Those who want to stop at Cape Canaveral or other spots on their trip
Would you ever consider a one-way car rental to get to/from a Disney World vacation? Please leave a comment below!