I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Living in NYC and not having to own a car is a DREAM!
I have no time for bringing my car into the shop, paying crazy gas prices, dealing with exorbitant insurance costs, or searching for hours just to find the perfect parking spot. What a terrible way to live your life on a daily basis.
That said, a few times a year, I actually find cars useful. Maybe you are visiting friends/family that are nearby that aren’t close to NJ Transit, Metro North, or Long Island Railroad. Maybe you need a romantic getaway. Maybe you are one of those people that just LOVES a good drive every once in a while (personally, I don’t get it, but these people do exist).
Whatever your reason, you think to yourself, “I guess it’s time to bite the bullet and rent a car”. Then you look at rental prices…
Rental cars in Manhattan can be WELL over $100/day. Thinking about Zip Car? Think again. It’s just as expensive AND you have monthly fees to pay even when you aren’t using the car. Side tangent: I have yet to figure out HOW Zip Car stays in business other than corporate accounts for people who need to jet off on business trips all the time. It makes ZERO sense financially, at least here in NYC.
Of course, you can look into ride shares, but you have to be really flexible on timing. Plus riding in cars with strangers has never been my thing.* You also don’t get to hold on to the car once you get to your destination. Man, even RelayRides is too expensive and difficult to find a car in a location that works.
Don’t worry. There’s a solution! Guess where rental car rates are LESS terrible. New Jersey! All you have to do is take public transportation out to Jersey and rent a car there. Here are step by step instructions for two different car rental places that I have used.
Little Ferry, NJ
Step 2: Find a sweet deal on a compact car. I have found deals for $40/day or LESS! Book it!
Step 3: On the day of your travel, head to Port Authority and hop on New Jersey Transit Bus 161. It costs $4.25 each way.
Step 4: Follow this map and get off at Main Street. Keep following the map and walk .25 miles to the Avis!
Travel Time: 37 Minutes from Port Authority
Step 2: Find a sweet deal on a compact car. Again, I have found deals for $40/day or LESS! Book it!
Step 3: On the day of your travel, head to Port Authority and hop on New Jersey Transit Bus 190 (again $4.25 each way). Hate buses? Head to Penn Station and take an NJ Transit train to Secaucus and switch the the Bergen County Line ($5.25 each way)
Travel Time: 26 minutes from Port Authority OR Penn Station
Note: You CAN return cars on Sunday to Little Ferry, but you CANNOT return them on Sundays to Rutherford.
No doubt, there are countless other places you can rent from and ways to get there, but there you have it. A simple, cheap way to rent a car and get out of the city for a little while. Sure, it takes you an extra hour both ways, but you are saving around $60/day – even for 1 day, I’d say that’s worth it!
Just be sure to pack light-ish (these are not airport busses and a lot of luggage is a bit unwieldy – carry-ons work well) and PAY ATTENTION to your bus stop. You don’t want to fly by it!
Of course, you will still have to pay for gas. Welcome to the world of 99% of Americans. Poor souls.
*Maybe I should try ride shares out. I shouldn’t knock it unless I am SURE it’s not worth the savings.
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