Rent a Car for Cheap in NYC

Rent a Car for Dirt Cheap in NYC

Rent a Car for Cheap in NYCI’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 1: Go on and/or and search for rental cars in 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

Rutherford, NJ

Step 1: Go on and/or and search for rental cars in Rutherford, NJ

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)

Step 4: For bus travel, follow this map and for train travel, follow this one! Take a short walk to 1 Orient 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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8 thoughts on “Rent a Car for Dirt Cheap in NYC

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Isn’t it crazy what a difference a little trip across the hudson makes in pricing?
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted: Make an Extra $300 Selling Old ClothesMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget December 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      It really is!

  2. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer February 22, 2015 at 12:47 am

    OMG. You have no idea how useful and helpful this post was. I am always thinking of day/weekend trips I can take out of the city and then I look at rental prices and say to myself ‘no way’. Now I don’t have to! THANKS!!! 😀
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted: A Cultural Exploration of Fried ChickenMy Profile

    • Mr NYBudget February 22, 2015 at 11:50 am

      So glad you liked it. I am actually trying another rental car place that’s in Weehawken, NJ:

      The nice thing about that place is it is a $9 ferry ride out of the city from the port on 38th and the Hudson. I plan on updating this post if it works out well!

  3. Veronica Marks December 11, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    That’s a great idea to look outside the city for a rental place. I was actually just looking for rentals in Orlando, and definitely don’t want to pay the prices I was seeing. They aren’t quite as high as in Manhattan, but still a bit too much for my liking. I’ll have to search outside the main area a bit and see what I can come up with. Thanks for the genius tip!

    • Mr NYBudget December 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Veronica!

  4. Gokhan Degirmenci June 8, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Good advice to be sure the price you are quoted is the whole price. I have rented a car many times and gotten to the counter and been given a totally different price. Asking a few questions should clear everything up to avoid this from happening to you.

  5. Gokhan Degirmenci July 18, 2016 at 6:10 am

    At first i rented a very old car from someone that ad his car for rent on cragslist but car broke after 10 days and that person was trying to get $700 from me for the broken car! I had to take the bus for few days until one of the students at the school send me to arrow rent a car, they are doing mostly long term car rental and they dont charge under age fee. Honestly i was very happy with the price and the car. Cars are not too old and are run good. I rented the car from them for 4 months and bought the same car from them because it was runing good and when i asked them if they will sell it they said yes and was a good price too.I am not relitive to this company and posting this review for others students that have my situation. Good luck with you.

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