If you know me, you know my husband and I enjoy traveling. Don’t ever expect a list of travel tips from me, however, because I’m really not all that good at it. I’m not one of those people who can pack everything I need for ten days into a carry-on bag. I can never find anything in my backpack, and I still haven’t quite mastered the art of putting the baggage tag on without leaving some of the sticky exposed (probably because IT’S NOT MY JOB).
However, last week we flew to Phoenix on a non-rev pass (one of the perks we get for raising a pilot), and I finally figured out one travel tip I can pass along.
We were able to find a nice hotel using our credit card points. I love those credit card points, and hey, if you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get rewarded for all that shopping! So, we had our hotel and our flight but still needed transportation while in Phoenix. The rental company we always use didn’t have cars available for the days of our visit. I checked some other rental options but just wasn’t finding anything reasonably priced. I decided I’d check again later because, at that point, my computer patience was running thin.
Fast forward to the morning of our departure when I realized I still hadn’t reserved a car. In the car, on the way to the airport, I went online again, sure my favorite agency would have had some cancellations, and a car would be available for us—no such luck. I did eventually find a car at a different agency for $450! FOR THREE DAYS! That just seemed like a prohibitive rate to me, so no.
That’s when I remembered the time I talked to a fellow traveler when I was out in the Los Angeles area. He told me he uses Uber every time he’s in L.A. to eliminate driving in the infamous L.A. traffic. He finds it’s cheaper or about the same price as renting a car. I figured why not try it?
Not only did we save about $300 on transportation, we never once got lost or frustrated with directions, we never had to search for a parking spot, and we always got dropped off right by the front door. And, if I took Ubers regularly, I’d have enough fodder for a second book because people are fascinating!
There were a couple of times we had trouble getting a car. When we put our request into the app, it said there were no cars available. The first time it happened, we were at a resort for lunch, so we just found a spot in the shade, waited 15 minutes before trying again, and soon we were on our way.
The second time wasn’t quite so uneventful. We planned to leave the hotel at 5:30 for a 7:10 flight, so at 5:15, I opened my Uber app and entered our destination. That pesky little “no cars available” notice popped up. No problem, I figured I could just call for a cab. Long story short: that did not work well. After 15 minutes, I was in a full-on panic and tried Uber again. Still no cars available. Thankfully I thought to request a Uber car and found one that could be here in 11 minutes. Phew!
If you decided to try this idea take my advice and reserve a car to get yourself back to the airport. It’ll save you some unnecessary stress.