How Brits can save a fortune on car hire in Puerto Rico

A strange thing happens if you try to book a hire car in Puerto Rico from the UK. For instance, when you search for car hire from the UK, the USA sites offer cars for as little as $124. However, when you try to book, the page redirects to the UK site where the same car costs almost £600. Disgusting discrimination at its very best! So if you need to hire a car, here are 3 travel hacks to help you save a fortune on car hire in Puerto Rico.

a bridge over water with buildings in the background in Condado lagoon
Condado Lagoon, San Juan, Puerto Rico

How to save a fortune on car hire in Puerto Rico

1. Get a US friend to book

If you have friends or family who live in a US time zone, you can ask them to book for you. This also applies if you are in Dominican Republic so I am going to assume that if you are anywhere in a US time zone this hack will work.

Of course, this involves a large element of trust as you will have to give your friend or family member your credit card details.

Do not allow them to book using their card as sometimes you have to produce the card you used to book when you pick up your car.

a building with a balcony in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Colourful buildings of the old town in San Juan, Puerto Rico

2. Get a VPN

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a VPN is a virtual private network. If you look on your app store, you can take your pick from hundreds. You will need to subscribe, but can usually pay for an annual subscription for around £30. We purchased Surf Shark for just £56 for 24 months with a 30 day money back guarantee.

This a very worthwhile investment as it could save you over £500. It also gives you the added benefit of being able to access BBC and other restricted sites when you are out of the UK.

When you log in, switch the VPN to a US time zone. You should then be able to book the US priced option.

a group of people outside with umbrellas and palm trees
Street scenes in San Juan, Puerto Rico

3. Book once in a US time zone

This option may not be an option as it depends on your travel itinerary. Let me explain by way of an example.

Quite by accident I wanted to change the date of our car hire booking. Yes, the one that cost £590. The ‘manage my booking’ (big mistake Holiday Autos) option was not making it easy to change! Their loss!

I started a new search for car hire in Puerto Rico and found a car for $124. I then went ahead and cancelled our original booking. Most ccar rentals allow free cancellation up to 24 or 48 hours so I managed to cancel for free and saved around £500 in the process.

Note, this strategy only works if one if the following applies:

  1. You are willing to search for car rentals immediately on arrival. This may be a stress inducing option, particularly if you have no flexibility around your booking.
  2. You are willing to book a transfer and return the airport at a later date. Remember the huge time saving will cover your transfer costs.
  3. Your itinerary includes a stop in a US time zone prior to your final destination.

It worked well for us because we were in Dominican Republic for a week before heading to Puerto Rico for New year.

a stone wall with a stone structure at one of the fortifications of the old town in San Juan
Defense fortifications of San Juan

Final thoughts

This, of course makes me wonder if the same rip off tactics are applied anywhere in the US Caribbean. It is definitely worth trying hack 2 to see if this is the case before you confirm your booking.

Finally, as this is my last blog before the New Year, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy a superb New Year. Best wishes for 2024!

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About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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