Rental Car Deals and Tips 2012

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Please use this space to share information on various car rental companies, deals that you got, discounts, etc. Ride shares should be posted on the rideshare page but share all other info on rental cars and trucks here!

When planning rideshares and rental cars, make sure to take into account that in addition to seats in the vehicle you will need a lot of space for your gear, food, water, etc that you are buying in Reno. There is no set calculation for this but it pays to get a minivan or bigger vehicle even if there are only 3-4 of you in a car.

Upgrades - Many rental car companies offer upgrades at the counter for less than they would charge for that class online if you booked it in advance. If you are very cost conscious and yet worried about space, you can often reserve something that is the bare minimum for your space needs and then ask at the counter about available upgrades if they dont offer it on their own. You may end up stuck with what you initially reserved though, so do be prepared for that.

NOTE: Many rental car companies are hesitant to rent to people going out to BM and will make you sign a special release, etc. If you take a car out you must clean the inside and outside well in Reno before you return the car, and also open up the hood and clean off the top of the engine compartment. Please plan on spending some time doing this before you return the car. If you return it dusty, you will get charged a fee as high as $250.00 by the car company for the cleaning

Car Cleaning Tips:

  • Armor-all - Armor all is great for the insides of the vehicle and hard surfaces. It helps to get the playa off instead of just moving it around like other solvents and water may do.
  • Baby-wipes - also helpful on some surfaces
  • Vinegar - adding some vinegar to the cleaning solution helps get playa off


Trevor Stow's Cargo U-Haul Cargo Van experience, Reno 2008

My friends and I needed a van for the weekend before the burn, as we were in an RV, but needed to do shopping in a smaller vehicle. Once we got to the U-Haul, they told us they could not rent their cargo vans to out-of-state licenses. I explained that I'd spoken on the phone with the store manager a few weeks prior; he knew I was from New York. No dice. The manager was conveniently on vacation (weekend before Burning Man!), and his employees were left behind the counter to get shouted at.

We tried reaching someone at U-Haul headquarters; it was like trying to file a complaint with the Communist Party. No one would even apologize. That's U-Haul for ya.

For me, this was not such a problem as we weren't taking the van to the Burn, but a couple came in after us to pick up their 10-day cargo van rental and were also denied. They were telling some story about moving things to Lake Taho, but the employees weren't buying it.

My friends and I went back to the airport and rented an SUV from Enterprise. Enterprise were super nice and said they were okay with us taking the vehicle to Burning Man.


Trevor Stow's Cargo Rental Experience, 2009

In 2009, I tried again to get a cargo van. They're a great size vehicle for Burning Man.

I made reservations at 3 locations in the Bay Area. All 3 reservations were cancelled by their respective companies. One company called me to see why I was renting the van; the other two just sent me an email.

Point is, don't rent a cargo van unless you're sure it'll be kosher to bring to the burn.