A guide to one way rentals

The ultimate guide to one way rentals

Interested in an A to B journey rather than a round-trip drive? One way rentals provide a little extra freedom, so you can get to where you want to go without the worry of having to drive miles back to your starting point. Find out all you need to know about one way car rentals, here.

What is a one way car hire?

A one way car hire is when you collect your car in one location and drop it off elsewhere. In order to do this, suppliers charge a fee to cover the expense of returning the vehicle to its original location. This charge can be applied if you're travelling between cities, countries, airports and sometimes even (though rarely) within the same town. One way rentals are ideal for those who are planning a long road trip, travelling on business or under a time crunch. Although such journeys can be very convenient, they can also come at a hefty price.

What is a drop fee for a rental car?

A one way fee is also known as and sometimes referred to as a “drop fee”. So if you see this on your car hire invoice, it's stating your one way rental charge.

How much is a one way car hire?

One way car hire fees can vary greatly, depending on supplier and the distance between the two selected locations. In some locations such as California, suppliers offer free one way rentals. But typically, for long distance rentals, one way fees can start at £75 and rise above £250.

Common questions

Scoring a cheap one-way rental

Unfortunately one way fees car be difficult to avoid, yet you may be able to hunt down a good deal if you book early enough.

1. Research: Doing your research might not seem like the ultimate trick but it is the most reliable. Look out for seasonal deals and special offers for cheap (possibly free) one way car rentals.

2. Test different destinations: Try searching various start and end points as well as different suppliers. If you're travelling between one popular and one off-the-beaten path destination, dropping off your rental in the more popular location may result in a lower price. This is because the supplier will not want the vehicle to end up somewhere without demand.

3. Vehicle Type: Select a more common type of vehicle, such as an economy or compact car, rather than a higher end or special vehicle. Lower categories of car are more popular, making them easier to rent out from any location.

Tip: With easyCar, you can easily compare various suppliers with the cost of the one way fee already included in the price.

One way car hire between different countries

On occasion, one way car hires are allowed between different countries. In Europe, one way rentals are often permitted so long as the vehicle stays within the EU. However, some suppliers such as Sixt break the EU down into zones, so their cars can only be dropped off between certain EU countries.

One way hires are sometimes be accepted between US and Canada, though between which exact locations is limited. There are certain restrictions from state to state as well, so check the supplier's T&C's beforehand. One way rentals from the US to Mexico are almost never permitted. On the rare occasion they are, it is a major challenge as law require additional insurance and companies impose strict guidelines.

Popular one way car hire routes Average cost
London to Edinburgh £25-£75
Port Elizabeth to Cape Town £40-£65
San Francisco to Los Angeles $150-$300 (but some suppliers don't charge a fee)
Los Angeles to Las Vegas Free
Adelaide to Melbourne £60-£150
Lisbon to Faro £70-£110

Book your car hire now

Other articles you might be interested in