Apparently Hertz has too many rental cars sitting idle on the west coast, so they’re offering a new deal for one-way trips across the country, for as little as $9.99 per day. That’s at least on par with the cost of a flight or train, and it offers an alternative way to travel during the pandemic.
Hertz’s offer, dubbed “Head East Safely,” is only valid for pick-up through February 16, comes with a 10-day maximum, and is available at select locations. The official listed locations are:
- Los Angeles
- Las Vegas
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Washington, DC
However, other cities seem to be currently valid, too. I chose Western cities like Reno and San Diego, Eastern cities like Boston and New York, and got the same $9.99 per day deal (not including taxes and fees). You’ll have to poke around a bit, however, as not all cities trigger the discount.
Plus, the 10-day window is absolute—if you’re traveling far, like from Los Angeles to New York, make sure you can fit in all that driving. Also, for $9.99, expect a small, compact car like a Chevrolet Spark or Ford Focus, although you do have the option to upgrade cars for a few extra bucks per day.
As there’s an ongoing pandemic, you’ll want to follow CDC guidelines and stick to essential travel (e.g., for work, if you’re moving cities, family emergencies). As the CDC states:
Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
You and your travel companions (including children) may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to family, friends, and community after travel.
Their travel guidelines suggest that you:
- Don’t travel if you’re sick.
- Get a COVID test one to three days before your trip.
- Practice social distancing (stay six feet away from other people, wear masks, etc).
- Check the state and local health departments as part of your travel plans and follow all travel restrictions.
Even with all the precautions, traveling by car can be a good option if being surrounded by strangers on planes or trains makes you uncomfortable. But remember, by driving you’ll still potentially be exposed at every stop along the way—at hotels, restaurants and gas stations. To minimize your exposure, limit the number of stops that you make. (Also, a bonus tip based on personal experience: Try to avoid driving through bad weather in the Rocky Mountains whenever you can).