Car Rental Mirage: Unlimited Mileage

Camping Tip Of The Day

Beware of car rental companies offering “unlimited miles”, as they do not mean it! Why don’t they just put in the contract: “By unlimited miles we mean: no more than x thousand miles per week.”

Some may offer unlimited miles but restrict the states you can drive in.

From a cursory glance at various postings in regards to this situation, I think that if you drive more than 1,000 miles per week you could be given a tongue lashing, at the very least.

They would say it is an “unwritten rule” as if we would all have the same view. But, opinions differ. Some say they drove a few thousand miles in a few weeks and did not garner even an eyebrow raise. One can not just “Google” it and find out. Many will say: “It varies by location. You have to read the contract.” Sounds good. The trouble is that the rental agency will not explicitly state how many miles unlimited miles constitutes.

Some may not even mention the geographic restrictions till after!

Also, it seems that if you book using a travel service online you will not get the exact contract till you show up to pick up the car. Here’s the rub: What if you were intending to rent a car for 10 days to see 10 states. You get there and find out you can only use the car in one state. What are you going to do? Cause a scene? Cancel the rental and try to see if  you can luck out and find a car at the last minute?

In some cases, they will let you drive in “bordering states”. But, still, if  you had rented a car for 10 days only because you would be driving to 10 states, you would have to cut the rental down.

I have heard that their cars are equipped with gps tracking to see where you went. So, you should not try to get around this.

My answer is to assume that they will limit my driving to the given state they are in and bordering states. So, I will book a shorter rental term. Obviously, I will read the contract, but I want to know upfront, before I book.


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Pat Reynolds, Sr Editor at Feel free to repost this anywhere with a link to

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