Travel Tip of the Day: Doublecheck It’s Your Rental Car

My car rental

Doublecheck It’s Your Rental Car
Believe it or not, I’ve taken the wrong rental car twice—both times because the hotel valet handed me the wrong keys. It was during a period when I rented a lot of cars, when I could never keep track of the make and color (I’d always take a picture of my car whenever I parked in a lot).

The first time I made the mistake was in Providence, RI, and I didn’t notice until I was 30 miles down the road and started flipping through the preset radio buttons. The second time, I was just a few miles from the lot in Chicago when I saw there was only half the amount of gas there was when I left it. I kept going since I was late for an appointment.

Lesson: Always doublecheck it’s your rental car before driving off—and if you do take the wrong one call the hotel or wherever  you picked it up ASAP.

Related: I’ve also had my personal car given to someone else at an LA restaurant. I didn’t panic since I knew the drill.

 

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Johnny Jet

I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

6 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Doublecheck It’s Your Rental Car"

  1. I have some key fobs with snaps or loops on the end that I use to put on the rental or fleet vehicle keys in case I need to hand them off to a valet. It’s easy to recognize if I have the wrong keys, because there’s no bright orange fob attached.

  2. On the subject of valets and rentals,This is a story I have heard.

    An executive of a major US corporation arrives at his European hotel in his rental car at the end of a very long day of travelling. As soon as he parks the car, a guy comes up to him and says “do you want to valet park?” and the guest gives him the keys and the valet takes the car. Since it is not a very big hotel, he assumes that a valet ticket is not necessary.

    The next morning, he goes looking for the valet parking attendant but couldn’t locate anyone. When inquired at the front desk, the answer was that they don’t have a valet parking service.

    Apparently, he was tricked into handing over the keys to conman who happily drove away in the car. And since the car was not “stolen” but willingly was given away, the insurance didn’t cover it.

  3. Whoa, crazy! We’ve never had a mixup with rental cars, but this is definitely a good tip to keep in mind.

  4. Hi Johnny,

    something like this never happened to me. I tried to accidently open the door of a parked car, which looked similar to my rental car, but was unable to get it.
    Your story is just another proof of why I dont like valet. Corvette thought the same and introduced valet mode in their cars, but thats the opposite side of your story.
    It should never happen that the wrong car is given to one. If so, bad valet service. If it would be my car, i wouldn’t let anybody touch or drive my car and then give the keys away. No way.

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