Plan ahead for those rentals

Sara Ziegler and Jennifer Dostal

Last-minute trip planners who want to rent a car for spring break may be too late to find a rental car in Ames.

Car rental agencies in Ames have been overrun with inquiries for rentals during Iowa State’s spring break next week.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 2212 South Duff Ave., has been “very busy because of spring break,” said Kelly Herrold, management trainee. Seventeen cars are rented for this weekend, which is over twice the normal number of rentals.

Most of the cars that have been rented from Enterprise are minivans and mid-sized cars. Herrold said many students who travel in groups during break ordered larger-sized automobiles weeks ago. “The minivans have been booked for weeks,” she said.

Dave Cox, of Rent-A-Wreck, 925 Airport Road, said normally all of its 10-car-fleet is rented during the weekends, so many students who tried to rent for spring break were out of luck.

One group of students had to leave for its trip to New Orleans early because it couldn’t get a car when it wanted one. “Let me put it this way; They’re back already,” she said.

There are certain specifications for renting a car. Enterprise, Rent-A-Wreck, and U-Save Auto Rental, 705 S. Duff, will only rent to people over 21 years old. At Enterprise, customers under 25 years must also be able to verify they have complete insurance coverage.

A valid driver’s license is also a requirement, but many agencies will accept international driver’s licenses. International students actually make up a large percentage of renters, since they frequently don’t have cars here. Cox said the international students “are our best customers.”

While many national agencies are leery about renting to students because of high accident rates, local agencies are more than willing to serve ISU students. Doug Livy, owner of U-Save Auto Rental, said during spring break last year, there was only one accident out of approximately 50 rentals.

Rates at the three agencies are generally on a daily basis.

The rates at Enterprise are $38.99 a day for mid-sized cars and $65.99 a day for minivans. And 200 miles a day are free for both sizes.

U-Save rents compact cars at $19.95 a day, mid-sized at $24.95, full-sized at $29.95, and minivans at $43.95, with 100 miles are free weekly and $.20 extra for each additional mile.

Rent-A-Wreck has an individual rental agreement that varies according to destination and length of the trip.

For students still looking to rent a car in Ames, “chances of getting a car now are very slim,” Herrold said.