The global pandemic caused car rental agencies to sell off a large portion of their inventory when demand for travel dropped in 2020. According to industry expert, Jonathan Weinberg, vehicles are the most expensive asset for a car rental company and having more sitting around than needed means you are losing money. So selling them off at the time was imperative.
Now car rental companies have huge shortages of cars and due to a global semiconductor shortage, they are unable to purchase enough new cars to cover the anticipated demand coming in summer 2021.
This reduced availability is pushing car rental prices to incredibly high levels. Take, for example, the cost to rent a Jeep Wrangler from Hertz (San Diego International Airport) in August:
Daily weekend base rate: $260.23
Taxes & fees: $71.81
Total per day: $332.04
Now, compare that to renting a fully overland equipped Jeep Wrangler in San Diego, complete with Roof Top Tent - the cost is only $195 per day (excluding cleaning fee) ... for so much more included equipment (and freedom to stay wherever you want!) That's $130 less per day, for a 4 door Wrangler with all the camping equipment included, a roof top tent and you are allowed to drive it off-road! Hertz certainly don't allow their vehicles to be taken off the public highways.
“As Americans start planning their summer getaways, too many travelers are blissfully oblivious to the apocalypse that awaits them in 2021,” Weinberg said. “They may think they can simply go back to the vacation game plan they relied upon before the pandemic — lock down their flights first, reserve a hotel soon afterward and book a rental car whenever they get around to it. But doing things the old way won’t work this year.”
In fact, let's take a brief look at the costs of renting a regular Jeep from Hertz, staying in a hotel in Southern California for a few days versus renting a 4x4 off road Jeep with Roof Top Tent, from San Diego:
If you have a party of more than 2 or 3 people, the savings by going with a locally operated Overland Rental Company are even bigger. For example, an Adventure Van which sleeps 4 adults and 2 children has a lower daily rental rate than a weekend rental from Hertz in August. This Adventure Van is only $250 per day and comes with onboard power, water, a roof top tent, a slide out kitchen and many other extras: Funki Adventure Van
Our advice is to book now, for summer. As outlined above, rental cars are expensive and with the high demand, may not even be available for your trip. So if you opt to go with the more cost effective and value for money option of an Overland Vehicle, book asap - these fully kitted out Jeeps and vans could be booked out before long too!