ZipCar: Using This Car Sharing Service When I Travel
I have never used ZipCar, a car-sharing service in the past but recently tried this service while I was in Vancouver. I’ve always had a car so I never really thought about using a service of this nature prior to this trip. Whenever I have travelled I would always rent a car with the big car rental companies but have heard so much about car sharing from my car-less friends. I decided I would try out a few services while I was in Vancouver.
The benefits of ZipCar
ZipCar is a great service when you don’t own a car but occasionally need one to run errands. You know those times when you have to do an Ikea run or need to go to your storage unit? You can use the car by the hour or by the day. The best part about ZipCar is that gas and insurance are included and you can choose from different types of cars like a van or a hatchback or a hybrid.
ZipCar is not only great for city dwellers; it’s also great for travellers. Why? I liked the idea of not having to deal with rental car insurance. I always debate or rather risk not getting insurance when I rent a car. It’s nice to know it’s included and it makes the experience less stressful. Gas? I’ll admit it can be annoying to have to fill up the exact amount that was in the car when you picked it up. I also like that you could use it for as little as an hour or for an overnight trip.
For my trip to the Painted Boat Resort on the Sunshine Coast of BC, I used a ZipCar. Before I left for Vancouver I applied for a ZipCar account online. I was already in transit so rather than have their membership card mailed to my home address in the USA, I picked one up at their Vancouver office.
Normally you would receive your membership card by mail at home. You need this card because this is what opens and closes the car since you don’t have a key. Inside each ZipCar is the key for the ignition. (ZipCar now has an app which you can use to unlock their cars.)
The mileage situation is a bit different from most standard rental car companies. Usually, rental cars include unlimited mileage but with ZipCar there is a cap of 150 miles per day. Most usage is for quick trips within the city. I wasn’t planning on going too far from the resort so it was a perfect amount.
I picked up a Ford Focus that was parked near a Skytrain (Vancouver’s version of a subway) and then headed off for my trip. The car drove well and when I had to fill it up, I used the gas card that’s inside the car.
When you travel to a bigger city with public transportation you don’t necessarily need a car the whole time. But if there’s one attraction or thing you want to do that’s further away, ZipCar is perfect.
I’m currently in New York City and my cousin and I are thinking about visiting DIA: Beacon Museum in Newburgh, New York. It is about an hour and a half away from Manhattan. ZipCar would be ideal because there’s one parked nearby and we just want to pop up to the Museum, maybe grab lunch in the area and then come back. We could take the train up there but there’s at least 4 of us going and it’s a $40 return ticket each just for the train up north. It would make sense to just use a car-sharing service in this situation.
Have you ever used car-sharing services while travelling??
**Disclosure: Many thanks to ZipCar for their hospitality. I was given a credit to try out their service. As always, opinions stated are solely my own.**