Trying A New Way To Getaround

August 7, 2014

It’s true for any vacation: planning is key — and things rarely go to plan. Prior driving plans for a leg of my trip around Northern California this past week were falling through. I needed a car fast, and having neither time or the age requirements for a traditional rental car, a significant part of my vacation seemed to be deteriorating.

I was staying with friends in San Francisco, and the great thing about being a young adult in that city is that you live with at least three other people who can’t help but overhear every conversation you have. (Sure, it’s a good thing). Cue one of our hosts, who chimed in that a friend of a friend (sounds promising already, right?) had used something called Getaround and that we should check it out.

Not going on this extra leg of my trip was a non-option, so after 10 minutes of essential “Getaround” Googling, three minutes of sign-up to provide my information and two minutes of driver’s license and history verification, there was a car ready for us to rent for the entire day just five blocks away. For less than $80, I rented a 2010 Prius to drive the 250-mile round trip along the beautiful Pacific coast to Monterey. I had an amazing day with my dearest friend — not to mention that I can now brag that I can drive those steep streets of San Francisco like a pro. I was so pleased with my experience, I had to share!

Getaround Car

For those of you who don’t know, Getaround is an online/mobile app car-sharing service that lets drivers rent cars from private owners, and for car owners to rent out their cars for payment. Available in San Francisco, Austin, Portland, San Diego and Chicago with no membership fees, it’s a smart way to use the cars we already have, or if you are a scooter owner and need something on the fly for a quick trip.

I’m one of those people who is super cautious about these peer-to-peer sharing models. But I felt really comfortable using this service. Getaround screens every renter and provides insurance with 24/7 roadside assistance during the period of your trip. Kind of like Airbnb, reviews can be left of owners, and owners can also leave reviews of their renters. I lucked out with a great Prius owner who called me back right away when I had a question regarding how to drive a Prius. It really sounds like the engine is dead at a stoplight!

As transportation options continue to evolve, and with the recent city council decision regarding Uber and Lyft, I bet it’s only a matter of time before this great service makes it’s way to Minneapolis. In the meantime, here are some options that we currently have if you’re looking for a quick rental at a great price:

  • ZipCar — Same idea, you can rent a car whenever you need one. Billable by the hour or by the day, which provides great flexibility. With a monthly membership fee, make sure you’re committed to using it to get your money’s worth
  • HOURCAR — A nonprofit with a one-time membership fee, your fob reader will unlock any car you need. With an hourly rate and $.25 per mile, long road trips wouldn’t be ideal, but perfect for city and outlying metro driving.
  • Car2Go — You know, those cute little Smart cars you see scattered around the Minneapolis neighborhoods. This is a great option, but again, just for city driving. There’s no monthly fees and you can even leave it where your end location is.