Renting a car really sucks when you’re young. Most rental companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz, et al) will tack on an absurd “underage surcharge” that may even cost more than the car rental itself. Typically this is an additional $25 per day on top of the rental charge. It’s total bullshit. Who in their right mind would pay this fee anyway?
Luckily there’s a few ways you can skip out on these underage fees. Here are some good options for you:
1. You can book through an agency that doesn’t charge underage fees. (Going to Australia? Apex is a good choice.)
2. You can use a CDP code that includes a fee waiver. Anyone can join USAA as a limited member (Only military families can use banking or insurance products, but go ahead and apply anyway) and get access to their corporate travel portal. USAA is special because their CDP codes waive underage fees and spouse driver fees at Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise anywhere in the USA. They also are typically pretty good with rate discounts. (I paid about $13/day to rent a Prius from the airport in Cleveland last January. You should be able to do under $20 most days no problem.) This is my go-to car rental solution.
3. Some universities partner with a rental agency that will waive the fees at the campus location. But seriously, just join USAA so you’re always covered.
Don’t forget to use a credit card with primary car rental insurance (if you have one). Just decline the agency insurance and the credit card company will cover you.