I'm sure many of you have a Costco membership and shop there regularly but did you know Costco also does travel. Up until recently I had only heard about it but never tried using it until someone strongly suggested checking it out. I had wrongly assumed they only sell travel packages similar to what Groupon or other travel agencies offer. But Costco actually sells rental cars, cruises, hotels and many other travel options. As The Affordable Traveler, I spent several hours comparing sites to determine if Costco offered deals as good as their bulk food. And this is what I discovered...
We have an upcoming trip that takes us to Texas and we will need a rental car so I started to shop around. As I usually do I first started with Kayak.com which also brought up Hotline.com and Priceline.com results. Check out the results below and pay close attention to price and size of the vehicle.
As you can see, the cheapest options all range from $116 dollars and rapidly climb. The cheapest option is a gamble as to what car you'll receive as the "suppliers choice" the car rental place determines your vehicle when you arrive. This option is similar to the how we recommend booking a 5 star staycation extremely cheap and personally I'm strange but enjoy the excitement and mystery of what we will get. You never know, it could be a premium vehicle, doubtful but it could be! My guess, with no data to support this, is if an economy or small car is available when you arrive that is what you'll get. (if you've tried it before, comment below on your experience!)
I tried one of my favorite sites for airfares, Skyscanner.com and it came back roughly the same price as Kayak and other competitors.
Next, I checked on National.com and Avis.com because of the free upgrade you get for being a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder at National and the 30% discount at Avis. National proved to be surprisingly expensive and was quickly eliminated this trip. Avis on the other hand had some deals, which almost had me:
Avis had me won over with their prices, until I went to the checkout page and taxes and fees were added which drove the price up to about $160 for the intermediate car.
And at this moment, I remembered Costco Travel and the great things I had heard on prices. I pulled up the choices and was surprised by the amount of options it came back with and the simplicity of the display. The best part is the prices even include taxes and fees, so no surprise at the checkout screen. Within a $10-20 range you could have your choice from a compact car to a full-size car! This was a cost savings of over 20-40% on some the results other sites were offering. You also don't have to pay until you arrive and are free to cancel!
There you have it, after numerous website searches and an hour or two it is safe to save Costco is a player in the travel industry and one to seriously consider when booking any travel in the future. Be sure to take the extra few moments to check 2-3 sites!
This was not paid for or endorsed by Costco but merely here at the Affordable Traveler trying to find the best deals for our readers! Enjoy!