When booking a U-Haul truck, it can be difficult to choose between In-Town and One Way rates. Nobody likes moving – it’s a fact of life. Picking up and dropping off a U-Haul is actually pretty easy, but the hard part when booking is managing where to leave your car, which location to pick up from, and where to drop off the truck when you’re all done. Is it cheaper to drop off in the same location? What about long distances? Choosing which Uhaul truck to rent doesn’t have to be as complicated as the rest of your move. With a little research, you can save yourself a lot of money!
“In Town” or “One-Way?”
Once you’ve figured out which size truck you need, you’ll want to think about whether you want an “In-Town” or a “One-Way” rate. In-Town means you pick up and drop off at the same location and you are charged per day, and per mile. You pay a flat fee per day, and a set amount per mile according to the odometer. This is great for people who just want to pick something up nearby, drop it off at home, and return the truck to the same location.
One-Way means that you can drop your truck off at a different location, and you’re charged a flat rate for the day with a certain amount of allotted miles. For example, $100 per day with a 50 mile allowance per day. This is convenient for people traveling longer distances, and the price is calculated based on your truck size, location, and estimated miles you’ll drive.
Which U-Haul Option Should I Choose?
First, figure out how many miles you’re going to drive. Google Maps has a great tool where you can add multiple stops and figure out the total amount of miles. You might even want to click “avoid highways” for a shorter route.
Next, check U-Haul’s website. Plug in the drop off location only and your pick-up date. You’ll get your flat rate, plus the “In-Town” rate per mile. Do the math to figure out how much you’ll pay total (flat rate per day + rate per mile.) Here’s an example:
If I was going to drive 30 miles with a 10′ truck, I would pay roughly $20 for the truck plus $30 for the miles, totaling $50 before tax, insurance, etc.
Open up a new tab, but don’t close your In-Town rate. This time, plug in a different drop-off location that’s close to your final destination.
This time, you’ll get a list of trucks available, plus a flat rate and a milage allowance. Each extra mile is $0.40, which is a lot less expensive than the $0.99 for in-town. For example:
If we were only going 30 miles, like the above example, this wouldn’t be the best option because it would be $75 instead of $50 for the 10′ truck. Even if we were driving 50 miles and breaking the mileage allowance, we’d pay $8 extra for the miles ($0.40 times 20), totaling $58.
So Where’s the Cut-Off?
Once you’ve done the math on both scenarios, you can determine where the cut-off is that the one-way option with the higher daily rate is cheaper than the in-town rate that charges per mile. In the examples above, it would $20 be cheaper to choose in-town, because we’re not going very far. However, if you’re driving a bit more, it can be more expensive.
Choosing a U-Haul Truck – Our Experience
We went with In-Town, basically out of habit. Usually when we get U-Hauls it’s to pick up a couch or something that we bought off of Marketplace. It’s always worth it because we aren’t driving far. However, let’s see if we should have reconsidered this time…
I’ll be honest, I did not do all the research I outlined above. If I had taken the time, I would put in all of our stops and determined that we would be driving around 70 miles. Here’s what happens if we crunch those numbers
In-Town – $30 (Flat Rate) + $70 (Miles) = $100
One-Way – $75 (Flat Rate with 30 miles) + $16 (Mile overage at $0.40 per mile) = $91
All right! Looks like we made the right choice! However, if we had driven 100 miles, In-Town would have been $130 and One-Way would have still been only $103. That’s why it’s a good idea to check both rates before booking.
Summary: U-Haul Truck Rental
There’s no clear-cut rule when choosing whether you want to rent a U-Haul In-Town or One Way. There are a lot of factors, such as length of the trip, how much time it will take, and where you want to pick up and drop off the truck. If you open two separate tabs and try out a couple of scenarios first, you can end up saving yourself some big money.
Have you ever rented a U-Haul? Which option did you choose, and did you get a good deal?
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