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When Diana Crandall of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania started planning her honeymoon, she ran into an ugly reality: Finding a rental car that is available for specific dates and falls under budget is becoming nearly impossible.

“For our honeymoon, the cheapest rental car my husband and I could find cost upwards of $2,000 for two weeks,” Crandall told Forbes Home. But shortly after this discovery, Crandall saw a viral TikTok about using U-Haul as a rental instead of going through a traditional service. “I actually shouted at my phone—it just stunned me that it’s an option.”

The Current State of Car Rentals

Renting a car has been more difficult and expensive in the last few years, mainly due to shortages caused by Covid-19. But while much of the country has opened back up, air travel and rental cars are back in demand. So finding availability in your location at reasonable prices is still a gamble.

The Washington Post’s coverage of rental cars spoke to scary prices, long lines and not enough cars available in general. While some states like Hawaii are seeing the worst shortages, it’s safe to say that the entire nation can expect car rental prices to stay high through 2022, according to many reports.

If you’re in need of a rental car but aren’t seeing many good car rental alternatives in your research, U-Haul could be a sound solution.

Can You Save Money By Renting Through U-Haul?

After crunching some numbers, Crandall told Forbes Home that she saved over $1,000 by going the U-Haul route over reserving a rental car.

“I found that U-Haul’s actually got a blog encouraging people to do this. I made a reservation the next day for $370,” Crandall said. “With the miles we plan on covering, we’ll end up paying between $850 and $900, including roadside assistance and damage protection.”

And if you’re wondering about how comfortable that U-Haul will be compared to a rental car, Crandall has it covered.

“It’s unreal what a better deal it is [than renting a car], and now we can throw a comforter in the bed of the pickup and watch the stars.”

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Other Pros to Using U-Haul

While lower pricing is a major factor in opting for a U-Haul vs. a rental car, the workaround comes with some extra benefits.

If you break down or have any issues, it’s likely that you’ll be near a U-Haul location, with the company servicing almost every area in the United States. Also, for those who are not yet 25 and cannot rent a car traditionally, U-Haul’s age limit is lower, which means young adults have another option on the table that can’t be satisfied by working with a rental car company.

Potential Drawbacks to Using U-Haul as a Rental Car Service

While you may be able to save hundreds of dollars using U-Haul as a rental car alternative, it doesn’t come without its potential cons. For example, if you need to pick up your truck or van after hours, you may be out of luck and need to wait until the next morning to be assisted.

Additionally, there’s no way to know who rented the U-Haul before you or what they were using it for. Let’s say the previous users were moving paint or chemicals back and forth, and you planned to spend a number of hours in the U-Haul.

Another concern is that most U-Hauls can be locked from the outside, which can be a potential hazard and safety concern.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t heard that you can rent a U-Haul in place of a rental car, it can serve as a reasonable and easy alternative to pricey or unavailable rental cars. While the option comes with its own drawbacks, the pros of lower pricing, fewer age restrictions for young adults and the nationwide coverage that U-Haul provides in case of a breakdown could very easily make the choice worth it.

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