Limited vs. unlimited mileage car rental

You can select unlimited mileage or limited mileage when selecting a rental car, and this determines how far you can drive.

How far can you drive a rental car?

The limit to how many miles you can drive a rental car depends on the mileage allowance you select. Typically you have two options: unlimited mileage or limited mileage, otherwise known as a mileage cap. Unlimited mileage is increasingly common across providers, especially in the United States, and you’ll be able to see if it’s offered when you browse through deals on KAYAK.

Unlimited mileage

If you select an unlimited mileage rental car, the price you pay to drive 10 miles or 1,000 miles is the same – you won’t have to keep track of your mileage allowance or risk paying more. This makes sense for long-distance trips. For example, you could take your unlimited mileage minivan rental across the country for a family road trip without watching the odometer. Unlimited mileage is available on most cars, and can also be found on one-way car rentals. One exception to watch out for is larger or specialty vehicles, including large cargo vans and exotic cars, which may not be available with unlimited mileage.

Limited mileage

If you select a mileage cap, you have limited miles that you can drive the car per day or per rental period, so you have to keep track of your mileage allowance. When you reach the limit, you’ll be charged for every extra mile or kilometer at a fixed rate, which is usually around $0.10 – $0.25. This makes sense for shorter trips where you’re more certain about the total distance. For example, you could take your limited mileage economy car from the airport to your destination and back. Limits vary by rental company but can range from 20 miles / 30 kilometers per day to 250 miles / 400 kilometers per day, so check the terms and conditions of your rental contract to be sure.

Crossing borders

In the US and Canada, there are typically no mileage restrictions for driving a rental car to another state or province, or for driving across the border. In Europe, unlimited mileage is typically available as long as the rental car remains within the country where it was rented or picked up. Additional restrictions may apply if you drive the car outside of the country of origin. Make sure to check the exact terms and conditions of your rental contract to determine whether you can drive to another country.

This post is part of our Car Rental Guide. Thinking about renting a car but have questions? We get it. Find the answers in our comprehensive guide.

See the guide

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