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Car Rental in Kansas City: the Midwest at its Best
While Kansas City often lies far outside of the average tourist’s radar, it is the Great Plains city to visit! The barbecue, water fountain, and jazz capital of the Midwest, Kansas City is well worth an extended stay. You won’t want to miss the flavors and the sounds, and the best way to get acquainted with the area is the way the locals do: by personal vehicle. Hire an automobile today to meet the Midwest at its best.
Unlike many cities in the United States, Kansas City distinctly witnesses four seasons, with extremely hot and humid summers and quite cold and snowy winters. In terms of temperature, the best time to visit Kansas City is September and October. While May and June are also very comfortable times to visit, Kansas City’s famous festivals – the American Royal and the World Series of Barbecue – also take place in early autumn.
The de facto national language of the United States is English, though native speakers will notice the stereotypical Midwestern or Midland accent of the denizens of Missouri and Kansas, particularly in the rural regions of the states.
The currency is the US dollar. Currency exchange is widely available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.
Most travelers arrive in Kansas City via interstate, as the city sits at the intersection of northeast-northwest bound Interstate 35, east-west bound Interstate 70, and the junctions of northbound Interstate 29 and southbound Interstate 49. However, you can also fly directly to Kansas City International Airport, located 20 miles northwest of the city center. Whichever mode of transportation you take to get to Kansas City, the airport is an excellent place to pick up a rental car, as it hosts all of the major automobile hire companies. You can also pick up a car at numerous agencies along Main Street.
While Kansas City will certainly keep you well fed and well entertained, don’t make the mistake of ignoring the Missouri and Kansas countrysides! Head out to haunted Atchison, Kansas, an hour northwest of Kansas City, or to the healing natural waters of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, just 40 minutes northeast of the city.
38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included on the visa-waiver program list, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.
Driving in Kansas City
With wide streets, numerous parking spots, and slow public transportation, renting a car in Kansas City is the most authentic and comfortable way to truly explore this fascinating frontier city and its dual-state surroundings of Kansas and Missouri.
Here are some tips and regulations to consider as you drive in and around Kansas City:
- Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout Iowa.
- Unless otherwise marked, after coming to a full stop at a red light, you can turn right from the right lane if there is no oncoming traffic.
Typical Speed Limits
- In business and residential areas: 25 to 40 miles per hour
- On interstates outside of metropolitan areas: 70 miles per hour in Missouri and 75 miles per in Kansas
- Traffic in Kansas City can be congested in the hours around 8am and 5pm.
- Parking in downtown Kansas City is typically regulated by time and fees, whether you park on the street or in a parking garage, but with over 4000 parking spots and minimal traffic, parking is by no means a problem. In residential areas, street parking is typically unregulated.
- An international driver’s permit in addition to your valid domestic driver’s license is recommended for renting a car and driving in Missouri and Kansas.
- The only toll road in Missouri is at the Lake of the Ozarks, a beautiful network of lakes 2.5 hours southwest of Kansas City.
- The only toll road in Kansas is the Kansas Turnpike, extending from Kansas City south through Wichita, Kansas. You can pay with credit card or cash at any tollbooth along this expressway.
- While the minimum fully licensed driving age is 18 in Missouri and 17 in Kansas, you will have to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car. Drivers under 25 will likely have to pay young driver surcharges.
If you’re visiting in the winter, be prepared for very hazardous snow and ice conditions on the road. Weather conditions can change very quickly in Missouri and Kansas!