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Car Rental in Columbus, Ohio
The state capital of Ohio, Columbus, is a thriving city at the crossroads of Midwestern cultures and home to an active and engaged student culture. While you may have some trouble finding parking in Columbus’s busiest neighborhoods, driving through the city is rarely a challenge, as it features the wide roads and frequent freeway entrances that characterize American cities throughout the Midwest. Stay mobile during your trip to Ohio by renting car. Here is a brief guide to finding the cheapest rental cars in Columbus, Ohio.
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Columbus rental cars are available in over 25 locations throughout the city, including the Columbus Airport, downtown, in Reynoldsburg, Sharon, and Truro. Columbus car hire typically starts just below $50 a day for short-term rentals. The daily rates for car rental periods extended to over a week generally start at $35 a day.
Tips for Cheap Car Rentals in Columbus, Ohio
The cheapest location from which to pick up your Columbus rental car is at the Columbus Airport (CMH), also known as the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, located just 8 miles from downtown Columbus. Particularly if you only need a rental car for a few days, you can save the most money by travelling to the airport to pick up your rental car, or simply renting your car as soon as you arrive by plane in the Columbus area.
If travelling to the airport is not possible for you, Budget and Avis offer fairly good deals on rental cars in numerous locations in and near Columbus, Ohio, including Westerville, Upper Arlington, Reynoldsburg, Truro, and Sharon, as well as in downtown Columbus. The daily rate for rental cars in these areas typically lingers around $60 for short-term rentals, dropping to as low as $35 a day for week-long rentals.
Key Things to Remember: Driving your Columbus Rental Car
Rush hour in Columbus:
- While the city is designed around the use of the car, traffic can still slow down your travel time. Morning rush hour typically extends from 7 to 8:30 throughout the city, so if you can, avoid driving your rental car in the early morning hours.
Parking your rental car in Columbus:
- There are frequent parking lots and garages throughout downtown Columbus, many of which charge a daily rate of between $3 and $10. Otherwise, you can typically find hourly parking for around $2 an hour. There are also a number of free parking lots throughout the city, though these typically fill up quickly. The city’s website, www.downtowncolumbus.com, offers a great resource called the Park Me Map, which shows you parking fees and whether parking lots are full in real time throughout the city.
Toll roads in and near Columbus:
- The only tolled road in the state of Ohio is in the northwest corner of the state and connects Cleveland to Youngstown.
Important road laws unique to Columbus:
- U-turns are illegal throughout the city.
- Cars parked in prohibited areas are very quickly towed in the Columbus area.
Where to Go Next: Take a Road Trip in Your Rental Car
- Due to its location in central Ohio, there are plenty of great cities and sights within a day trip of Columbus, including:
- The fascinating city of Cincinnati, located on the Ohio River and home to both the Freedom Museum and a fun hipster scene, is less than a 2-hour’s drive (110 miles) southwest of Columbus in normal traffic conditions.
- Cleveland and Lake Erie are just over a 2-hour’s drive northeast of Columbus (140 miles).
- Hocking Hills State Park is a great place to explore—or even camp at—for a breath of fresh air and glimpse into Ohio’s ecosystem, located just one hour (55 miles) southwest of Columbus.