One-way car hire

For road trips in the UK and abroad

Read this guide to one-way car hire and start planning – the road trip you’ve been dreaming of for years is just around the corner!

What is a one-way car hire?

One-way car hire gives you the freedom to pick up a hire car in one location and drop it off at the end of your trip in another office location of the same agency. It is ideal for those who want to cover longer distances during their trip without worrying about the drive back to return the car.

What are the one-way / drop fees in car hire?

The one-way car hire service comes with a cost, which is usually called a one-way fee. This fee depends on a few factors such as the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations, whether you have crossed any interstate or international borders, and even the car model itself. The one-way fee is applied to any change of location between the start and end of your trip, whether you’re dropping off the car in another city or in another location in the same city.

How to book a one-way car hire?

In order to book a one-way car hire, start by locating the “Same drop-off” text on KAYAK, which you will find above the location text box. Click on the “Same drop-off” drop-down box and select “Different drop-off” instead. You will notice that you now have two text boxes for location: one for pick-up that says “From?”, and the other for drop-off that says “To?”.

Once you have made your location and date selections, you will be presented with different car hire options to choose from. As part of the search results, you will see on the right the expression “One-way fee” as part of the inclusions. With some providers, you can find out the one-way fee amount by hovering over the info icon.


One-way car hire in Europe

One of the most popular ways to see Europe is by taking a road trip, often called a Eurotrip. A one-way car hire agreement that allows you to start in one location and finish in another one is the ideal solution if you’re looking to drive, as it will enable you to visit more places.

Depending on the route you’re planning, some restrictions might apply; these are usually affected by the start and finish locations, as well as the duration of your trip. For example, if you are looking at hiring a car in the UK and driving it across the channel into mainland Europe, you will find that you can only hire certain types of vehicle that are allowed abroad.

In addition to vehicle restrictions, some car hire agencies do not allow you to drop off their cars across borders at all, so make sure you double-check whether this is a possibility before booking your car. For more information, you can read our full-length article about driving abroad after Brexit.

Popular one-way car hire routes in the UK and Europe

Below are some of the most popular one-way car hire routes in Europe and the one-way fees you could expect to pay:

  • UK road trips: London to Edinburgh (one-way fee starts at around £50) or Glasgow to London (one-way fee around £70)
  • European road trips: Spain to Portugal (one-way fee around £430) or France to Italy (one-way fee around £580)
  • Road trips within one country: Porto to Faro (one-way fee starts at around £80)
  • You can find out more about one-way car hire in the UK and Europe in our article about crossing borders.

Recommended one-way road trips in the UK

One-way car hire in the USA

Crossing the US by car is one of the best ways to see multiple states and learn more about the country, and if your time there is limited then one-way car hire is just what you need. Before you book your car make sure you look into possible restrictions, as some agencies do not allow interstate travel in their cars, for example.

If you are looking at crossing international borders and driving to Canada, make sure you inform the agency in advance. You might even be able to drop off the car across the border if you hire from one of the bigger agencies. For more information, you can read this full-length article about crossing borders.

Popular one-way car hire routes in the USA

The US is one of the best places for a road trip adventure, as you can see in our guides. Here are some of the most popular routes and an example of the one-way fees you can expect:

  • The Ultimate Route 66 – from Chicago to Santa Monica (one-way fee could go up to £400)
  • Pacific Coast Highway – from San Francisco to Los Angeles (one-way fee from around £50)
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway – from Virginia to North Carolina (one-way fee around £110)
  • The Great River Road – from Chicago to New Orleans (one-way fee around £180)
  • Orlando to Miami (often comes without a one-way fee)

Recommended one-way road trips in the USA

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