What is Zipcar?
Zipcar “offers the convenience of car ownership without the hassles of having a car on campus” – it is the perfect solution for rental cars for students. Zipcars are parked around college campuses in popular and easily accessible spots. Some of the benefits include self-service access to cars 24/7, easy reservations online or via a mobile device, and low hourly and daily rates which include gas, insurance and 180 miles/day.
How does it work?
When you are ready to reserve a car, you simply login to the website or open the mobile app and select the time slot that you would like to have the car. You will then be shown a list of cars available during that specific time, their locations and hourly rate. When it is time for your Ziptrip, your Zipcard serves as your key into the car. Additionally, you can unlock, lock and even honk the horn of the car from the mobile app. When your Ziptrip comes to its end, you use the gas card in the car to fill it up (remember that gas is included) and then return the car to the same spot where it was picked up.
My Experience – UPDATED May 2018
I have had a positive experience with Zipcar. When I was a freshman, I was not allowed to have a car on campus as per the policy of many universities. This was a problem for me because I still needed to be able to get where I wanted to go without having to rely on rides, the bus or borrowing someone’s car. Renting a car the traditional way was not an option because of the outrageous fees applied to anyone under the age of 25, but when I discovered Zipcar, I thought that it would be the perfect option. I have taken many Ziptrips over the years and have had the pleasure of driving vehicles like the Ford Focus Hatchback and Ford Escape. Each time, the vehicles were always clean and in great condition. I really enjoyed using Zipcar because of the independence I had. I never had to pickup the keys or talk to anyone during the check-in process. I have spoken to Zipcar representatives a total of four times. Two were for general inquires, one was for a question about a reservation and the most recent was when I needed a new Zipcard because I had misplaced mine. I can attest that the representatives have always been very prompt, polite and professional.
I was recently in Newport Beach/Irvine in California for a work contract this month. The first day, I had to take care of some business in Santa Monica and had to get there right from the airport so I did not have time to check in at my hotel beforehand. There were some Zipcar’s available around the campus of University of California, Irvine so I reserved one before I flew into California for the day. The car was in a convenience and easily accessible location and I was able to locate it very quickly with my Lyft driver. The car was clean. A screenshot of the description they provide to help me locate the vehicle is pictured to the left.
As an added bonus, I am also eligible to receive member benefits such as discounts just for being a Zipcar member, and they often run social media contests. Just last year, I won a pair of round-trip bus tickets.
Ready to join?
If you are ready to take advantage of Zipcar, you may be able to receive FREE driving credit if you check RetailMeNot for coupon codes first. Once at the Zipcar website, select the appropriate category and then follow the steps to get your account created. If you are in Canada, Austria, France, Spain or the UK and would still like to take advantage of Zipcar, rest assured that there are other plans and options available for you. You’re well on your way to having the freedom and independence that comes with having a car without all of the hassle of car ownership!
If you have any questions about my experience or Zipcar in general, please comment below.