We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Should I rent a car?

Seattle, Washington
9 posts
Save Topic
Should I rent a car?


My family of 4 (2 adults, 11 & 6 yes) are going on a road trip in late June from Seattle to Yellowstone. We have a VW Jetta and I'm not sure if it's worth it to rent a small SUV. We'll have camping gear.

I'm at the edge of my budget. Using our own car means more money left for attractions and food. Renting means less fun stuff but roomier ride.


Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
20,481 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Should I rent a car?

With 2 out of the 4 being children I'd probably opt for your own car - the kids won't thank you when you say they can't do something on the road trip because of budget constraints and saying they had room in the SUV won't make up for it.

Level Contributor
502 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Should I rent a car?

Hi BeaconMama,

I agree - I'd save the money for attractions/food/so-on.

When I was 13, I went on an epic road trip with my mother, two cousins, and my brother down the East Coast. We were all crammed into an old run-down Peugeot with all our bags, groceries, and camping gear....and we had a blast. As kids, we were capable of being crammed together for long days and really appreciated all the fun things we were able to do because we saved money by camping and not renting a bigger car. From my experience, I can say that it's likely your kids will feel the same way...

Hope this helps!


western WA
Level Contributor
8,997 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Should I rent a car?

I agree. Pack warm coats because it gets cold at night in Yellowstone. Check out the KOA in West Yellowstone. You could get a cabin there. Plus, there are showers, toilets, a swimming pool and Tons of other kids.

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
8,745 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Should I rent a car?

Perhaps have a dry run/dress rehearsal? Load your car with everything & everyone you plan to have on the trip and spend a half a day or a day driving around; maybe even make it an overnight stay/camp somewhere nearby?

Don't know that you need to have everything *exactly* as you'll have for the trip (i.e. no reason to load the cooler, but even empty it will tell you how much space it will take), ditto on clothes, etc. (load empty suitcases, backpacks or whatever), maybe use something to mimic things like the final load of grocery bags, etc.

You'll get an idea of whether everything will fit, how tight things will be, and what it will be like to spend a few hours at a time in the car while it's fully loaded.

Just a thought,


Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
27,975 posts
5,917 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Should I rent a car?

Whatever works best for your family is what you should decide on.

If rental rates are too high and your car is reliable and you do not mind putting the additonal wear and tear on the car, then your car is fine. It does shorten potential life time on the car if you continue as it puts additional mileage on the car Since replacement may push out costs few years though, it is often a good choice to use your car if money is tight currently....just realize there is a trade off.

As long as your car is in good condiiton for a road trip, it is a good option with of course some decisions on trade offs both short and long term to make - and you need to be the final judge of that (as you know those factors best)

Whatever you decide, have a great trip

Edited: 26 April 2014, 20:20
Seattle, Washington
9 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Should I rent a car?

Thanks everyone! That's good advice about the kids remembering and valuing fun activities more than a smooth ride. I had not considered that and it's a big reason to just use our own car. Our car can handle the miles.

We did a 5 day summer high desert camping trip in this car before and we were full to the brim. So I a concern that all the extra warm coats we'll need for Yellowstone will not fit. This trip will also be twice as many days which might require more gear. I'll have to do some thinking.

Marcellus, New York
Level Contributor
929 posts
201 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Should I rent a car?

Get some giant ziploc bags and put the winter coats in them then smush and close. Voila, nearly flat coats! Same goes for dirty clothes and pillows (if you bring them). Saves lots of space.

You can do the actual space-saver bags, but I like the flexibility of the giant ziploc ones. We use them for wet towels and swimsuits and such too.

Edited to add: we pack the same for any trip over about 5 days and just do laundry instead.

Edited: 04 May 2014, 13:26
8. Re: Should I rent a car?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 06 May 2015, 05:16