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What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

Nashville
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What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

For the summer months, what type of rental vehicle would be the best for the area. (We are used to driving a full size pick-up and a minivan. After driving these, I feel like I am in a go-cart when I drive a car.)

We plan to be in the Black Hills, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We might enter Yellowsone via the Beartooth Highway.

I am thinking a midsize SUV would be best, but would like the thoughts of those who have been there.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

If you are used to a truck and minivan, I would definitely rent a mid size suv or minivan. I too have trouble getting into smaller cars after driving my minivan and truck. Plus when you get stopped by a bison jam in Yellowstone, you may feel safer being a little higher up off the roadway!

The roads you will be on will be regular highways and roads. You won't have to do much gravel road driving.

I have driven in Yellowstone in every kind of vehicle from my 1976 Subaru, to a 20' motorhome. Our next trip will be in our minivan or class C rv.

Have a great time.

Nashville
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2. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

Thanks. That's also a good point about Bison jams. I don't want to be looking one in the chest!

Winter Springs...
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3. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

We were just there and ended up with an SUV - a must if you have kids trying to see out the windows. Being higher off the ground gives them a better view.

We also lucked out and had a sunroof, not planned but a big bonus. Great to be able to stick your head out the top to grab some photos in traffic jams!

Melanie

Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

Speaking from the perspective of a person who drives a Saturn wagon (and is there for looking up at bison during a bison jam), I'd say GO WITH THE SUV!

Are your kids going with you? Depending on age, there are some great junior ranger and Young Scientist programs. I just got back from a week in Yellowstone with one of my 17 years olds. She loved the new Young Scientist workbook. The new Canyon Visitor Center is magnificent and has a program of their own.

We saw a mountain goat near the Beartooth Highway entrance. And, the bison are mostly in the Hayden Valley area. Elk are everywhere. We heard wolves howling near the Canyon Village at night. By the time you visit, the eaglets near the road between Madison and West Yellowstone will have fledged and left the nest (two this year). Otter have been seen near Otter Creek (of all places) and .3 miles south of the exit from Firehole Canyon Drive. A few miles past the Slough Creek campground, there was a bison carcass a few hundred yards off the road - bears and wolves dining on it depending on time of day. Grizzlies frequent the hillside north of Dunraven Pass (look for people with telescopes).

Giant Geyser, acclaimed to be the most H2O during an epruption in the world, has been on a 5 to 7 day eruption pattern all summer. The eruptions last long enough for you to walk the mile from the visitor center to the geyser and still see a good show.

Xochipilli

Canton, Georgia
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5. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

Maxjack - I assume by your comment we "ended up" with an SUV, that you were upgraded for free? What rental company was it and where did you rent the car from? We are arriving on 8-19 in Bozeman and have a reservation for a full size car at Hertz and I'm wondering what our chances of getting upgraded to an SUV are.....Thanks!

new york
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6. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

We rented a minivan and were very happy with it for all of our trip. We have one at home but I didn't think there would be enough room for the luggage. with the on rear seat folded down we had plenty of room for 6 suitcases and 5 people. Hotwire alwys changes prices so keep checking a grab it as soon as it is the price your looking for. We were able to get a minivan for 18 days unlimited milage for $550 plus tax on Hotwire. We had priced many different ways and that beat all companies by far. It even was with the same company we originally had a reservation with, they said they couldn't meet it.Have Fun..

Winter Springs...
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7. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

puppymama1,

We had reserved a full size car thru Hertz in Salt Lake City. We had a coupon for a free upgrade and after hemming and hawing and "playing" them a little about the addtl cost of even better upgrades that they offered, they finally offered a loaded Jeep Commander for a little more. I also had a reservation thru Alamo so if I didn't like what Hertz had offered I could have checked with Alamo too.

Melanie

Suburb of San...
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8. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

I am having the same dilemma. Used to a minivan but reserved a full size to save $ ($390 vs 620 or so). My kids are 10 and 13 so they should be able to see out of the window of any car. Does it really that much to be higher up to see the wildlife?

Sounds like some people negotiated at the rental counter?? Is that common. I think it is getting harder to find SUVs and vans for this summer since lots of people want them. Hertz is sold out of vans for the my timeframe. I would like to get a better price on a smaller SUV or Van. We did manage OK for a week in Utah national parks with a full size.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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9. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

konabound-

A full size car would be fine for driving around Yellowstone, but a minivan or SUV would have more room. The rule of time/distance rangers tell you is to plan on 1 hour between major points. The main reason for that is people pulling part way over illegally and blocking traffic instead of pulling off the road completely. I've seen traffic jams for one young elk buck or one bison.

The worst jam was this last trip near the bison carcass toward the northeast sideof the park. People stopped in the middle of the road going both directions just to take a picture of which ever wolf or bear was feeding. It reallyisn't worht compromising safety when a person can pull off the road a few hundred yards later and walk back to get that shot.

I've driven in both my Saturn wagon and my husband's van. The only time I was intimidated in the Saturn was when I was in the middle of a bison jam (they have right of way) and was looking eye to eye with an adolescent as he walked past.

Tweenagers can have a great time exploring the thermal features at multiple geyser areas. Check the YOUNG SCIENTIST packet at the Old Faithful visitor center and or the packet they have at the Canyon visitor center.

Uden, The...
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10. Re: What is the recommended type of rental vehicle?

Hi

We hired Mini Vans, SUV's, Full size and luxury cars on our trips. With 4 people or more and a lot of luggage my advice is a minivan or a full size suv. On our very long travel distances through the USA nothing can beat a luxury car for comfort imo. Driving through Yellowstone I also would recommend a midsize suv fore its higher position on the road. I can assure you a Lincon Town Car or large Cadillac is nothing like a go-cart-lol- So a midsize suv (no 4wd needed) will do.

Tet