Category Archives: Car rentals

Rent a dream machine for the New Year’s Eve celebrations

See the world flash by this holiday season ————————————————— Pascal-P / Flickr / CC BY-NC

 

The great thing about the holiday season is that you can afford to be ostentatious and rent a luxury car that’s a little above your normal means. Let’s face it, everyone like to impress that special person on a holiday date. For the New Year’s Eve celebrations, try three of our dream cars – all available from our vendors – and you certainly won’t regret it!

Porsche Boxster

Perhaps you’d like to show off to your girlfriend by taking her for a spin in a great sports car on New Year’s Eve? You can rent a vehicle you couldn’t normally afford to drive, like the new Porsche Boxster, a car that would normally set you back 90 000 dollars!

Porsche Boxster

 

 

The new Porsche Boxster is a mid-engined two-seater roadster. The first-generation Boxster was introduced in late 1996 and heavily influenced by the 1993 Box. The latest Boxster has all the trimmings of previous models but with more power, lower weight and great take-off. You can reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and 109 mph in 12.7 seconds. Yeah, man!

It’s a thrilling car to drive. When you hit the throttle, you hear a great roaring sound, a kind of intoxicating howl that is a real ego boost. The Porsche Boxster is also known for its amazingly fast gear changes.

Features include radio, CD, bucket seats, central locking, cruise control, satellite navigation system, power brakes, electric mirrors and tilt steering.

All in all, it’s a special car that will remind you of your younger, wild days!

 

The Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Panamera is a luxury four-door saloon; it is front-engined with rear-wheel drive, although four-wheel drive versions also available.

The Porsche Panamera

The Porsche Panamera production model was first unveiled in Shanghai in 2009. In 2011, hybrid and diesel versions were launched. In April 2013, a facelift to the Panamera was announced, launching again at the Auto Shanghai show. A plug-in hybrid version, the Panamera S E-Hybrid, has just been released into the U.S. market.

A nice aspect to the Panamera is that you can open the hood and still see engine components, just like in the old days. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The extra head room, even in the back seat of the sedan, allows plenty of space even for a strapping 6 foot 4 guy. It’s a functional car but with far more room than a traditional sedan.

Features include radio, CD, bucket seats, central locking, cruise control, electric mirrors, sunroof and tilt steering.

 

BMW M3 Convertible

A convertible, 414 horsepower, with extraordinarily seductive fittings, this BMW is able to negotiate all corners and conditions. It may be the most enjoyable and exotic car you will ever drive.

BMW M3 Convertible

Your friends will be completely blown away if you take them for a whirl in this vehicle. It has all the finely sculpted, elegant seats and great finish associated with previous BMW models but the BMW M3 Convertible will simply go anywhere faster and more safely. Just point the steering wheel where you want to go and let the car do the rest. All in all, it’s a superb example of thoughtful dynamics and craftsmanship.

Features include radio, CD, anti-theft device, bucket seats, central locking, cruise control, dual mirrors, satellite navigation system, power brakes, electric windows and tilt steering.

So go ahead and rent a luxury car from our vendors for the New Year’s Eve celebrations . You certainly won’t regret it!

In the Heart of a Southern Pearl: Blacksburg, Virginia

Blacksburg may be a small town in Virginia, but it has won some significant accolades.
In 2011, this community of almost 42,000 residents was crowned by Businessweek.com as the best place in the U.S. to raise kids. The same year, Southern Living magazine voted it the best college town in the South, home to the renowned Virginia Tech. So why not use the last days of the Indian summer for a family trip down there? Take advantage of Blacksburg car rental opportunities and see for yourself what this college town, that “everyone thinks is a fabulous place to live,” has to offer.

The best place to raise kids in the U.S.

At first glance, Blacksburg looks like yet another small town where the primary population is college students. But, according to Businessweek.com and its sixth nationwide ranking, it is the safest (and yet affordable) place for families to raise their children. The town, tucked between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, has amenities that encourage its inhabitants to do lots of sports, educational and social activities. Blacksburg also meets a bunch of other criteria that place it at the top, such as excellent schools and relatively low crime. The town’s residents are also highly educated with two-thirds aged 25 and older holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the survey. About 40% have a graduate or professional degree.

The best college town in the South

Virginia Tech Campus

Photo credit: mikemac29 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech first began as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college. It is located in the New River Valley, which is a picturesque area within the Jefferson National Forest, Claytor Lake State Park and the New River Trail State Park. All offer plenty of recreational opportunities. Biking is extremely popular, rural and suburban alike. Trails connect the urban areas with parks and forests. In fact, the New River Trail along the New River is the longest off-road biking trail in Virginia. If you don’t want to sweat and puff, check Blacksburg car rental options and drive around, it’s equally enjoyable. As for recreational activities, spelunking is an extremely popular sport with hundreds of caverns and caves to explore. Rafting, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and golfing go without saying.

Blacksburg is a top college town in the South because it’s also a great opportunity for recent graduates and young professionals to find a job. The local economy and technology industry is regularly supplied with fresh blood from the engineering program. The town is also home to research-and-development businesses, startups and manufacturing companies.

Smithfield Plantation

Photo Credit: twitter.com

This rich with history site is adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus in the heart of Blacksburg. The plantation was built from 1772 to 1774 by the Revolutionary War patriot William Preston where he lived with his wife Susanna and their 12 children. Four of their descendants became Virginia governors, and many others were involved in drafting state legislation. Throughout the years, some of the Preston clan took part in the founding and growth of several universities, including Virginia Tech. The house is L-shaped, with spacious rooms and high ceilings. The style of the architecture and the details are typical of frontier homes.

Steppin’ Out Arts Festival

Once a year, downtown Blacksburg becomes an arena for the arts. More than 200 artists and crafts people from all over the U.S. are featured with their work. Residents and guests of Blacksburg can find original jewelry, pottery, fine art, furniture, textiles, yard art and gourmet foods and so much more.

Music is an essential part of the browsing experience or just for chilling out. Three stages host live performances, which gives the event an even more artistic feel. The festival is family-friendly, but it’s advisable not to bring pets because it gets really crowded.
In 2014, Steppin’ Out will take place on August 1st and 2nd.

Hertz: Innovations, Convenience and Low Rental Rates

Hertz has been a household name in the rental car business for decades. Ever since it was founded in 1918 by Walter L. Jacobs, the company has continued to grow rapidly, and today it operates at close to 8000 locations in 145 countries worldwide.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Hertz Corporation is the second largest US car rental company in terms of sales, as of the end of 2012.

Last May, its executives announced that its corporate headquarters would move from New Jersey to southwest Florida. The company is building a $68 million campus in Estero, but until it is completed in 2015, many of its employees will work from a leased location in Naples, Florida.

Its core business ethic has remained the same over the last century – aiming to deliver a first-class service while keeping its rates competitive and ensuring the company keeps abreast of new trends in technology. Underpinning the Hertz philosophy is its commitment to hard work and securing the loyalty of its customers.

Back in time

Hertz Rent-a-Car 1956 / Kemon01 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

At the age 22, Jacobs started his business with a dozen Model T Fords in Chicago. He repaired and painted them himself. Within 5 short years, his enterprise began to generate annual revenue of about $1 million. In 1923, Jacobs sold the business to John Hertz, who was then president of Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company. The rental business, later called Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System, was bought out by General Motors Corporation in 1926. It changed ownership several more times, but Jacobs continued to serve as president until his retirement in 1960. Striving to be the best rental car company it could be, today Hertz is constantly on the move. Here are some of the company’s latest perks to make its customers happy.

iPads, anyone?

Photo Source: Denis Schaal / Skift

Not long ago, Hertz announced that it would be adding iPads and other touchscreen devices to 800 of its retail stores and some airports in North America. The initiative is called “Road Trip by Hertz”. The iPad station, equipped with four tablets, is meant to reduce queuing times. In addition, customers can find all the local area information they need; there are pre-loaded travel apps and iPad-powered apps to make reservations by choosing the lowest Hertz rental rates. Kids can play games while they’re waiting for their parents, and the latter can check emails, print boarding passes, recharge their mobile devices, or simple pass the time until their flight. At some locations, iPads are offered for rent, but the general idea is for all global locations to be converted to this format by 2015.

Keeping it green and clean

Always wanted to see what a Tesla Model S electric car felt like, but your wallet was too thin for it?

Do not despair. As of late September 2013, Hertz has added Tesla Model S electric cars to its Los Angeles and San Francisco airport locations. Most likely, soon at a location near you. The prices are still high – $500 per day plus $0.49 a mile after 75 miles, but think about the good you will be doing to our planet. The Tesla cars are part of Hertz’s Dream Cars program and share the upscale top spot along with Lamborghini and Ferrari.

Hertz 24/7 rental plan

In the name of customer convenience, this “game changer” plan, as the company calls it, began rolling out last July. It is meant to make renting a car as easy as picking a sandwich at a local deli. Customers would be able to rent a car 24/7, for as long as they want without the constraints of normal business hours in the standard locations. The plan also includes rapid expansion as Hertz revealed that it intends to have up to 12,000 locations in the US alone – including at parking lots outside Walgreens and Low’s. Cars could be rented via computer or any mobile device with an improved and easy to use booking system. Hertz estimates that, by 2016, “self-service” vehicles will be accessible by the majority of the population.

Are EVs the way to revive the three E’s?

Being the economy, the environment and the energy sector…

In Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York, the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities, a quiet revolution is taking place. So quiet, in fact, that if you closed your eyes you might not be able to hear the traffic. You see, park rangers are riding around on solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs), a move forecast to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas and electricity costs over the next 25 years.

So imagine the benefits if motorists worldwide did likewise. And this may be more feasible and more lucrative than you think…

JaulaDeArdilla / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Energy (in)dependence

We live in an era when America’s leaders constantly fret – understandably – about reliance on foreign oil. Those who underestimate the challenge should remember what happened in 1973 when OPEC nations quadrupled oil prices, triggering massive inflation in the West. We all want to avoid a recurrence of that nightmare. So, just as the electric light transformed our homes a century ago, making candles and smelly oil lamps redundant, could EVs do the same for today’s cities?

Big city dwellers know the problems all too well. When I was a kid, I was struck by a message I once say on a London street – “Let’s all make the world a better place and throw away our cars”.  Living in a city well served by its public transport, you could understand the graffiti, especially when you started wheezing while walking around the capital.

Ben Amstutz / Foter / CC BY-NC

 

Kinder to ourselves…

Motor vehicles are major polluters, not only through road emissions but also through refueling, manufacturing and disposal.  Some experts even believe that car pollution is linked to certain cancers. Perhaps the link to other illnesses, such as asthma, is more substantiated. Leave the big city for the countryside and you feel the difference immediately.

Of course, some green-minded activists manage to live without a car. As we get older, however, we find that coping without a car gets harder. Perhaps we have several children and move to the suburbs. In such cases we find that it’s increasingly necessary to have a vehicle at our disposal, at least some of the time.  But, if you don’t need to own a car all the time, and your conscience pricks you at the thought of renting a conventional motor, have you thought about renting an EV? You just need to find an agency with the best car rental rates.

jurvetson / Foter / CC BY

 

…and the environment

Electric car batteries pollute the atmosphere far less than internal combustion engines. Granted, they are not entirely pollutant-free because most electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. But EVs recharged from coal-powered electric generators cut carbon emission roughly in half. And those recharged from hydropower and nuclear plants reduce carbon emissions to less than one percent of those produced by internal combustion engines.

 

…And the economy

Then there is the reduced cost to drivers, proved by the example of the Brooklyn Park Rangers. New York taxi drivers who use hybrid vehicles also report annual savings of thousands of dollars. For many motorists, environmental considerations and spiraling petrol costs mean that EVs will probably become more popular.  Although EVs still have drawbacks, notably battery costs and recharging times, the benefits are stark.

Eco-friendly cars run on electricity or a combination of electricity and hydrogen-based fuel. Not only do they reduce a driver’s carbon footprint, EVs are constantly being re-designed to reduce pollution and waste. As a result, these cars often require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles.

EVs are definitely good for the three Es. So it’s perhaps curious that, although electricity has transformed our lives in so many ways, most transport still beats to the drum of the internal combustion engine. We still spit fumes into the sky round the clock in cities everywhere, guzzling up one of the world’s most precious commodities in the process. Perhaps one day EVs will make out cities as sanitized as our homes. Here’s hoping…

 

 

 

Small is cool – why gas guzzlers are heading south

People without cars used to be viewed as pariahs – even in large American cities so, doubtless, even those without cars (perhaps those who cannot afford to buy one right now) may well look to find the best car rental rates.

The pitying looks directed at commuters in cities like Los Angeles testify to the fact that non-drivers are seen as an underclass. But signs are that Americans are emulating what can be called the London example. There, drivers are being discouraged through transport infrastructure, congestion charges, environmental awareness and some (albeit effective) “gimmicks” such as mayor Boris Johnson’s rent-a-bike scheme.

infomatique / Foter / CC BY-SA

 

Owning a car in a city like London is very expensive – that, of course, is part of the plan to deter people from using one! Greater use of public transport frees up the roads and delivers faster journey times. The difficulty in finding parking spaces and the sheer hassle of driving a car round a large city is also a major obstacle. Other European cities, like Rome and Paris, are famous for their traffic, one-way streets and excitable drivers. Cities in Eastern European countries – Sofia and Bucharest being examples – may have infrastructural problems that make driving dangerous.

danorbit. / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Obviously, however, there are cases when people need to use a car even if they don’t wish to own one on a permanent basis. The parents of – for example – three schoolchildren will need to drop them off at school. Try struggling with a large shopping trip with young children when you don’t have a car.

If there is a pattern, however, it’s that the “monster” vehicles driven by Americans are becoming unfashionable. These gas guzzlers are extremely difficult to park and monumentally environmentally-unfriendly. The smaller cars, especially the “smart” cars as they are called, are more malleable and consume less gas. Another demographic shift favoring small cars is the urbanization of America; more people are living in cities than in suburban/rural areas.

Here in Van Nuys / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

 

 

A love affair that is tapering off…

So the signs are that some Americans are scaling back their passion for cars. Driving was at its most popular in 2007. Since then, average annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has declined by 0.5%, while average annual population growth has been 0.8%.  Younger Americans, in particular, (aged 16 to 34), seem to be turning to other means to get around. In the first decade of the new millennium they cut their per capita VMT by 24%, opting to walk more or take public transport. So are people giving up on their cars? Or at least is their love affair with big cars really coming to an end? Perhaps it’s true to say that car ownership is no longer as obligatory as it was for those in big cities.

If you don’t want to run a car on a permanent basis, then renting a car often gives the opportunity to step up to a posher model, if only for a week or so. You just need to find a firm that offers you the best car rental rates.

Yet small cars – the ones that may not impress your fellow drivers – are not necessarily as impracticable as they seem. You are unlikely to find even a small car that cannot accommodate a strapping six-footer. The key question is bulk; you may run into problems only if a heavyweight driver sits next to a bulky passenger!

canonsnapper / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Smart at heart

For years, many people assumed that small cars were of inferior quality because of their vulnerability in case of an accident. Many car-makers shunned the production of small cars because of slender profits. Yet, since 2009, Detroit’s automakers, for example, have introduced small cars that were not just inexpensive but well-designed – with tech features like Bluetooth-enabled sound systems filtered down from pricier models. And while smaller cars per se may be less durable – particularly in the case of accidents – all cars are getting safer with each passing year.

Boosts in small-car sales have generally been short-lived in the past. This was because of a fall in gas prices. But it would seem that demographic changes, environmental concerns and the sheer convenience of driving a small car around American cities all mean that the shift is here to stay. So why not rent out a smaller car and watch the drivers of those huge elongated monstrosities look on enviously as you nab that tiny parking space!

 

 

 

 

 

The Bronx: A neighborhood reborn

New York is a great city to visit. It seems to have enjoyed a renaissance since the late 1980s onwards and, to be honest, a walk around New York now feels safer than a stroll in many parts of London. The Big Apple has always been a crowd-puller, of course, even in its darker days. People have always enjoyed THE great sites: Radio City, Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty.

kevin dooley / Foter / CC BY

But for a while, especially between the late 1960s and about 1980, the city had a rather seamy air. Movies picked up on this too. Take Midnight Cowboy, for example, the story of a naive Texas hustler who comes to New York and ends up in a freezing tenement. Or Death Wish, which seemed to depict the city as a den of sadistic, violent gangs. Both films seemed to indicate how quickly “the American dream” can turn into a nightmare.

When things were a little rougher…

As for the Bronx, just the mention of the name conjured up images of poverty, drug-filled alleyways, rocketing crime, spiraling unemployment and a powerless police department. Perhaps the area’s reputation reached its nadir around 1980. Around that time I remember seeing a Paul Newman movie called Fort Apache – the Bronx, which really played up the image of a neighborhood under siege. Inner city groups complained about the film. But it was simply reflecting the times, in particular the depressed mood after a spate of arson attacks committed by slum landlords eager to pick up insurance rather than attempt to refurbish or sell.

 

Inner city resurgence

Thankfully, it’s all in the past and the area has been transformed. Rejuvenation in the form of significant construction started in the 1980s and crime rates started to fall. The area also got a boost from the “Ten-Year Housing Plan” whereby community members worked to rebuild the social, economic and environmental infrastructure by creating affordable housing.

The reputation of New York as a whole also improved dramatically. Perhaps Mayor Giuliani played a part too with his policy of zero tolerance and better local policing. 911, although a horrific event, showed New Yorkers coming together in a show of unity that few other cities can match.

wallyg / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

And the Bronx has experienced substantial new building construction in the new millennium. Between 2002 and June 2007, 33,687 new units of housing were built or were under way, and $4.8 billion has been invested in new housing.

Attractions galore

The area also has a great many sites which a Bronx car rental will enable you to enjoy. The neighborhood is home to the New York Yankees, one of the leading baseball franchises. The original Yankee Stadium opened in 1923 on 161st Street and River Avenue, a year that saw the Yankees bring home their first of 27 World Series Championships. The stadium has seen some of baseball’s greatest players, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

Other places well worth a visit include the Bronx Zoo, the largest in New York, and numerous off-Broadway theaters. There are also many great parks and open spaces, like Pelham Bay Park and Crotona Park. And, unlike Manhattan, for example, it’s easy to get a parking space and it’s also less congested.

Mark Morgan Trinidad A / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

The area also has an action-packed cultural program to entertain you in the fall. You could watch the Bronx River Upper River Run on Saturday September 14, between 9.30am and 1pm. If you have a child with special needs – and you are thinking of relocating to the city – you could try Finding Your Inner Sherlock – a reference to the famous London detective. This workshop will help you identify your child’s specific educational and emotional needs, and find the support you deserve. This event – on September 16 between 5.30pm and 7pm at 7 West Burnside Avenue, Bronx – will help you to find and access NYC services and programs to help your child reach their full potential.

All in all, the Bronx is now a great place to be. You just need to use a reliable car rental firm to get you there.

 

 

 

 

 

White House Down? Only in the movies…

 

The Big Apple may be the most vibrant city in the US – the city that never sleeps, the city where “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere” – but, personally, I think Washington is a more beautiful city. Not only do you have, naturally enough, the White House (home to the most powerful leader in the world and, no, I don’t mean Vladimir Putin!) but you also have such monuments as the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and The Washington Monument. So choose the best Washington D.C. car rental and let’s start our tour of this great capital.

 

Justin in SD / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

I well remember my first trip to the east coast. I saw the Statue of Liberty and got all gooey about that. But it’s nothing compared to the White House and the other historic buildings of Washington, not to mention the magnificence of The National Air and Space Museum which took me a whole day to tour.

I visited Washington in 1987 when Ronald Reagan was besieged by the Iran Contra affair. Somehow seeing the White House in the flesh is different from seeing it on TV. Those grand speeches over the years suddenly echo in your mind. LBJ in 1968: “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.” Or Richard Nixon’s farewell speech to the White House press corps in 1974. “Only when you have been in the deepest valley can you know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. Always remember: Others may hate you. Those who hate you do not win unless you hate them. Then, you destroy yourself.

Perhaps the most awe inspiring monument is the Lincoln Memorial. Unlike The White House, you can get up close and personal.  The building contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln – The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. In fact, the memorial has been the site of many iconic addresses, most notably Martin Luther King‘s “I Have a Dream” speech of August 28, 1963. A visit here on the 50th anniversary of the speech would be really appropriate.

The most poignant monument, however, one that really stops you in your tracks, is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Located to the north of the Lincoln Memorial, it is free to visit and open 24 hours a day. The memorial includes the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the Vietnam Conflict, the event that divided America like no other and one that is carved forever on the country’ national consciousness. The memorial also includes “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Another place to pay your respects to the fallen is the Arlington National Cemetery, visited by more than four million people each year. Special graveside services and ceremonies commemorate veterans and historical figures. Among the famous people buried here are war heroes Lee Marvin (1924-1987) and Audie Murphy (1924-1971).

Washington is a beautiful city to look at any time of the year. In the spring it looks picture-postcard perfect thanks to the magnificent cherry blossom trees. Once the intense heat of the summer has evaporated, it’s a great time to explore. You can take a nice ride around Georgetown, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and one that served as a major port and commercial center during colonial times. Now it’s a vibrant community teeming with upscale shops, bars and restaurants.

terratrekking / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

If you’re a film fan, then this year’s AFI Latin America film festival, between September 19 and October 9 and just a short drive from downtown Washington, is for you. Highlights this year include: Viola, an Argentine spin on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; The Future (Il futuro), Chilean filmmaker Alicia Scherson’s adaptation of a novel by celebrated author Roberto Bolaño, set in Rome and starring blast from the past Dutch screen star Rutger Hauer. Remember him as the creepy psycho from The Hitcher? Then there’s The Dead Man and Being Happy (El Muerto y Ser Feliz), a road movie across the Argentine countryside.

 

Il Fatto Quotidiano / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

You can see the whole program here.

Any visit to Washington will provide you with some unforgettable memories. Just remember to use the best Washington car rental firm.

 

 

The dwarfes and the dinosaurs of California’s National Parks

 

It’s time to hit the road as the summer heat gives way to the gentle September sun and the leaves start to turn. We have selected four national parks in the Golden State that will leave you awestruck at the towering expanse of nature. We have also chosen Los Angeles as the starting point for your California car rental.

When you see the magnificent trees, waterfalls and scenery of these Californian treasures, you will come away rejuvenated, humbled and reinvigorated.

Redwood National Park

Crescent City, CA 95531

Redwood National Park – all 4 billion hectares of it – lies in the far northwest of California, home to some of the state’s wildest yet most enchanting terrain.

OK, it’s a bit of a trek if you have taken a Los Angeles car rental – at more than 1100 km away and a 10-hour drive from the airport – but you can always break up the journey and the drive is truly breathtaking. Just imagine you’re in an open top, dovetailing Highway One. You look down on the magnificent Pacific. At times you feel you are dipping into the ocean itself as you pass lagoons, secluded beaches and twisting turns that take you almost to the southern border of Oregon. It’s just you and the love of your life against the world!

The Park itself – as the name implies – houses several groves of massive Redwood trees. Some of them can live for 2000 years. They can grow to a height of up to 367 feet and measure up to 22 feet at the base of the trunk. The Redwoods are evergreens, blessed by heavy rains in the winter and thick fog in the summer.

Before it became a national protected park, 80 per cent of Redwoods in the vicinity had been destroyed. So the park has been a lifesaver. One of the Redwoods in the park was once believed to be the tallest in the world.  Now scientists say that the tallest is hidden away in the forest, its location kept secret to protect it.

The lush growth in the area has appeared in the movies Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Be sure to visit Fern Canyon, home to Elk Prairie, and the Roosevelt Elk, the largest of the four surviving subspecies of elk in North America. The whole area is also a pure heaven for hikers, birdwatchers and campers.

Redwood National Park

 

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Perhaps, if you’re coming out of LAX, you don’t fancy driving so far north. In that case you would do well to opt for three parks a bit closer to the airport. Let’s begin with the Joshua Tree National Park, a distance of just 237 kilometers, or a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.

The park’s name derives from the distinctive Joshua Tree, a tall-growing variety of the yucca genus that litters the area. Joshua Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres of the Mojave – the hottest desert on the North American continent – and the Colorado Desert, two separate deserts that collide to produce a remarkable ecosystem.

The area within the park was once populated by ranchers, rustlers and gold prospectors. Top attractions include the decayed ruins at Wonderland Ranch, a huge rock resembling a human skull, and the Wall Street Mill – a preserved gold ore crushing mill featuring late-19th Century two-stamp mill machinery.

Don’t miss the Oasis of Mara, a desert-like oasis attracting birds rarely seen elsewhere, such as the energetic roadrunner, which travels up to 15 miles an hour. Climbers will also appreciate the rocks, some of which geologists claim were formed millions of years ago.

Joshua Tree National Park

 

 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Three Rivers, CA

Although technically they are two separate national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon –357 km from LA, a distance of about four and a quarter hours – are thought of as one park. The combined area embraces 865,952 acres, mostly wilderness.

Sequoia is home to the largest tree in the world – the General Sherman – and, altogether, 5 of the 10 largest trees in the world. It’s only when you see people walking past these trees, like dwarves at the feet of dinosaurs, that you get an idea of their incredible size. Even the branches are like large trees. You’ll spot some bears too if you’re lucky!

Sequoia-National-Park-32

 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Village, CA 95389

Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountain, 454 km from Los Angeles, a four-and-a-half-hour drive away, is renowned for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. It’s also the home of the Grizzly Giant – 2700 years old – one of the oldest giant Sequoia in the world.

Climbers will appreciate the Half Dome Cables Section. Pit your will against the imposing North Face; all you need is a firm step, a propensity to look up rather than down, a determined mindset and fair weather! The park is also home to some of the most magnificent waterfalls, including Bridle Vale and Upper Yosemite Fall.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA - summer 2000 - Patrick Nouhailler  ©

 

We hope you enjoy your trips to the California National Parks and that you choose a company that offers you the lowest car rental rates!

 

Five fun sites in and around Phoenix

 

Thinking about a Phoenix car rental service? You’ll find some of the lowest car rental rates at Rentacarnow.

There are some great places to see in the sun-baked state of Arizona, including one or two sites that you won’t find in the guide books. We start and end with a couple of attractions that are essential for movie fans.

1. Jefferson Hotel – Phoenix

109 South Central, Phoenix, AZ

Everyone knows the class Hitchcock movie Psycho from 1960. But I guess your first thought would be the Bates motel, the creepy building where that nice, nervous Norman looked after his mother. But, if you remember, the opening shot of Psycho featured a panoramic shot of downtown Phoenix and then homed in on Janet Leigh and John Gavin enjoying a lunchtime tryst in a steamy hotel – the Jefferson.

It was a pivotal scene because it explained Marion’s (Leigh’s) motivations to steal $40,000 and drive to California before her doomed meeting with Bates.

Today, the Jefferson is no longer a hotel and is now called the Barrister Place Building. But, never mind, the building now houses the Phoenix police museum. Set in only one suite (Suite 100), the museum holds tons of pictures, facts/figures, memorabilia and antique finds like handcuffs from the 1880s, a one-room jail, a police motorcycle, and much more.

So in a sense – and excuse the pun – because Norman Bates was a taxidermist, you’re killing two birds with one stone by visiting this site!

 

2. Arizona Science Center

600 E Washington St  Phoenix, AZ

This is well worth a visit and, thankfully, just in time to celebrate a general free admission weekend over September 14-15.

This is a great place to find the answers to those life-altering questions you have always wanted to ask. Like, why do sidewalks have seams or why we get red-eye in photographs?

Permanent exhibits include one that enables you to learn how your body works and functions from the inside out! Walk through an enormous “working” stomach, complete with sights, sounds and smells of the digestive process. Explore the systems of the human body – from defense and immunity to cardio and pulmonary, digestive and skeletal. You can also hear your actual heartbeat as it is translated into sound on a bass drum. A truly great place for children – of all ages!

Heading to Arizona Science Center

 

3. Desert Botanical Gardens

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Arizona is a great, endless arid state where giant cacti bestride the sun-baked desert and summer temperatures easily top 100 degrees in the shade. But the early autumn is a much more comfortable time to visit.

The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acres botanical garden, established in 1939, that showcases some of the state’s top vegetation. It now has more than 21,000 plants, one-third of which are native to the area, including 139 species which are rare, threatened or endangered.

Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

 

4. Arizona Capitol Museum

1700 W Washington St  Phoenix, AZ

There’s no better way to learn about the history of Arizona, from territorial days and into the current century. Visit the first Governor’s Office, the original Congressional chamber and other great places. This museum lies in the government complex near downtown Phoenix. Nearby are memorials to various historical figures, individuals and organizations, as well as a 9/11 memorial.

Arizona Capitol Museum

 

5. Old Tucson

201 S Kinney Rd ,Tucson, AZ

In Old Tucson, just an hour-long drive from Phoenix, and 15 minutes from the city of Tucson itself at the base of the Tucson Mountains, is a preserved slice of Americana. Passing through the gates of a western frontier town, you find yourself in the center of streets right from those old cowboy movies. And, of course, it was a theme that resonated with the public because it was the setting for more than 300 movies and television productions filmed in the area since 1939.

John Wayne’s last collaboration with director Howard Hawks, Rio Lobo was, largely shot in old Tuscon. Lee Marvin, the great tough-guy actor, lived nearby and filmed several movies here, notably Monte Walsh – a gentle authentic Western with Jack Palance. An absolute must for movie-lovers!

We hope you enjoy all these wonderful sites! And the good news is that the best car rental rates are within easy reach.

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Your College Move Just Got Easier: Get the Best Car Rental

The last summer days are quickly slipping away and fall is around the corner, which means it is time to get down to serious business, energized and refreshed after the long warm days and nights. Whether you are a freshman or an old dog, moving in your new dorm or shared flat in the beginning of the college year is an exciting but challenging experience. Every fall feels like the beginning of a new era – and it also involves a myriad of things to consider and, most importantly, to pay for.

Most college students, naturally, immediately fancy the idea of getting their own car because of the independence and comfort that it provides. This is high on the agenda, especially when you have to transport your belongings to your new home on or off the campus. Besides the actual move, there are many other administrative and logistical issues to settle, which might be overwhelming for young people who are just making their first serious steps in adult life. Thinking ahead, packing the right amount of luggage, organizing the details for the transportation – the process is a complicated one. In addition to all the other expenses involved in the start of a college life, investing in a vehicle might not be the thing you can afford instantly.

 

College campus
Some rights reserved by UBC Library

Although the benefits of owning a car are clear, the hassles involved cannot be ignored. On top of actually buying the vehicle, you need to take care of various taxes and checks, as well as parking and maintenance. Yet, you need a car to make the move to your new home and new life. Even if you do own a car, it might be too small or too old for a challenge like this one. Thus, a quick solution to this financially and logistically daunting situation is a car rental – and your college move just became smoother. This option can be useful in general in your first days at college, as you can use the car rental to get your official papers organized at different institutions, run away for a weekend with your new mates, or give a hand to a friend who is facing the same moving challenge as you did.

Renting a car, however, can also be a complicated project, so you need to get the details right. There are car rental options that can really make your life easier. Some renting searches give you a multitude of options to look into, and you can choose between economy cars, SUVs, discount cars and other specifications. With an aggregated search engine, you get the results from various car rental agencies. This means that a preliminary selection is already made for you – so you just need to pick the best from the best, in consideration of your needs and financial situation. You might even have the luck to get a weekly car rental discount or deal – just keep your eyes and ears open.