Or is it the "Redneck Riviera" for hubby and me?
June 29, 2006 3:56 PM   Subscribe

I am interested in the hive mind's ideas on how to either rent a car with terrible credit, or ways to get to and travel in deep woods Minnesota without renting said car.

In about a year from now, I am having a canoeing honeymoon in the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota. We will be traveling from Mississippi, and we would prefer to drive, both for the trip, which is a great one, and also to be able to get ourselves and our gear into the north woods. I cannot find a way to get to the Ely area and a drop-off point should we fly/take a train, etc., without renting a car when we get to the Twin Cities. The problem is our credit. I'm a lost cause, while my SO is working on repairing his, but a year's time just isn't gonna do it. Does anyone have any ideas about alternatives to using a credit card to rent a car, or alternative travel in that area that won't crush our bank account? I am resigned to putting down a massive deposit on a car rental if Metafilter doesn't come through. Please feel free to ask questions if I have been unclear in any way.
posted by thebrokedown to Travel & Transportation around Minnesota (11 answers total)
Best answer: Do you have a debit card? Can you put down a deposit on a secured credit card?
posted by necessitas at 4:00 PM on June 29, 2006

Response by poster: We do have debit cards, that also work like credit cards. You think they'd take that?
posted by thebrokedown at 4:02 PM on June 29, 2006

Best answer: Yes, they do with a 250 deposit (they'll return it once you return the car)
posted by necessitas at 4:03 PM on June 29, 2006

Response by poster: Ah, sweet. Thanks so much. I'd really been agonizing about it. Now on to lesser details, like the wedding itself. (I'm much more looking forward to the trip :)
posted by thebrokedown at 4:05 PM on June 29, 2006

Hope you have a great time!
posted by necessitas at 4:06 PM on June 29, 2006

The deposit can vary from location to location, it could be somewhat more.

I know that Enterprise specifically will rent to those w/out credit cards, so check em out.

posted by Cycloptichorn at 4:56 PM on June 29, 2006

I've rented cars using my debit checkcard.
It's not so much of a deposit as it is a hold.
(Back when the whole checkcard thing was new, I rented a car, and it took 3 days for the money to get back to my account. Nowadays, it's just a hold that gets immediately released)
posted by zerokey at 4:57 PM on June 29, 2006

You have a whole year. Uh... scare up $250 and go get him a secured credit card. Problem solved. If you already have the funds to put down a 'massive deposit' then use some of it *now* to get a secured credit card. Not only will you help out with the credit, but it'll help *you* out when you need to rent the car.
You can also tell them that you will be paying with a different card when you pay for the car.
That is exactly what I have done in the past, and it's always worked out great.
posted by drstein at 6:03 PM on June 29, 2006

Strange. I've had no trouble renting cars with just a debit card. No deposit needed, but maybe that varies by state . If you figure out now which company you'll be renting from (out in the boonies there may be only one option in your price range), ask them about their debit card policy -- if any -- is. You may already be set.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:12 PM on June 29, 2006

In Washington I've rented with Enterprise and they've wanted the credit card but never charged anything to it (unless I put the rental amount on the card at the end). It should work with Visa or Mastercard debit cards just the same.
posted by lhauser at 8:05 PM on June 29, 2006

You'll need to check the policies of the specific outlet you will be renting from.
Most major rental companies (Thrifty, Avis, etc) leave that up to the individual franchise.
Some franchises don't take debit cards at all, some take debit cards for payment but not for a deposit, and some take them for everything.

An alternative to messing about with all that is Priceline.
A lot of franchises that don't generally take debit cards will take them in association with a priceline reservation.
I don't know why, but it's always worked for me.
posted by madajb at 9:13 PM on June 29, 2006

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