Learning patterns/Automobile travel
What problem does this solve?
How can safe and cost-effective automobile travel to events be arranged?
For general information about travel planning please see Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel.
What is the solution?
The use of private cars for nonprofit or business purposes may require the purchase of different vehicle licenses or insurance. Check with your legal adviser.
If private cars are used for transport, determine the reimbursement rate ahead of time. Reimbursement rates involve more than just the fuel cost. Most government agencies or tax offices have a standard per-kilometer or per-mile rate worked out by people who are expert at that task; information from the United States Internal Revenue Service is here for the 2014 rates. Save time and debate within your organization or project by using a similar government rate or setting one at the start of planning. Often volunteers are happy to use their own car at their own expense for short trips without any reimbursement; just be careful not to put pressure on them or to discourage them from requesting reimbursement. Some of your volunteers may be more financially able than others to volunteer the time and expenses of using their vehicle to help others.
Bus and taxi service
Renting a car or van may be possible for short-distance or long-distance travel. However, be sure to also look at the learning pattern Short-distance travel to check if simpler or more cost-effective short-distance options are available.
- License, registration, and insurance coverage
- Does the person who will drive the vehicle have an appropriate license and has adequate insurance?
- Will the car or van will be used to cross an international boundary?
- Will the insurance of the group that is organizing the event provide insurance coverage for an accident? In some cases, the insurance must be business automobile insurance rather than private individual insurance.
- Costs and payments
- Are there mileage fees or over-limit mileage fees?
- Fees and taxes that may be added to the advertised price of the rental. In some areas, these fees and taxes may be very expensive.
- Some car rental agencies may place an authorization hold on the credit or debit cards of their guests. These holds are not actually charged to the card until purchases are finalized, but the amounts of the holds are unavailable for other uses until the holds are released. The business that places the hold on the card may use it for charges such as refueling fees and damage costs. Travelers should be made aware of these holds so that they can anticipate that they will be unable to use the amount of the authorization hold for other purposes until the hold is released. Additionally, banks may impose over-limit fees on debit cards if someone withdraws funds that are in excess of the allowed amount on a card when a hold is in place. While businesses should disclose the amount of the hold to their customers before finalizing a transaction, not all businesses follow this practice, so some travelers may get surprise holds on their accounts. Travelers may attempt to negotiate lower holds with businesses. Travelers also may try to pay with traveler's checks or cash instead of credit or debit cards, although some businesses may require a credit card. For more information see this article from USA Today and this page on Elliott.org
- Additional resources
- Elliott.org: Car renters may hit potholes when they cross borders
- Elliott.org: How to steer clear of car rental extras
- Elliott.org: Don’t get broadsided by your car rental paperwork – here’s how
- Elliott.org: Why are we being charged an extra $277 for our rental car?
- Wikivoyage article about renting a car
- Grants:Learning patterns/Arranging travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Air travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/International travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Rail travel
- Grants:Learning patterns/Short-distance travel