If Airbnb revolutionized travel by giving us the opportunity to rent out our homes, apartments or spare parts spaces, then Turo is the Airbnb of cars. What you need to know about it:
What is Turo?
Turo is a peer-to-peer carsharing company. Turo, formerly known as RelayRides, allows car owners to earn extra money by renting their vehicles, while providing a convenient and quick way to rent a car for those in need of transport.
Unlike Uber or Lyft, Turo is not a hailstorm app, but a service more akin to traditional car rental. This makes it ideal for longer trips that you plan in advance – such as the upcoming job interview outside the city or exploring a new city at your own pace. Turo can also be cheaper than traditional car hire and has hosts that do not mind renting riders under the age of 25.
The best thing is that Turo offers something for every taste and every budget: Whether you want a luxury car to enjoy your holiday style or a cheap but reliable vehicle, Turo has you covered. The service is available in the US, Canada, UK and Germany. So, how do you start?
Register for Turo
Initial registration is very easy – after downloading Turo from the Play Store or App Store, you can log in with your Google or Facebook account or just with your email address. You will be prompted to enter personal information only when you decide to book or list a car. Once you have logged in, all you need to do is enter a city, airport, or address and your travel dates to search the available rental cars in your area.
Finding the Right Car
You want to be eco-friendly to drive to your destination? Then booking a Tesla or another electric car is a great option that Turo offers. In fact, you can choose from over 800 unique brands and models. With the multiple filters, you can find just the right vehicle for you – whether it's a car, an SUV, a minivan or a truck. No fan of manual? Then you can only choose vehicles with automatic transmission. You can also sort by price, number of seats and even by color.
One thing you must be aware of is the total number of kilometers or the distance. The hosts limit the number of miles or kilometers per day that you can drive with their car. So if you want to make a road trip, you will need to calculate the distance you will travel. For each additional mile, a fee is charged, unless you request an extension of the app. This makes communication with the hosts essential for a good experience. We recommend that you filter entries only for All-Star hosts when you use the app for the first time.
Turo also has three additional classes: Business, Deluxe and Super Deluxe. As the name suggests, this filter shows the best cars for business travel. The luxury and super-luxury class, however, offer exclusive vehicles for guests from 25 years and from 30 years. You can rent a deluxe car even if you are under 25 years old. For this a security deposit of 1500 USD is due.
If you've found a Turo car An important step before booking is to review the reviews and ratings provided by the host. As with Airbnb, this is the best indication that the person you hire is reliable. Nevertheless, your mileage may vary (pun intended), so be thorough.
At the end of each listing you will also find guidelines written by the host. Read them carefully before proceeding with the booking. Some owners do not allow pets in their vehicle. If you want to get your dog to the vet, you may need to look for another car. Smoking is also very common. However, the most important thing is that you pay attention to whether the host wants to refuel the car and how to return / drop off the vehicle. In many cases, you may also need to take photos or videos of the inside and outside of the car before driving. We recommend that you do so anyway so that you will not be held responsible for any damage to the car.
How to book and pick up
If you've found the right car on Turo, it's time to book. But how does it really work to rent a stranger's car through an app? It may seem complicated at first, but it is not a big hassle. In many ways it resembles Airbnb.
There are two types of bookings: instant booking, which does not require the owner's permission, and regular bookings, where the owner must confirm or reject your trip within eight hours. If you are new to Turo, we recommend that you book regularly. Most hosts, especially all-star hosts, will respond fairly quickly. So if you're in no hurry, this is the better option.
At check-out you need to pick a pick-up and drop-off location or get your car delivered (this usually costs you a little more). Hosts list one or more locations that are free or charge an additional fee depending on the distance. For example, it is likely that a host will list a location in its neighborhood as free, while changing the pick-up or drop-off location to the city airport will incur additional costs.
 Once you've picked the pickup or pickup location, you'll need to complete your Turo booking in five easy steps:
- Add Extras
You can choose from a variety of extras depending on the host purchase at additional cost. For example, prepaid fueling is common. You can return the car at any fuel level. Some hosts also offer child seats, extra cleaning etc.
- Enter Your Details
As expected, you must enter your personal information prior to hiring. These include the date of birth, the license number, the license issue date, etc. You can also scan your license directly from the app.
- Choose your Turo Shield protection.
When renting a car insurance is inevitable. With Turo you can choose between Premium, Basic and Minimum Coverage, all of which offer different protection against physical damage. Further information on the functioning of your country can be found here.
- Enter your payment information.
Finally, you must add your billing information. Turo accepts most major credit cards, including American Express and Discover, as well as Visa and Mastercard debit cards, which are linked to a checking account. You can also pay with Google Pay in the US and Canada, while Apple Pay is currently only available in the US.
- Message to Host
Just like Airbnb, you have to write a short message to the car owner. Imagine and give them some basic information about your trip. This is an important step, so do not be too vague.
Once your booking has been approved and you have not requested delivery, it's time to pick up your car. How this is done varies from host to host. Some will personally pick you up at an agreed time and location and hand over the keys. Take the time to ask them questions, especially if you think that nothing is mentioned in the guidelines – for example, when food or drink is allowed in the car. Make sure you know where the vehicle papers are so you can keep them ready if stopped by the police, etc.
However, a personal meeting with the host is not always the case. Some have developed sophisticated methods for handing over keys to tenants. A moderator on YouTube showed him putting the keys in lockers attached to a fence near the car and sent the tenants the combination after sending him a photo of their driver's license and themselves near the car , This is also possible with newer vehicle models that can be locked / unlocked remotely. In any case, make sure that you ask your host about it and about the return of the vehicle.
Bonus Insurance Tip
Call your personal insurance company before you make a rental Turo. Some offer full coverage under your normal policy as they do for regular rental cars. You can also check if this is offered by your credit card company. Although Turo itself states that this is unlikely, online users claim that Discover covers insurance coverage for car hire Turo.
Cancellation of Turo
Even though everything went smoothly when booking your trip, sometimes unforeseen circumstances can prevent us from traveling. What can you do in this case? If you need to cancel your rental car with Turo, you can do so through the app or website of the company. It is also recommended to send a message to the host / owner as soon as possible and to inform them. According to Turo, guests can cancel for free up to 24 hours before departure. The total amount refunded depends on when the guest cancels the trip and how long the trip lasts.
The cancellation fee for trips longer than two days is one day, while trips shorter than two days cost 50%. from one day travel expenses. The travel price and the travel fee are included in the total cost.
What happens if a host cancels you? In this case, you will receive a full refund. The hosts will then be charged a fee and an automatic check will be generated on their list with a notice of cancellation. To avoid unreliable owners canceling at the last minute, always check their ratings and include Plan B in any case. More information about Turo's cancellation policy can be found here.
Turo compared to traditional rental cars
If you're still not sure whether Turo pays off, you should weigh the positive and negative aspects of traditional rental cars.
One of Turo's biggest advantages is the rental of vehicles for drivers under the age of 21. While this is usually the case in the US for traditional car rental services, this is accompanied by high insurance fees. Turo can also be cheaper overall if you are not too picky about car model and year of construction. It is ideal for short trips on a budget. Of course this can change depending on the region. Therefore, always compare the prices before you get out your hard earned money. Handing over a rental car is also an advantage for Turo – with most conventional car rental services you have to pick up your rental vehicle yourself.
Turo may be at a disadvantage when returning the car. If you take a long one-way trip, for example, to another city, it is unlikely that a private owner will pick up his car hundreds of miles from his home without charging a high fee. Traditional rental services may have a different location in your destination / destination city so you can easily drop the car when you no longer need it.
Nevertheless, Turo is fast and convenient to use. The peer-to-peer carsharing company has earned the nickname "Airbnb of Cars" and you have not yet checked it out, there's no better time than it is now!
Read next: 10 Best Car Hire Apps for Android
Have you used Turo before? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.