Whether you choose to visit Miami as a single stop or as one of the various stops on a larger Florida road trip, you are most likely wondering what is the best way to organize your stay.
Once you have chosen the appropriate hotel, health insurance and flight, it will be time for the fateful decision: it is the case or not to rent a car in Miami to visit the city? Is it the right stop to rent a car to embark on a Florida road tour?
Let's try to answer both questions and provide some tips to snatch a low cost price.
- Why visit Miami by car?
- Car rental in Miami from the airport
- Florida car rental: a good idea to take a tour
- Beware of toll roads!
- How to find low cost prices
Why visit Miami by car?
Miami it has a unique charm, but also an extensive metropolitan area. So, if you want to explore it thoroughly, you will have to carefully plan your trips, also helping you with our article on how to get around Miami. In summary, we can say that the public transport system - which is the largest in Florida - can in principle be used to visit some commercial areas and major city attractions.
In some areas you can use elevated trains such as the Metrorail (which serves between the various stops, Brickett, Downtown and Coconut Grove) and the Metromover (a panoramic monorail that makes the panoramic tour of Downtown), while in the other areas the movements are managed by free trolleys and city buses (which, however, usually in America they have some problems with traffic and punctuality).
Although the transport system may in some cases represent a good alternative, the most comfortable choice remains that of rent a car, which will allow you to optimize your time and enjoy the city more, especially in the case of larger and more peripheral neighborhoods, such as Coral Gables and Wynwood.
Before deciding what to do, I recommend that you take a look at our tips on what to see in Miami.
Car rental in Miami from the airport
There are numerous agencies scattered throughout the area, but if you intend to rent a car to explore the city, you should pick it up as soon as you land. Miami's airport is MIA (Miami International Airport), 10 km from the city, third in the country in terms of air traffic.
The major car rental companies are all located within the Rental Car Center (RCC, 3900 NW 25th St), a huge complex opened in 2010 that houses 16 car rental agencies and serves around 17000 customers a day. Reaching it will be very easy, just get to the third level and take the MIA Mover, a free elevated train that will take you quickly to the car collection depot.
These guidelines apply if you have rented the car from Hertz, Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Budget, National, Advantage Rent a Car, All Day Rent a Car, Enterprise, EZ, Firefly, Payless, P&P, Royal, Sixt and Thrifty. Otherwise, if your agency is not included in this list, you do not have to go to the Rental Car Center, but look for the office outside the airport: this is a much more inconvenient solution, although in some cases you can ask the agency to be picked up at the RCC. To see the addresses of the individual companies and calculate the routes and distances take a look at this page.
Florida car rental: a good idea to take a tour
Taking a car to Miami can be a good idea not only to visit the city extensively, but also to take a tour on the road in the surroundings, reaching for example the parks of Orlando, the Everglades, the Keys islands or the west coast. .
For the car hire in Florida essentially the same information we have provided for all the United States (and which you can find in our article on USA car rental) apply, with the addition of a clarification that specifically concerns the State of Florida and its toll roads.
Beware of toll roads!
One is active in Florida toll road network which provides for electronic payment in almost all cases (in very few cases they accept cash at the toll booths). Here you can check which are the toll roads and calculate the cost.
But how to pay? There is a useful and effective prepaid system named Sunpass which, through the installation of a physical device or a sticker on the dashboard, allows you to pass through the preferential lanes and to discount the cost of the toll by about 25% compared to the normal toll cost.
Beware of two things:
- As far as we know, no company includes the Florida SunPass in its contract. On the other hand, many car rental companies include in their contracts other more expensive payment methods, which however do not exclude the possibility of install the SunPass yourself and use it for travel on toll roads.
- If your car is not equipped with a transponder and you make the mistake of not buying and installing the SunPass, passing under the preferential lane you will be charged the cost of the toll through the technology Toll-By-Plate, which will identify you with a photo of the license plate. In the case of rented cars, the amount due for the passage will be passed on to the car rental company which will charge it in turn directly to your credit card (the one you used to take the car). The amount charged is considerable, as it includes the amount of the passage to the toll booth plus $ 2,50 tax.
For more advice and insights on this topic, I highly recommend reading our article dedicated to the Florida SunPass.
How to find low cost prices
If you are looking for a low cost solution, I recommend you do an online search by taking a look at the search and comparison engines, where you can also find proposals from the most reliable companies at much cheaper prices than the respective official sites. Find the leading comparison sites to search for a rental car for Miami a This Page.