Zipcar: How to use it and how to save!

Owning a car in the city is expensive – parking, gas, insurance, car payment. Lucky for us Chicago offers an affordable option for those of us who don’t own cars but need one every once in a while.
Zipcar is a great alternative to owning a car and also is much less expensive than renting a car when you need one.
But be warned: Zipcar is not for long trips or multiple days – you could use it for that, but you’ll be paying a lot and a rental car might be a better option at that point. But for Costco trips or trips to the burbs, you can’t beat Zipcar.

For a Zipcar membership you’ll pay $60/year. This doesn’t include any driving but gives you a membership and your Zipcar card. The great thing about Zipcar is that you also don’t pay for insurance or gas – it’s all included in the yearly membership. So before you write it off just for having a membership fee, realize that it includes A LOT. After you purchase a membership, you can choose to either get your Zipcar card mailed to you, or pick it up at their office in the loop (depending on how quickly you need to be driving).
So then, how do you pay for driving? Well, that completely depends on the kind of car you want or need. The great thing about Zipcar is that they provide you with a variety of options. Want a small car for a quick trip to visit a friend? No problem. Want a large cargo van or truck for a trip to IKEA or Costco? No problem. The types of cars they offer seem endless.


An Audi hatchback rents for about $15/hour.


A Mazda hatchback for about $11/hour.

A Ford Focus for about $9/hour.

A Chevy Volt for about $11/hour.

A Nissan Frontier Pickup for about $11/hour.

An Audi SUV for about $15/hour.

STEP 1: Get a membership. Get your Zipcar card at the office or in the mail.
STEP 2: Reserve a car online – the online map lists what cars are in what locations and even tells you the hourly rate. There are cars ALL OVER the city so finding the right size/rate for you should not be an issue.
STEP 3: Wave your Zipcar card in front of the windshield of the car and the doors magically unlock and you’re ready to drive!! The keys are waiting for you inside. Also waiting for you inside is a credit card to pay for gas and a handbook in case you forget anything or in case you get into an accident.
STEP 4: Always return your car to the same place you got it from, wave your card in front of the windshield again to lock and “turn in” the car.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
Always return the car to the same place you got it from
Don’t be late!! There are late fees involved and it’s easy to extend your reservation when you’re out and about if you realize it may take longer than you planned or you get stuck in traffic.
Pets must be kept in a carrier, but otherwise they’re welcome in all the cars!
If you want to rent for a day rather than hourly, different rates apply and can be found online.
THE BEST PART: As a PPM resident, you qualify for $50 in free driving!! Check out the PPM website for the code to use when setting up your membership.

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