I like to travel on the fly. I don’t often get the opportunity but I like to go to a place without any real plans. Since I was on my way to Washington, DC, I thought I’d arrive a few days early. I brought along my faithful traveling companion, Sweetie, and the adventure began.
I was due in DC on Sunday; we arrived on Tuesday. We’d decided on the flight to visit Baltimore, a city neither of us had visited before. We had no hotel nor car rental reservations.
To rent a car, we had to take a shuttle from BWI (Baltimore Washington International airport) to the off-site car rental site. Let me tell you, they stuffed that shuttle tight. I was nearly bopped on the nose several times by an overstuffed backpack carried by a man with a bad sense of balance.
At the off-site building, we found about 10 rental agencies. Sweetie began with Economy. I’d used them before on spontaneous trips. We’d never had a problem before. Economy didn’t have any cars available. So he moved to the next booth: Alamo.
You’d think that Alamo, being named after our home state, would be friendlier but they wanted to see an itinerary before they’d rent to us. We’d been traveling paperless so we had no itinerary. A helpful agent suggested that we show them the paperless itinerary (from our email). However, there was no free wifi in the building and no one was willing to share their password to the wifi system.
“Why do they need an itinerary?” we wondered. We never got an answer but three more places wanted the same thing.
Dollar was willing to rent to us without an itinerary but we were rejected there because we only had my bank debit card (which functions as both a credit and debit card). They wanted a real credit card.
Sweetie made his way around the building from kiosk to kiosk int he two hours we were there. In the end, there were only two rental agencies he didn’t try because Avis finally agreed to rent us a car.