car rental road trip USA

Planning to rent a car for a big multi-state road trip of the United States? When choosing a car rental company, the top of your requirements should be unlimited mileage and very few geographic restrictions. That's why Sixt is perhaps the worst car rental company for U.S. road trips.

Don't get us wrong. Sixt is a great car rental company for many occasions, It's ordinarily one of our favorite rental car companies due to its excellent vehicles and upgrade policies. But if you're renting a car for a multi-state road trip, then Sixt is not a good choice.


Sixt Puts Geographic Restrictions on Where You Can Travel


Unlike most major national car rental companies, Sixt imposes strict limitations on where you can drive its rental vehicles.

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Why does Sixt restrict where you can travel? While Sixt is one of the largest rental car companies in the world, but has relatively few locations in the United States, with a presence in just 17 U.S. states. The company does not have the support network in place if there were an accident or mechanical issue in the vast expanse of the country where there aren't any Sixt locations within a day's drive.

There is a four-hour mobility guarantee which ensures that a customer will never take a vehicle more than four hours from one of the limited Sixt locations. This means that Sixt never wants one of its vehicles to be more than four hours from a Sixt location.

While that seems reasonable enough, the upshot is that, depending on where you pick up a rental car, Sixt limits which state lines you can cross—and sometimes these rules can seem illogical. For example, if you rent a car in Florida, you can't drive it across the Georgia state line. If you rent a car in New Jersey, you can drive to Washington, D.C. but if you rent a car in Philadelphia, you are not allowed to take it to D.C.

Sixt has strict rules for out-of-state travel.

Renters are informed about these restrictions at the time of booking—so long as they read the fine print in the company's rental policy and rules. This is yet another example of why it's so important to always read the fine print before you reserve a rental car.

Before locking in a reservation, be sure to read the rules.

Sixt's geographic restrictions are far more stringent than those of every other major rental car company in the U.S. For instance, Alamo allows its cars to be driven anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.


What Happens if You Break Sixt's Rules on Geographic Restrictions


Don't blow off these rules with the idea that Sixt will never find out you crossed state lines or you can get stuck paying 50 cents per mile for violating a rule that was disclosed in advance. And the 50 cents per mile is for each mile, not just the miles driven in violation of the rental agreement.

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There are several ways Sixt can find out where you traveled. If there's an accident or the car has a mechanical breakdown outside the restricted area, Sixt will find out. If you get a parking ticket or popped by a red-light camera or speed camera, Sixt is going to get a citation in the mail. But the main reason you can be assured that Sixt will find out where you went is that Sixt has a policy on connected cars, which lets Sixt use technology to locate cars within its fleet. Here's how it looks in the fine print:

You acknowledge that the Vehicle may be equipped with a telematics device, global positioning satellite (“GPS”) technology, an electronic locator device, and/or an event data recorder. We may find, monitor, or disable the Vehicle through such systems if we deem it necessary, without warning or notice, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Remote monitoring may include the collection of Vehicle data, such as location, odometer, oil life, fuel level, tire pressure, battery charge, diagnostic trouble codes, and other elements that we may deem necessary. You should have no expectation of privacy related to the use of this Vehicle. We are not responsible for the operability of any telematics navigational or other system included with the vehicle. You acknowledge these systems may use cellular telephone, wireless technology, or radio signals to transmit data, and therefore your privacy cannot be guaranteed. You authorize any person’s use or disclosure of or access to location information, automatic crash notification, and operational vehicle reporting conditions of Vehicle as permitted by law. You shall inform any and all drivers and passengers of vehicle of the terms of this section and that you have authorized release of information as provided herein. You agree to release us and agree to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless for any damage to persons or property cause by failure of the telematics device to operate properly, or otherwise arising from the use of the telematics device. Third party telematics service providers are not our agents, employees, or contractors.


Sixt is Still a Great Choice for One-Way Road Trips


There's an important exception. If a reservation is explicitly made as a one-way rental, then there is no geographic restriction on where you can drive and there is no penalty for crossing any state lines, so long as the car is returned to the designated drop-off location on time.


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