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Looking for an alternative to renting a car in the USA? Meet Turo, the “Airbnb of cars”!

Some questions are very common when I go to the United States. I highlight these three:

  • "Do you accept orders?" Mainly to order iPhones, of course. ?
  • "Do you have a hotel tip or a place to stay?"
  • "Where do I find a cheap car?"

The first, I won't even comment much. With the customs quota parked at $ 500 for years, obviously the answer ?no?. We already talked about some subjects here in MacMagazine that, in Brazil, you are only allowed to bring a single phone for personal use, but we also talk about some services that help you to buy your product from abroad.

For accommodations, I will not go into details in this article, the focus now is exactly the other tip, but I basically always look in three places: Airbnb, and

The last question is the reason for this post!

The truth is, depending on where in the USA you go, you don't even need a car. Cities like New York have a very complete metro network, as well as bus services that work very well. In San Francisco, for example, if your idea is only in the central region (which is difficult in a city with so many things to explore), sometimes it pays more to ask for Uber, as parking lots are very expensive. However, believing that you have already made an assessment of the factors for not getting a car and concluded that you need one, let's go to the part that matters.

These days I got a really cool tip from Breno Masi and tested it on a recent trip to San Francisco. Until then, I always rented cars directly through a car rental website or through But that has now changed. The service is called Turo It is like an ?Airbnb of cars?, where ordinary vehicle owners (individuals) can rent their own cars.

Turo - Better Than Car Rental app icon

I did everything through the app and I found the experience very practical considering my experience in rental companies and the routine lines until I get a car, sign all that paperwork, the famous bureaucracy and the attempts to sell me several different types of insurance, among others things.

Basically, while I was at the hotel (very close to Union Square in San Francisco), I opened the app, connected via Facebook and they came up with several offers of cars to rent in the region. Some very close to where I was on the same street! At Turo, you have a variety of car styles available, being able to choose from a compact and cheaper one to luxury ones (Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche), obviously, paying a more "salty" price for the experience.

After choosing the car, the owner has up to 8 hours to approve your order, but this usually happens very quickly. So, the tip here is to try to choose the car in advance, you basically send the car owner a text through the app saying what you want to do with the car.

In my case, I chose a cheaper Korean car the day before my intention to get it effectively, but in less than 30 minutes I received the confirmation. When negotiating this car, I should pick it up in a nearby parking lot. The was the interesting part, as I would not have anyone physically to deliver the car to me: I should simply approach it and take four pictures (one front, two side and one rear). Then, take a picture of my license and a selfie with my skills in hand. All of this through the application, which guides you through the whole process.

After uploading the images, I should tell Turo that I had already sent the documents through the reservation, that they would then unlock the car remotely. At that point I was a little suspicious, so on the day of the rental, I looked for the address. It was 2km from my hotel, so I was walking.

I went into the parking lot, I didn't speak to anyone; in the app, the tip for me that the car would be on the third floor. I found it by the sign and, comparing with the images available in the app, I took the requested photos. In less than ten minutes, they checked everything and unlocked the car obviously, there was equipment inside the vehicle to allow this unlock. Then, I took a picture of the dashboard to check the mileage (or mileage, in this case) and the gas tank. Then I left for my tour!

There was already a card inside the car so you wouldn't have to pay for parking at the exit, which should also be used to return the car without paying.

The car was not as clean as the car rental companies, but neither was disaster. He had a cable (good brand) to recharge iPhone and even a P2 cable (auxiliary) to connect to the radio.

Comparing the prices on that day when I took the car and considering that it was a weekday, when rents are usually much more expensive, in the USA, I paid US $ 33 instead of US $ 77 in a common rental store (being little less than half of this amount referring to rental and city taxes, but without due insurance, which would still raise the value).

The downside, depending on what you need to do on the day, is in the number of miles you can ride the car. Usually, at a car rental company, miles are unlimited. In this rental, the limit would be 150 miles, with a stipulated amount of US $ 0.50 per additional mile. But do not be alarmed, as 150 miles can run a lot (this varies from car to car, you have to see what the owner is offering for mileage limits and also pay attention to the additional mile value, as this also varies).

I went from San Francisco to Cupertino (about an hour driving), took a tour of the ?old? Apple office since the new one was not yet officially open for visits, went to Google and fell in the bullshit of going to Facebook to find out that there was * nothing * to do there (other than taking a picture in front of the sign). I went back to San Francisco, took a walk on Lombard Street, took advantage of the proximity and went to the Coit Tower, walked a little more around the city and still had mileage left to spend!

Coming close to the time to return the car, the application sends an alert to see if you want to renew for another period and again gives you guidance on what to do to return the car. So, close to the time, I refueled you take it with a full tank and return it full, I entered the parking lot, photographed the panel to check that I filled the tank and for them to see the miles traveled, photographed the sides, front and rear of the car , I uploaded everything through the app, locked the car with the key inside and left.

That simple. I didn't have to interact with anyone to rent and return the car.

In this rent I went to the car, but in Turo you can arrange with the owner to take the car to you, too. This is a great option when you need a car at the airport, for example. In the cases I researched, the delivery rates ranged from US $ 10 to US $ 30 and as this conversion is a little expensive for us Brazilians, I preferred to walk 2-3 km and save a little.

To improve my experience, when I was invited to the app, I got a $ 25 discount coupon, so I took advantage of all of that for just $ 8. I will then return the favor and share with you also a code to test the system: ?

In the quick research I did here, I found cool cars in Miami, Orlando, New York, San Francisco, among other places that are destinations for many tourists. Recalling that, among the locations, airports are also included. The tip is to look carefully at the rules of who is offering the car, more or less as we do in Airbnb accommodations.

Ah, one last thing: rents are already covered by insurance! In my case, everything was covered by Liberty, this information also comes in the explanation of the car rental.

Would that work in Brazil? Better said: will you risk trying this in Brazil? Comment below! Taking advantage of the cue, many of the places I visited you can get to know in much more detail and comfort by joining the MM Tour group the vacancies for 2018 are already practically closed, but 2019 is soon ?