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Renting A Car To Rally To Maine

On understanding what is really important.

Trenton, Maine
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TRENTON, Maine- I was defeated on Saturday. And it never feels good being defeated. A car plowed into the back of us when we were attempting to get to Maine to visit my wife’s family and sent us limping right back to Astoria. It was the anti-climatic end of days of prep and hours of packing.

We were not in poor spirits though. As we sat on our couch, back at the place where we started, we knew we had to rally. This couldn’t be how this ended. It was the afternoon of the day before Christmas Eve and public transport and flights would be packed and expensive. Could any rental cars still be available (for a price we’d be willing to pay)?

We searched from LGA: $800. Nope.

But then we searched from JFK, and found a car for $350 for five days that I believe had a little red tagline beneath the price that said “Only one left.” We jumped on it.

The problem was that the provider was Ace / Drivo — a NY based rental car company that’s leading the race to the bottom. Their object is to shoot for the lowest prices and then make their customers pay for it later with poor service and weird miscellaneous fees. The last time I rented a car through them I stood in line for over an hour and a half and watched several customers break down in hissyfits … which I suppose provided some degree of entertainment. But we were not choosers here.

There are many things in life that are more important than money or quality service … or most anything else, really. We could have stayed in NYC and saved some cash. We tried to make it but oh well, maybe next year. But that just didn’t seem right. The only value that money really has is the experiences that it can net for you. Nobody is every going to ride to their grave being like, “Boy, I’m glad I saved all that money …”

When you’re a young traveler you attached supreme importance to saving money because you understand that each dollar is a measure of time that you can remain abroad. When you become a little older you become more aware that time is fleeting and that you do not have an infinite supply of it, so paying out to enjoy the moment is often a far better bargain.

I now ask myself only one question when faced with the prospect of spending money:

Will I remember it?

My wife’s parents are getting old and her dad isn’t doing so well. This week together will be something we all remember.


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Filed under: Maine, Road Trip

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

7 comments… add one

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  • Rob December 27, 2023, 8:47 pm

    I’m glad you made it to have Christmas with the family.

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    • VBJ December 28, 2023, 9:35 am

      Thanks! They’re Jewish though so no Christmas for me 🤣

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      • Rob December 28, 2023, 12:17 pm

        It’s the holiday that happens this time of the year, it’s the family that gets together because it’s that time of the year rather than the label you put on it.

      • VBJ January 2, 2024, 8:32 am

        Right on! Very good way to put it.

      • Jack February 6, 2024, 7:59 pm

        Hey, you get to spend time with family and not have to deal with the BS surrounding Christmas. 🙂 That’s one thing I really don’t like being back in the US. Someone at church got very upset with us because she was talking about Santa Claus with the little kids and my youngest said that Santa Claus is fake. 🙂

      • VBJ February 12, 2024, 9:56 am

        Haha that’s funny! Yes, people never like it when their worldviews are challenged … unless you’re a traveler, and then it’s kind of fun 🤣

  • Jimmywax February 6, 2024, 12:41 pm

    Good luck 🙂

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