"More people are parking their own vehicles and renting to meet their various transportation needs," said Michael Marsden, a professor and automotive popular culture expert at Eastern Kentucky University.
Steve Short, vice president of consumer development for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said the company in recent years has "experienced double-digit growth in motorists renting vehicles for leisure purposes in their hometowns."
Realizing that more Americans are renting, companies are making it easier for motorists. For instance, Enterprise picks up and drops off its customers at no extra charge and has more than 5,000 neighborhood locations in North America.
"By offering convenience and affordability, we've discovered that renting for such occasions as weekend getaways is a great alternative to driving your own vehicle," Short said.
Weekend Getaway Travel Tips
* Follow the rules of the road. Obey speed limits; always use your turn signals; use seat belts and child restraints; and never drink and drive!
* Keep a safe distance from vehicles ahead. Ensure you have enough room to stop suddenly or maneuver safely in an emergency.
* Plan to take a break every two hours and share the driving whenever possible. Driver fatigue happens on both long and short trips.
* Plan your route ahead of time. You can obtain a road map and suggested routes from your local automobile association or on the Internet. Remember to plan rest and meal stops.
* Travel comfortably. If your vehicle needs repair or isn't big enough to accommodate your luggage and passengers, consider renting a larger vehicle such as a minivan or sport utility vehicle.