An Impromptu Roadtrip
Always loved driving. Maybe it is an introvert thing. Long drives, road signs floating by, each horizon, tree, billboard, hill contours and coastlines sliding to the left and right and with each frame a new refresh. So therapeutic. Who doesn't love them?
Having spent a total of 7 months here in Miami, life is mostly that of an urban house rat. Without a car, it is hard to see America. Fortunately, the kindness of friends have taken us to places outside the grid of the public transit to eat, shop and see a different side of life. For a few months, Uber Pool had these wonderful promo deals with $3 rides within the Miami-Dade county. But when that ended, we went back to taking the metro which placed a limit on where one could go. From urban house rat to mall rat. Nice.
Then, just last weekend, we discovered Skurt - a car rental service that delivers and picks up the car from wherever you want it. Sounds expensive but no, it is not. Wait for it. Ok, you are probably wondering by now, "couldn't you have rented a car from a traditional company for the weekend? It's not that expensive". That was exactly what I thought. But you see, my experience with car rental companies have always been painful. Most require a credit card (as opposed to debit cards) as a guarantee. Some people choose not to have a credit card and that should not work against them. Not to mention queues and paperwork. And that was exactly what happened two weekends ago when we tried to rent a car to get to our friend's wedding (also to deliver the wedding cake, safely). We got knocked back after spending an hour waiting and getting to the car rental counter. They required a traditional credit card which we didn't have. There was no budging. So we walked away empty handed, feeling so severely discriminated.
Here in the United States, credit scores work very differently. When you are new to the country, they start you off with the worst credit rating - 'very poor'. Even if you have a decent paying job, you can't get any credit. Not for a few years.
So, last Friday evening, while scrolling though social media feeds, I chanced upon this new service that looked similar to Uber - except, it was for a car rental service. We had plans to go to our friend's place near Hialeah to spend an afternoon carving pumpkins (so fun right? I know!). A few clicks later on my phone, we had booked our car via the Skurt app, for the entire weekend for just $25 a day. I couldn't believe it. The next morning, the car arrived at our doorstep hassle free and we were on our way to a great weekend on wheels. No paperwork. All I did was meet the car and driver by the road. Open up my app, click 'accept' and the key was in my hand. In a matter of minutes.
And after the weekend on Monday morning, the car was picked up from my doorstep. I went downstairs in my pyjamas, drove the car out of the parking garage, handed the keys back to the Skurt agent and I was done. 5 minutes. Everything was via the app. No paperwork whatsoever. They even fill up the tank for you, charged at the rate you see at your local gas station. Traditional car rental companies use inflated gas prices if they fill it up for you. And oh, there is no under 25 age penalty pricing that is common practice too. Doesn't really matter to me cos I'm like really old. Lol.
Skurt is just brilliant and I am so impressed. It is the valet service of car rental that will disrupt the market like Uber did with cab service. There is a verification process which is just two steps. Take a photo of your driver's license and upload your credit card details. And you're all set up. There is, however, a one time (and only happens for your first booking) $99 deposit charged to your card which is refunded a few days after the car is returned, less fuel charges.
They just launched in Miami and have been in Los Angeles for over a year. Ok, this is so not a sponsored post but I'm so impressed, this is a free plug. Kinda. If you are in one of their cities (including Orange County, San Diego at the time of writing), you should definitely give them a go.
And if you do for the first time, here's a referral code for $20 credit - QDP349.
Skurt is similar to one of those car sharing services like Zipcar, except, this is more affordable. Zipcar rentals charges $10 per hour or about $100 for a full 24 hour rental. And that is on top of monthly subscription and registration fee ($7 per month and $25 one time). With that same amount, I could rent a car with Skurt for 4 days. I'm so glad somehow filled this gap in the market. Go try Skurt. You won't turn back. Just as Uber has forever changed things (I haven't taken a traditional cab since), Skurt is going to do just the same.
Since we had the car till Monday morning, we made full us of it to run errands like buy groceries from Walmart cos we heard it is so much cheaper. And yes it's true. For example, Kale was only $1.18 for a bunch. It is $1.99 at the supermarket across the road from us! We also took the car for an impromptu road trip down Florida Keys towards Key West. We didn't quite make it to Key West - which was a 4 hour drive. We got to about halfway at Islamorada, which was a beautiful seaside town. And because Florida has a strong latin-cuban influenced culture, the Tiki bar was playing a reggae cover of John Mayer's Gravity as we walked down the beautiful marina boardwalk. This has been a special weekend.