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Cheap car rentals increasingly hard to find thanks to shortage

Traveling this summer? If your plans involve a rental car, triple check that rental!

A car rental shortage is having a big impact on prices as well as many people's travel plans.  

Angie McIntosh and her family arrived safely at their vacation condo in the Florida panhandle. but they almost didn't get here.

"I get a call from them to tell me sorry, we won't have your van," McIntosh said.

They had booked a 12 passenger Ford transit van to get their extended family to destinations. However, while packing, an agent from Budget rental car service called to say there were no vans left.

"This was less than 24 hours before we were supposed to leave," McIntosh recalled. She said Budget didn't even have a minivan left.

"They didn't have any minivans or transit vans due to that chip shortage."

The family's only option: pay almost triple for two SUVs.

"He said of course we can get you two SUVs, but it will be $2,000."

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Rental car agencies nationwide are running out of cars, or doubling prices for the few they have left.

Many sold off their fleets to survive last year, and the chip shortage means they can't get new ones.

According to many consumer reports, there are steps you can take to protect your reservation and your wallet:

  • Book a rental well in advance
  • Consider Uber if you don't plan on driving much
  • Be very careful in Hawaii, Orlando, and Las Vegas. Rentals there may be sold out for weeks.

Budget finally gave the McIntoshs those two SUVs for the same price, but it was still costly.

"We have two vehicles to fill up. and you know gas prices are $3 right now," McIntosh said.

A Budget rep apologized for the Mcintosh's problems and told Don't Waste Your Money they will investigate why the van they booked weeks in advance vanished the eve of their trip.

Some people are now making two rental reservations, but be careful doing that. You run the risk of being charged if you don't show up for the backup rental.

RELATED: Why your rental car may cost more than your plane ticket on your next vacation

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