Not pictured: a Chinese family on vacation. Image credit: Favcars.com

Unless you’re vacationing in a city with a stellar public transportation system or you’re part of a guided tour, most of us have to make do with hitting up the rental car desk for some wheels after we land.

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For the most part, the cars are fine. They’re fine. Occasionally, though, you get one that is truly great. And by great I mean you question the car’s upbringing, did it have an abusive parent, what it went through before you got to it, etc.

Mine happened on a family trip to Hawaii in 2004. We landed in Honolulu and were given the keys to a gold Oldsmobile Alero. Curiously, somebody had stuck a bunch of Scotch tape to the clearcoat. The interior smelled like old cigarette smoke and there was a cigarette burn on one of the cloth seats. It was bleak.

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But, if you’re going to have a filthy rental car anywhere, it might as well be in Hawaii, I suppose.

What was your sketchiest rental car? Or, what was your sketchiest rental car situation? Did you negotiate with someone on a darkened street corner? Did they express interest in your kidneys?