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Senior Travel

The Surprising Reason You May Not Be Allowed to Rent a Car

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins was turned away at the rental-car counter. Here’s why.

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins is traveling in Europe this week, sending tips and tales from the road. Follow along here.

I arranged a rental car in advance for my arrival in Bari. The rental was with Enterprise, which had the best deal. During the rental booking process, I was asked if I was over 25. The booking agent did not ask my age. But when I arrived, the clerk at the Enterprise desk informed me that the company did not rent to anyone age 72 or older.

So, it’s 9 p.m. and I have no car. I easily got a replacement the next morning, and Enterprise agreed to refund my pre-payment, but the experience cost both inconvenience and two unnecessary cab fares.

The take-away: Some online rental agencies do not disclose a maximum age limit on car rentals. If you’re 70 or over, reserve your car from a rental company or rental agency website that asks for your specific age in addition to the standard over/under 25 question that every operator asks.

AutoEurope is very good about arranging cars for seniors anywhere that a maximum age can be a problem.

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By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.

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