Number 1 : The Best Reviews in Bozeman

Number 1 is the result from the combination of the previous 9-reasons to rent from Explore. We are, unequivocally, the best reviewed car rental agency in Bozeman, MT. Yelp!, Google, Trip Advisor, Trekaroo – you name it, we are the best – and we are very proud of it. Explore Rentals even has more 5-star reviews on Yelp! than all of the other car rental agencies in Bozeman COMBINED.

But don’t just take our word for it. Look around and do your research. We are not always the cheapest, but we are the best for those looking to get the most out of their Montana Experience.

We are confident that if you choose to do business with Explore Rentals, you will not be let down. There are many advantages to being small – such as our personal service, our choice or rental cars, and our team. We want to share these advantages with you.

The Explore Rentals Promise:

If renting a car through Explore Rentals is not the best car rental experience you have ever had, let us know and we will make it right.

Number 2: Superior Service

Explore is founded on two primary principles:

  1. Creating a better car rental experience.
  2. Sharing and preparing visitors to get the most out of their Montana Experience.

Explore Rentals is a small, independently-owned car rental agency. The founder of Explore, Will Casella, hails from a prior life in the service industry managing some of the most elite fly fishing lodges in the world. He started the company via an idea he had while being a Trout Bum in New Zealand during some time off. (Read the published articles here, Good as Gold, and Roadwarrior: Explore Rentals). The concept was to provide ‘outfitted’ rental cars to anglers visiting Montana. The rental cars would be well equipped to explore the Montana and would have all camping and comfort options included for an ultimate road-trip experience. Although starting a rental car company was never a real consideration, he became convinced he could do it better- and better he has done.

Times changed (slightly) and the company continues to grow and adapt. Our angler and outdoorsman demographic still exists, but now Explore offers superior rental cars to all Montana visitors. Cars that will get you to Big Sky safely in a snow storm, comfortably through Yellowstone National Park in the summer, and confidently down a Montana backroad any time of the year.

The emphasis on service continues to preside throughout our business model, going against the grain of the car rental industry. Everything about Explore Rentals is about guest experience. Whether it is sending a fly-fisherman off to one of our ‘secret spots’, or an outdoor photographer to that perfect place where the sun will hit the mountain at just the right time, or making sure the family has help with their luggage – we are there for you.

At Explore we have guests, not customers

Ensuring you leave Montana with a smile on your face is our goal.

Number 3: Value

We have long yammered on about our pricing and how generally we will price match or beat our competitors – all the while offering superior rental cars, service, and convenience. However, if you are looking for a ‘cheap’ rental car experience, we are not the company for you.

At Explore we do things differently. The price we quote is the price you pay and we have added value features that provide a superior experience to our guests: all mileage, additional drivers, ideal rental cars, convenience, personal and private service, better/ safer tires, good maps, endless rental options, etc. The list is endless and everything is geared to ensure you have a better Montana Experience.

We do not cut corners to save a couple of dollars at the expense of our guests safety and quality of experience. We are not always the cheapest, but we are the best.

Number 4: Local

At Explore, we realized a long time ago that the difference between a good Montana trip and a great Montana experience is the little bit of insider information that gets you off of the beaten path and into those special places.

Certainly Yellowstone National Park is a phenomenal experience, but it is not the be-all end-all experience out here. There are countless backroads and small towns that are simply not written about in any guide book. These are the places we are able to send you.

Through our passion for the outdoors we have been to these places and we are happy to share those places with you. Granted, we will not tell you our secret fishing spots the first year you come, but we might come year three. Regardless, with our advice you will get the most out of your Montana Experience.

Number 5: Auggie

Our most requested rental item, and our Head of Security: Augustus de Oro y Plata, AKA Auggie. His welcoming presence in the office is a subtle reminder of all those special things about the Montana way of life that you will encounter on your trip.

Auggie is a 5-year old Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon. He is just about always at the office with the owner Will. Sometimes he is on the couch, sometimes in his ‘special place’ underneath the basement stairs, and sometimes patrolling the perimeter of the property. However, when guests arrive he places himself at the front door with a wagging tail.  After a quick demonstration of his preferred Yoga position (Downward Dog), he pleasantly greets our guests and then lays down in the middle of the floor to supervise the proceeding transactions.

He is a very nice boy and an oddly integral part of the Explore Experience.

Number 6: All Inclusive

Part of the the reason the founder of Explore started a rental car agency is because he hated the typical process (and treatment) of renting a car: being told he needed to buy additional (unnecessary) insurance, constant up-selling of overpriced GPS rentals, being charged for mileage, confusing pre-pay fuel, threats of taking away first-born if car was damaged, etc. Consequently, Explore’s price is all inclusive. Not only do we offer better vehicles and better price, but we also include:

  • Unlimited mileage (within reason).
  • Guaranteed 4WD or AWD vehicles.
  • Free private Bozeman airport service or local pick-up.
  • No-charge for additional named drivers on rental policy.
  • No additional charge for drivers under 25-years old (must be over 21).
  • No charge for after-hours service.
  • Good maps: including a Montana DeLorme Atlas and Gazeteer.
  • Convenience: never wait in line, and be on the road by the time everyone else starts waiting in line at the rental counter.
  • The best advice: our team is the best in Bozeman. You will not find people who know Montana Outdoors better than those who work at Explore.
  • Honesty and integrity if something happens: we will not take away your first born if you get in an accident. We will work with you, and your insurance company, to make sure that everything is handled as quickly and fairly as possible.

When most people book a rental car, initial price is the most important factor on who they will book the car with. When you book with Explore, rest assured that you will not only get the best price, but you will get the best product and service.

Explore is not a discount  or cheap car rental agency as we offer superior service AND superior rental cars. However, compared to our competitors our prices are not only fair but generally less.

Number 7: License Plates That Support Conservation

Although it may seem like a small thing, but the way we license our rental cars in Montana is significant. All of Explores’s rental cars feature Montana license plates that benefit conservation groups here in Montana. This means that every year when we pay our license fees, we are donating towards the groups that help protect Montana. Some of the groups we support with these efforts: Montana Raptor Center, Montana Wildlife Refuges, Trout Unlimited, Rocky Montana Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Lee Metcalf Foundation, and more to come.

Most of the rental car agencies in Bozeman license their cars in Idaho, Utah, or Washington. I am sure this saves them money. However, by licensing out of state the fees are not even going to the roads that the cars are traveling on- forget conservation and the future of Montana.

Montana license plates are also geographically numbered, except for conservation plates. Our off-airport competitors either have custom license plates, i.e. TRAC 10 (for Toyota Rent-a-Car 10) or locally titled Bozeman 6C plates. Not a big deal until you go to small town Montana- where big city folks from Bozeman are generally not looked well upon.

Further, there is nothing that infuriates a local Montanan more than pulling up to a fishing access and seeing the parking lot full of out of state plates. We are generally very kind to out-of-staters until they are fishing and hunting our spots. Out-of-state (or Bozeman 6C) plates might as well advertise that there is nice fishing gear and cameras inside of the car to steal. The right license plate in Montana will get you a surprisingly long way with the locals.

By the way, the franchise companies also charge you a separate ‘License Fee’ even though they are registered out of state.

Number 8: Convenience

Not only is Explore Rentals Bozeman airport’s closest off-airport rental car agency, our exclusive agreement with the airport allows us to park right out front of arrivals making it the most convenient and fastest way to rent a car. On your scheduled arrival, a team member is waiting for you by baggage claim with a placard, helps you with your bags to your rental car waiting right out front, drives you back to the office (about 4-minutes to drive out of airport and 2-minutes at 60mph to office), sign the paperwork, help you with maps and anything else you may need, and you are off. On your departure, stop by the office, a team member will jump in the car and drop you right off in front of the departures terminal.

This means you never have to wait in line. You never have to schlep your bags across the airport and through the rental car lot. You do not need to chip ice off of a rental car at 11:00pm at night. And… you certainly do not need to haul your bags from the rental car return lot which is even further away.

Our off-airport rental car competition are located over 10-miles away from the airport. Not only is it 10-miles, but it is through multiple interchanges and traffic lights. The drive to either of these locations will take from 15-minutes to 30-minutes depending on the traffic.

The bottom line is Explore Rentals is BY FAR the most convenient and fastest rental car option available at the Bozeman Airport.

Number 9: Snow Tires

Another Explore Rentals first: guaranteed all wheel drive car, with snow tires.

All of our AWD Subaru Outback rentals and 4WD Mercedes Benz Sprinter rentals have snow tires. No crappy off-brands; Bridgestone Blizzaks or Michelin X-Ice only. We are the first, and only, rental car company in Bozeman that not only guarantees AWD or 4WD cars, but also has true snow tires. This costs us quite a bit more in operating expense, which in turn means we are usually not the cheapest option. However, if you get caught in a blizzard headed to Big Sky, you will be extremely thankful for your decision. There is simply nothing safer for winter driving conditions than a Subaru Outback with premium snow tires. Since we changed our Subaru fleet to all have snow tires in 2016, we have seen a 85% reduction in accidents! Here is an article in Forbes on best cars in snow. Not a surprise the Subaru Outback is number 1. Here is an article in Yahoo Travel about renting cars in Montana.

If you are looking to move a whole bunch of people in the winter, or just want to cruise in style, our Mercedes Benz 12-passenger, 4×4, Sprinter vans are the safest (and best) option available anywhere in the country. We are the only company in the US that rents these awesome machines. All of our Sprinters have Bridgestone Blizzaks in the winter, and 10-ply All Terrain tires in the summer.

Our rental fleet of Chevrolet Suburbans have Michelin Defender LTX M+S (Mud + Snow) tires. These are vastly superior to the OEM tires that our on all of our competitors rental Suburbans.

Number 10: Only One Set of Keys

Our keychains are just one of the many small details that make Explore better. We have custom stamped, latigo leather keychains, with all you need and nothing more. Most rental car company’s keychains have all vehicle keys with a hard plastic key fob, making it extremely difficult to fit in a pocket and ridiculously inconvenient if something goes wrong.

On a typical franchise key chain, which is vinyl coated stainless steel braided wire, with a heavy duty non-removable crimp are the following: 1 x valet key, 2 x key with electric transciever (to unlock doors), 1 x 2.5″ x 1″ x .25″ hard plastic key chain.

We recently called Enterprise Bozeman, asking them ‘hypothetically’ what would happen if we lost the keys. Here is the answer:

  • Step 1. “We do not have spare keys to the rental cars. When we sell the cars, the batteries in the keys all have to be replaced at the same time, this is why we keep the keys together.”
  • Step 2. “Since you didn’t purchase the additional roadside assistance, call a tow truck and get towed to the nearest Enterprise franchise.” (local one’s are closed on weekends by the way).
  • Step 3. “You will need to pay for each key lost. Each key is $215.”
  • Step 4. The keys are then ordered directly from Subaru because they are programmed from the factory, not from the local dealership. Minimum turn-around on a replacement key is 3-days. During this whole time you will have to pay for your rental car, even though you can’t lose it.

Total cost if you lose this key chain (that no human can fit in their pocket)? Conservatively $845.

What happens if you lose you Subaru Outback key from Explore Rentals? Cost of replacement, and pay for our gas and time to come and bring an extra key. What do our key chains look like? Hand tooled and embossed custom vegetable tanned leather with brass fitting of course!