The Sunpass website has a handy guide to the SunPass policies of the various rental agencies. Dollar and Thrifty have an opt in or opt out system, either you pay the daily fee with tolls included or you don't pay the fee in which case you get hit with a hefty charge should you accidentally drive in a Sun Pass lane. Avis and Budget charge a daily fee plus tolls regardless of whether you use the Sun Pass or not. Hertz, Advantage, National, Alamo and Enterprise charge a flat fee plus tolls only if the Sun Pass is used. I like the 3rd option the best, no charge if you don't use it, a minimal fee plus tolls if you do.
The SunPass lanes are a cashless tolling system using transponders to deduct the tolls and cameras to catch the scofflaws. On our travels between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, we paid a few tolls in cash and then avoided the SunPass lanes which on 95 are marked well, I assume during rush hour it's a time saver but we didn't see any significant traffic while there. We didn't venture onto the turnpike at all.
I thought it would be more expensive to rent a car in Miami and drop in Ft. Lauderdale but for our trip the reverse was true, it was about double to rent in Ft. Lauderdale and return to Ft. Lauderdale. Originally I reserved with Dollar but I didn't like their policy on the Sun Pass so I took a chance with Hotwire hoping to get Alamo and I did. I ended up getting the rental for $20 cheaper for the 2 days and the Sun Pass fees only activate if you use the Sun Pass lanes unlike Dollar where you have to opt in or opt out, not being familar with the roads I had no idea which to pick.
If you return the car to the airport per dukes, Alamo and National had a bus shuttle that goes to port Everglades and drops you at your ship. We were the last ones to be dropped off so if you are impatient it might be better to pay for a cab
In preparing for our trip to Ft. Lauderdale we did a lot of research regarding transportation. We selected ARIES TANSPORATION. The service far exceeded our expectations. From making reservations to the final drop off at the airport everyone associated with the company was extremely courteous. The main thing that impressed us was their promptness. If we made arrangement to be picked up at a specific time, they were there on time. When they were going to pick us up they called us to tell us that they would be there within ten minutes; and they were. We highly reccomend Aries Transportation.
The closest car rental to Port Everglades is the Budget Rent a Car location at
1515 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 33316. Their phone number is 954-761-7231. The next closest is Hertz at Bahia Mar, call them at 954-828-1887.
We wanted the freedom to explore the twon at our own schedule so we decided to rent a car. It was a cheap and easy way to get around. The rental was only $18 + tax, which brought the total to $28. I thought it was a bargain and gave us freedom to explore Fort Lauderdale, Miami and other Florida sights.
Okay straight story: You need to rent a car. This is Florida and there is no decent mass transit period. Unless you are going directly to your hotel on the beach and not planning on going too far from it, you need to rent a car. Luckily the airport folks know this and have set up a one-stop shopping location within the airport where you can get your reserved vehicle no matter the company.
When you come to Florida, rule #1 is you want to have your own wheels...our public transportation is nothing to write home about and taxis get expensive very quickly! So...rent your choice of automobile from the car rental companies right by Fort Lauderdale Airport. They all provide courtesy buses from and to the airport for your convenience. My advice is to remember you came here for the sunshine, rent a cherry red Mustang convertible, and cruise A1A in FL style! One thing...remember to compare prices for rental cars online before you travel...it is amazing how prices vary for the same class car between rental companies!
Your best method for getting around Fort Lauderdale is to rent a car. This is usually too expensive for the average backpacker, but it does save a lot of time and you can sleep in the car to avoid hotel costs. Their is a limited public bus system but it is very slow and unreliable, you will wast a lot of time waiting for a bus to arrive and making transfers.