Coming to Yellowstone- Rent, don’t Buy your Bear Spray!
Hey everybody- it seems the aviation world is a-buzz about the TSA making a formal announcement about Bear Spray being prohibited on all aircraft as revealed in the post from them yesterday.
But guess what, that isn’t a big deal, you are much better off renting bear spray anyway. Here is the deal, you can go to REI or Sportsman’s Warehouse and by a can of bear spray (which is non-returnable FYI) for $45. You can then throw it out at the end, or try to give it to someone in the airport.
Or, you can rent it for $25 for a week, get a professional tutorial on how to use it and how to act in grizzly country (which is IMPERATIVE if you do not want to get eaten), and you can save an extremely dangerous item from going to the landfill.
Conclusion: renting makes sense. It is less expensive. You get the value added education. It is much better for the environment.
Are you planning a visit to the iconic Yellowstone National Park? Bear spray is prohibited from being packed in your carry-on and checked luggage, so plan to buy or rent it from a local store or inside the park.
For more information on permitted and prohibited items, check out the “What Can I Bring?” feature on www.tsa.gov. And follow Follow Yellowstone for more tips about visiting the park.
In recent light of the international coverage of the black bear and cubs on the bridge in Yellowstone National Park, here is a video on how to correctly use bear spray.
The National Park Service highly recommends visitors to Yellowstone carry bear spray. It can be purchased from almost any sporting goods and most grocery stores in Southwest Montana for around $50/ canister. However, it is ILLEGAL to fly with bear spray, both in checked luggage or carry-on.
Another option is to rent bear spray.
There are a couple of reputable businesses that rent bear spray in Bozeman. Phasmid Adventure Rentals, located next to the Bozeman Airport is the first company in the US to rent bear spray and they have an excellent reputation.
The Bozeman Airport is making a tremendous effort to have departing travelers arrive at least two hours prior to their scheduled departure time. There is construction on airport and on the way to the airport, and well, it is just plain busy! The airport has television commercials and newspaper ads stating so. Here is the official press release:
Summer Update – June 19, 2014
Travelers departing out of Bozeman can expect road construction delays between the West Yellowstone/Big Sky and the airport as well as road construction and possible detours in the airport vicinity. Please check www.mdt.mt.gov for road construction updates. Travelers can also expect heavy passenger traffic throughout the day and are advised to be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure. The terminal doors open at 3:30 a.m. daily.
Published on May 11th, 2014 | by Montana Mint Staff. Original article HERE
5 Small Town Montana Summer Events You Won’t Want To Miss
Reed Point Boat Float: Yellowstone River (Livingston, Big Timber, Reed Point, Columbus MT) July 10-13
The annual boat float is a three-day float with two overnight stops where hundreds of great people hop on their tubes, rafts, and anything else that floats and let the river take their worries away for a few days. With beach parties, partying like Lewis and Clark, and a killer street dance in Reed Point this event is a sunny, sandy, sometimes sun burnt path to the best days of your summer.
Pony Duck Races: Pony, MT May 24th
While attendance to this event and most of the others on this list is growing every year, it is still very much an event for the locals. Whether your first time or not, the people you will find in this one horse town are sure to leave you with a cornucopia of memories. For roughly ten bucks you can buy a beer, a plate full of amazing home cooked barbecue, and a little rubber duck with a number on it. Put your duck in the creek and if you are lucky enough to have your duck beat the rest to the finish line, you will be handsomely rewarded. After the races the beer flows all night long, centered around the legendary Pony Bar with live music.
Miles City Bucking Horse Sale: Miles City,MT May 15-18
The 64th annual Bucking Horse Sale will be taking place this summer in Miles City, and while horses may not be your thing, if you like good people, music, and atmosphere don’t miss this event. You may be up to your knees in mud and beer by the end of the night but it is all in the experience of this full-blown party. During the day you can find yourself watching about every cowboy event under the sun, including some of the most outrageous such as the wild horse race and sheep shaving.
Darby Logger Days: Darby,MT July 18-19
Located right in the heart of the Bitteroot Valley just follow that smell of fresh-cut timber and you will find yourself in one of the more impressive events of the summer. The Ma and Pa race is something you will not want to miss(Google it) as well as the self-explanatory boxing over water competitions. Like all great events live music plays all night long and other than a little sawdust in your beer this event is the cat’s meow.
Augusta Rodeo: Augusta,MT June 29th
Bulls and blood, dust and mud, this is the rodeo to go to this summer. If given the chance to go to any rodeo in Montana this summer I wouldn’t pass it up anymore than I would a free chalupa on Cinco de Mayo. If you are going to pick one though, Augusta is the one to choose, what has been named as the Tourist Event of the Year, this event truly lets you immerses you in the experiences of small town Montana.
What is the best car rental agency in Bozeman, reviews
We decided to do a little research on publicly posted reviews of the car rental agencies in Bozeman. Most of what we can find is via Yelp.com and Google Places/ Local. Below you will find copied text directly from Yelp and Google (and wherever else available) as well as screen shots and links. Please note these were all captured 2/13/13, and of course subject to change. Use as you see fit. We will soon do another post comparing the pricing of all rental car agencies in Bozeman.
If one is to judge reviews posted on the internet, here are the results. 1) Phasmid Rentals. TOTAL: 63-points
Budget Rent-A-Car”I get annoyed when you get to the counter of a rental car place only to find out that they don’t have the type of car you reserved and payed for. I had paid for a full size car only to be greeted with a Chevy Cruz. Being on vacation and trying to go with the flow- I gave it a shot- even though I was pretty sure it was a compact car. It was, so I went back in to the counter. Matt at the desk was helpful, but still tried to tell me that was all that was available, and luckily a Chevy Impala had just gotten cleaned– a full size car was now mine for the week (thanks to Matt) just like I had reserved. I would not call the car clean, but after I wiped down the inside we were good to go.” Yelp reviews Budget, Bozeman
Here is the lone posted Google review of Budget Rent A Car Bozeman:
“We had a confirmation for a Grand Cherokee 4WD or similar. We got a Hyundai Santa Fe which is a boring car in all repects (and sold new at a lower price than the Grand Cherokee). Budget argued that both cars were in the same category and that they had no alternative to offer. We were extremely disappointed, especially after having rented a Grand Cherokee from Budget in Toronto the day before. We’ll think twice before renting from Budget again.”
Hertz is by far the biggest rental car agency at the Bozeman Airport. At one stage (not sure if it is true anymore), Bozeman was Hertz’s most profitable franchise in the entire Northwest. Anyway, here are the Yelp reviews of Hertz Bozeman:
There are some very shocking reviews/ statements of the Bozeman Airport Hertz franchise. Overall of 7-reviews gained a 2-star average. Here is an excerpt from one: “I will never rent from this Hertz location again. My friends and I rented a car from here. We had a 7:00am flight out of the airport, and so we arrived at the airport at ~5:45am and left the car in the designated off hours rental car drop off area. The desk wasn’t open (which it should have been at that time as the security line was already ~30 minutes long for a very normal time for a morning flight – 7am…). When we arrived home, we received a call saying that we left the car with thousands of dollars of damage, which is absolutely false. Another car in the parking lot must have hit us or something.
The parking lot either has no security cameras (which can’t be the case…it’s an airport where security is critical!), or Hertz is just too lazy to pull the tapes, so we are helpless to make a case. Completely ridiculous. Very poor management. No way I ever rent from these guys again.”
There are numerous reviews listed on Yelp of Hertz BZN charging for damage that the renters did not do to the vehicle as well as being overcharged at the rental counter.
There is one review posted via Google: A Google User reviewed 11 months ago
Very good customer service! Rented cars here two separate times during a vacation. Both reservations were for compact cars. I received a Subaru the first time, and the second, a brand new Camaro and didn’t have to pay a penny more! Fun and unexpected way to spend my last two days in Bozeman. Only downside is the limited mileage policy. Very nice service representatives.”
This company shows no loyalties towards its long time returning customers. Everytime I rent from them they come up with some bogus charge days after I return the car. I would advise anybody looking to rent a car to go elsewhere.
Was just notified 2 days after I returned my rental car that I am being charged for a rock chip in the window…this will be the last time I or or company ever rent with National/Alamo
I’ve heard from multiple sources that these guys will look to nickel and dime you every way they can. I would advise you to take your business elsewhere!!
Quality Poor to fair
Shady business practices. Charged me for something several days after I returned my car. “We noticed it a few days later.” Thank you for being the worst place to rent from!”
Thrifty at the Bozeman Airport was certainly once thought to be a very strong franchise. We found 2-reviews on Yelp for Thrifty Car Rentals Bozeman. One of these in particular, is pretty rough:
“Don’t do it. I like the poeple who run the joint but Thrifty Rent A Car are unethical and ruthless.
I rented a car and got a flat tire driving on the highway. No off road, no dougnuts in the driveway. When I returned the car the staff said no problem and had me fill out an incident report.
I’ve since received a bill for a new tire and “administrative fees”!
What!!!!!!!!! Your tire blows out and I have to pay for it? Why am I responsible for normal wear and tear on your vehicle? Even if I do have to pay for the tire what about the 20,000 miles it had on it? Why do I have the privilege of buying a new tire and paying you an admin fee on top of that?
Would my family have to pay for my funeral AND the tire if I went off the road from the blowout? Can they charge you an admin fee from the funeral home?
I’ve since checked to see if I’m responsible for this on the web and, to be fair, the results are mixed. However the overwhelming number of complaints on http://www.consumeraffai… from rental companies are about Thrifty.
Local owner dude you are probably O.K. but find another company franchise because Thrifty are scumbags.”
Google Reviews, Thrifty BZN:
“Overall Poor to fair
I have never taken the time to right a review before, but given the negative experience I felt compelled. I travel to Bozeman often on business and have found it convenient to pick up a rental at the airport. I have used Thrifty because my company has a great rate with them. I called today to extend my rental two days and was told “no way…I need that car back at 4pm”. When I asked why the manager could not extend she said “…its Labor Day weekend we are over booked and that rate is way too low”. I’m not objecting to Thrifty making money – but don’t treat a customer poorly b/c you didn’t manage your reservations properly. How about suggesting other rental car companies that might have availability? Her rude behavior has insured that I won’t ever use Thrifty again (in Bozeman and elsewhere) and I spend 70-80% of my time on the road.”
Avis is the second largest franchise at the Bozeman Airport next to Hertz, even though still roughly half the size. Overall one star from Yelp and Poor to Fair from Google. They only have one review listed on Yelp for Avis Bozeman, Airport. Granted, not a good review: “Avoid at all costs. The most uncooperative staff I have ever dealt with.” However, being that they are the second biggest at BZN and only have 1-review is maybe a good sign? Looking at the lone posted Google Review, one may think differently.
“AVIS Rental Car in Bozeman Montana Airport, is seriously the worst rental experience in my life. I had a reservation that was made through my insurance company for a Premium Car, when I arrived to get the car I got a Mid Size car, which I would classify as a compact car. A Chevy Cruze. When I called two days before the reservation to find out what type of car I was getting I was told a Lincoln Town Car or Cadillac. This was a far cry from one of those. I have 3 children I need to haul around town, plus two huge band instruments including a Tuba. Monday was fun taking the kids to school. I went to return the car two days early stating that I had to rent something else because it was not big enough I didn’t get a I am sorry or hello or anything. I got a lady in the office making faces at me and the young guy at the counter not saying a word. Just typing something into the computer and then giving me my paper work. I then went next door to the Enterprise counter and rented a bigger vehicle. From the very beginning I never got a hello how are you, how is your day, I got nothing. To be treated rudely and then to be placed in an unwanted car was just unexceptable.”
Phasmid Rentals is an off-airport rental car agency located about a mile east of the Bozeman Airport. They are an independent rental car agency in business since 2010. Phasmid rents Chevrolet Suburbans and Subaru Outbacks only. Both new vehicles and used vehicles. Phasmid Rentals is the only Yelp listed review for Bozeman that is positive. Two Yelp reviews are listed, both 5-stars. Additionally, we noticed on their Yelp review page that they had numerous ‘filtered reviews‘. Upon entering the Captcha code we found 11 additional reviews for Phasmid Rentals. 10 were 5-star reviews, 1 was a 4-star review.
Here is one Yelp review:” This is an excellent company. They will not only rent you a clean, new, vehicle (I had an Outback which was like new) but also any gear you need. Fishing rods, coolers, tents, bear spray and prob anything else you need.
Nice personal touch as you will be picked up at baggage claim and don’t have to deal with an anonymous corporation. The owner, Will, is also an excellent source of info for your trip/vacation.
All at competitive prices. I will use again.”
Looking at Google reviews, there seems to be the same positive thoughts for this rental car company.
“I really want to help see this business grow, because Bozeman Rental Cars/ Phasmid is hands down the best rental car agency I have ever used. I rent from them pretty regularly for business and am always pleased with the Subaru Outback they give me, the fact they know my name and have a super easy contract, there is no waiting in line, no going through the airport hassle, etc. This is the way renting a car should be!”
“Way better than any franchise experience, and a great locally owned company.”
Ressler Rentals is a Toyota Rent-a-Car franchise based about 12-miles south of the Bozeman Airport. They offer all new models of Toyota vehicles to rent, with airport delivery service. Although they do not have any Yelp reviews, they do have numerous positive reviews on Google, both with an Excellent overall rating:
“Ressler is such a great place to rent cars in Bozeman! I rent regularly for business and the service is always excellent! The cars are also in great shape and price is a good value, especially compared to the options at the airport!”
“Tanya was great made sure my rental was ready to go for my vacation and that i could easily drop it off when i was heading out of time…”
Journey Rent-a-Car is the newest off-airport rental car agency in Bozeman. They are located roughly 10-miles south of Bozeman Airport at the Carriage House car wash. Journey rents used vans, cars (example Chevy Malibu), and Suburbans. They offer airport shuttle service. Although no Yelp reviews have been made (no Yelp listing was even found for their business), they have very positive Google reviews as well.
“Excellent experience. The best value for a large SUV and the reservation process was seamless. They were at the airport when we arrived and brought us back at our convenience. They had the paperwork ready when we got to their so I just signed and was on my way. GREAT JOB!! Will defeinitely use them again on our next visit.”
“Journey Rentacar was great. Incredibly accommodating to my schedule for both the pick up and the drop off. Very helpful in adding a ski pod to the top of the car at the last second. Very well priced. Would definitely recommend to anyone i know needing a car in the area. Thank you again”
“Journey Rentacar was outstanding to work with! Josh was super helpful to our hunting crew and we got the best rates around on a Ford 12 person Van. Thanks Journey!”
Journey, 30 Homestake Dr. Bozeman, Mt 59718(406) 551-2277
Enterprise has a location at the Bozeman Airport and also an off-airport location downtown. Recently, Expedia and other search engines are positing ‘Shuttle to location’ via rental car searches for BZN. Their off-airport location is just west of downtown Bozeman on Main Street, about 14-miles from BZN. Enterprise does not have any Yelp reviews. However, seemingly like the other franchise rental car agencies in Bozeman, has negative Google reviews, although they do also have one positive review. Enterprise Airport does not have Yelp or Google reviews.
“Watch out for this company!!! We live in Bozeman, Mt. After renting a vehicle recently at the Main Street location, we were told that we couldn’t have “unlimited miles” and would only be allowed 200 miles a day with 25 cents for each mile over, because of a new law in montana, we were also told that none of the companies in Montana were offering unlimited mileage. We trusted the agent but after checking with the other car rental companies in the area we found out that the Enterprise agent was lying to us. All of the other car rental companies offered free unlimited miles and told us there is no such law. We will never rent from Enterpise again. Please be careful if you decide to do business with these people.”
“I needed a rental for several days while my California car was being repaired here in Bozeman after it broke down while touring Yellowstone. After having the car towed to Bozeman, I rented a Bozeman Enterprise car on Sat., available only for two days. It had to be returned 8 AM on Mon, which I did. I was promised at the time, (and on the very first day by female Rep.) a second car would be available for me today, Tues. I called this morning (Tues) for a pickup at my near-by hotel but was told by the male Rep there was no record of my reservation and that no car would be available for me until Wed afternoon at best. Not only did they screw this up, but to add insult to injury, the Rep didn’t even offer an apology for the inconvenience. I even had to press him to put my name down for the very next available car if one was returned today. In contrast, everyone else I’ve had to deal with since my car’s breakdown in Yellowstone has been friendly, helpful, efficient and considerate of my circumstances.”
“I rent A LOT of rental cars,(travel for my job)Therefor I have used just about every company out there. Enterprise is The BEST by far. They have great service and honest people who will take the time to look for what is best for THEIR customers. I ALWAYS refer my friends and family to rent from the Main street office in Bozeman MT. So, if your coming for a visit our beautiful state, or just need a car for a day..Enterprise Rental car’s are the one to call. A Loyal Customer A.N. Flores P.S the airport Location Also has great service too.”
Enterprise Airport 850 Gallatin Field Rd #7 Bozeman, MT 406-388-7420
1238 W MAIN ST
BOZEMAN, MT 59715-3254
Tel.: (406) 586-8010
There are no Yelp reviews for Alamo’s Bozeman Airport location. Their are two Google reviews posted for Alamo, both with a Poor to Fair rating. “Was just notified 2 days after I returned my rental car that I am being charged for a rock chip in the window…this will be the last time I or or company ever rent with National/Alamo”
“Quality Poor to fair”
Alamo 5 Gallatin Field Rd Belgrade, MT 59714 406-388-4457
We are pretty they exist as they have paid their concession fees to the Bozeman Airport, however, we cannot find any reviews on Yelp or Google for the Bozeman Airport Location. They are the smallest on-airport rental car agency at BZN, posting only a 2.2% market share. Perhaps with the reviews of other on-airport rental car agencies, no news is good news.
Dollar Car Rental
850 Gallatin Field Road,
We have just heard of a person taking an introductory flight class with Summit Aviation at BZN. $69 for a half-hour, hands on flight course. Just to get up in the plane and see the mountains from a different level is totally worth it. Sign us up, this sounds AWESOME.
Information and resources for visitors to BZN, Bozeman, Big Sky, and Yellowstone