The plan was nearly perfect.

I’d fly from Florida up to JFK and spend Friday night at my nephew’s graduation party on Long Island. Saturday morning, I’d drive up to Boston to spend the rest of the weekend visiting friends, and would then fly back home out of Logan airport Sunday night.

All I needed now was what’s called a “one-way” car rental. Pick-up in one city, drop-off in another.

Problem is, they’re often VERY expensive. But I’d hit the jackpot. I found a Hertz deal online for about $130 for the weekend. Nice! I jumped on it.

Just one problem…

Sunday night, I’m running late as I hurriedly pull into the Hertz return lot at BOS. The return processor scans the car and prints out the receipt. I grab it and head for the shuttle. But just then… my heart skips a beat. Maybe a few.

$317.43! Gadzooks!

“What the…? There must be a mistake,” I thought to myself. But when I looked at the line items on the receipt, there it was… MY mistake.

Mileage Fee: 387 miles @ $0.45 per mile; Extra Miles Fee: $174.15.

I’d made the error of assuming that my rental came, as 99 percent of car rentals do nowadays, with unlimited mileage. But, sure enough, when I pulled out the contract, the mileage fee was there in bold and in plain daylight. Ahhh. So that’s why the base rate had been so low.

I was annoyed that my trip was costing about $200 more than I’d thought. I didn’t let it ruin my day though, because I realized that might have been the best deal I could have gotten anyway.

Meanwhile, I had relearned a valuable lesson: Whenever you get that “Brother, ain’t I smart!” feeling… watch out.

Charlie Byrne

Charlie Byrne is a former Senior Copywriter and Editorial Director for Early to Rise. Charlie spent the earlier part of his business career as a systems analyst, project manager and consultant in New York City for Fortune 100 companies including Philip Morris, Digital Equipment, and Citicorp as well as New York University and Columbia University. He then spent over ten years at Reuters Ltd and Interealty Corp designing and implementing financial, real estate and news information services. In 2003, he joined Early to Rise as a senior editor and copywriter. Since then he has helped publish over 1000 editions of ETR, resulting in gross revenues of well over $25 million. He has also produced dozens of winning sales letters and promotions, including two that brought in over $200,000 in under 24 hours, another two that have grossed over $1 million each, and a single sales letter that sold 25 units of a $10,000 product.