By Nikki Ekstein
March 14, 2013

Certain things can only work on the West Coast—take, for instance, FlightCar, a new San Francisco-based startup that lets you loan out your car while it's parked at the airport. The concept is a win-win in theory: travelers get their expensive parking tab subsidized by approved renters, who get a better deal (and maybe even a nicer car) in return.

The program has recently piloted at SFO, with expansion plans in the works. And so far, the selection of cars is promising, ranging from a 2005 BMW 3 Series to a 2008 Honda Accord on a trial search (both would cost $46 a day to rent—compared to $150 for similar models at Hertz or Enterprise).

For renters, it's a great deal—but as an owner, do you trust a stranger to take care of your car? FlightCar says you should, particularly since they require renters to pass a background check that scans their driving history. $1,000,000 of comprehensive insurance for each rental may also ease your mind. And the perks seem to speak for themselves: you're guaranteed free parking for your full trip, free storage for anything in your car, plus up to $10 a day in gas credits. (As for the service itself: it's also free.) The crowning touch: your car will meet you at the curb whenever your flight lands—gassed up, washed, and with all your belongings just as you left them. But would it work in a city like New York, where the crazies on the road are as much a concern as the drivers themselves? Only time will tell.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.