Here are some car rental tips to help you save money and have a better experience: Many car rental companies offer discounts for AAA membership, military service, or loyalty programs. Be sure to ask about any available discounts when making your reservation.
- Compare Car Rental prices
- Find coupons and save big
- Car Rental loyalty rewards program: Free Upgrade
- Ask for Car Rental Discounts
- Pay with a rental-friendly credit card
- Book as early as possible
- Avoid Airport Car Rentals
- Always fill the Tank yourself: Car Rental Tips
- Avoid Peak Season Rentals (Summer Vacation & Christmas Holidays)
- Reserve the smallest car possible (Avoid SUV’s & Luxury Cars)
- Bringing your own “extras” can save you money (Car Seat & GPS)
- Drivers under the age of 25 will always pay a surcharge (Teen Drivers)
- Avoid Car Rental Company Insurance (If you have your Insurance)
- Return the vehicle on Time (Delayed Return Charges)
- Rent a car from car owners
Car rental rates are the easiest way to reduce expenses on your next vacation or move. Car rental discounts vary according to season, and rental agencies often provide discounts to new and loyal customers. Numerous online sites offer car rental discounts and savers or use the latest coupons or promotional codes the car rental company offers.
Everyone has the same question. Am I getting ripped off? Are there money and time-saving hacks besides gassing up before returning your car? What are the cheapest ways to rent a car? where can I find genuine car rental discounts & coupons?
Luckily, there are a ton of hacks to help you save money on car rental and get the cheapest rate.
When booking your next car rental, keep these money-saving tips in mind to get the best price for a car rental.
Compare Car Rental prices
Don’t just settle for the first car rental company you come across. Shop around and compare prices from different companies to find the best deal. You can use online comparison websites or check with individual car rental companies to see what they offer.
Browse through the different sites offering discounts on car rentals online. Websites like Kayak, Priceline, and Costco Travel are well-known sites. Browse the car rental company sites and search for promotional coupons. Combine these and get price deductions; if you’re lucky enough, you might get up to a 50% discount.
Find coupons and save big
Most Rent Car companies offer online coupons for up to 50% off car rentals. Whether you need a one-way car rental, SUV, luxury car rental, 12-passenger van, or 8-passenger van, or car hire in Europe, cheap car rental, a promo code or promotion can get you big savings.
Car Rental loyalty rewards program: Free Upgrade
Signup for frequent car rental programs to get a membership which will entitle you to perks like free upgrades. The company will note your preferences, guarantee vehicle availability with two hours’ notice, and provide reward points. Redeem the points to get free upgrades and secure elite status which is transferable from one program to another. Hertz and Avis are examples of companies offering such programs.
Ask for Car Rental Discounts
While booking a rental, specifically ask for auto rental discounts. These discounts come and go even before you realize it. Many associations get price discounts from car rental companies, whether Military, AAA, senior, corporate, or otherwise.
Mentioning the frequent flyer membership can help you gain extra miles; on some occasions, this could add up to a free day ride.
Pay with a rental-friendly credit card
If you’re making your reservation with a credit card, use a card with maximum potential. Choose those cards with insurance coverage and redeemable points that are beneficial in the end. Understand what insurance comes with your card because every card offers different types of auto rental insurance.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express are examples of credit cards offering points, miles, cash-back, and valuable free car rental insurance in case of any minor or significant damage.
Premium credit cards are ideal for frequent travelers who want the maximum travel benefits a credit card can offer.
Book as early as possible
Booking your rental car in advance can often save you money. This is especially true if you plan to rent a car during peak travel times, such as holidays or the summer vacation season.
The earlier you book, the more likely you’ll save. Some car rental agencies give early-bird specials and promotions to fill their calendar. They might increase their price as the rental date closes in. The longer your wait, the more likely the rental company will be out of smaller vehicles, and you will be forced to upgrade to a larger, expensive option.
Avoid Airport Car Rentals
Avoid renting from the airport as it’s always costly!
Try to move away from the convenience of airport rentals; because the airport charge reimbursement from the rental agencies for doing business at the airport, these agencies, in turn, try to cover their expenses by levying taxes or extra fees from the renters.
Of course, renting your car at an off-airport location takes more time than picking it up directly at the airport, so you’ll have to weigh the cost of the added fee vs. the benefit of time saved. Remember that this strategy will certainly pay off on a longer rental.
Taxes and various fees can also quickly increase the advertised rental rate, so consider all charges when you compare shops.
Always fill the Tank yourself: Car Rental Tips
If possible … request a vehicle with a full tank, then make sure you return it that way. Car rental agencies charge exorbitant refueling charges when you bring the car with an empty tank. Always fill the tank from a nearby gas filling station before dropping off the vehicle.
Avoid Peak Season Rentals (Summer Vacation & Christmas Holidays)
Tourism flourishes during holidays; hence the demand for rented vehicles increases exponentially during this period. The car you desire may not be available when you desire; instead, you’ll have to make do with a costlier upgraded one. Booking 4 to 5 months in advance to the date of travel enables you to reserve the car of your choice, along with adjustments in the number of seats and the available space.
Reserve the smallest car possible (Avoid SUV’s & Luxury Cars)
When booking a car, try to book the smallest car possible (economy car & compact cars). If you reserve a compact, but the rental car company has none on hand when you show up to take possession, they are obligated to give you a free upgrade. Sometimes you end up moving two categories for no additional charge. Convertibles, prestige models, hybrid/electric vehicles, or SUVs, and passenger vans are expensive.
Bringing your own “extras” can save you money (Car Seat & GPS)
If you are traveling with small children, a car seat is mandatory by law in most countries. Therefore, bringing our car seats for long-distance road journeys is best. GPS costs $10 to $20 per day; Satellite radio may cost an additional $10 to $20 per day.
Drivers under the age of 25 will always pay a surcharge (Teen Drivers)
If you are a Teen Driver under 25, you will be charged an additional fee of up to $30 per day.
Most rental companies don’t rent to drivers under 18-21, but those that do charge an even steeper fee of up to $75 per day. Always check before you rent, as surcharges vary by state, country, and location.
Avoid Car Rental Company Insurance (If you have your Insurance)
Check with your credit card company or personal auto insurance agent before purchasing the added insurance offered by the car rental agency. Many personal auto insurance policies cover car rentals as well.
The clerical staff at the car rental offices are adept at persuading customers to buy expensive Collision Damage or Loss Damage Waivers (CDW or LDW) by narrating damage, accidents, or theft incidents. Although these narrations have an element of truth, you could avoid paying high insurance fees if your personal auto insurance or credit card company offers them free.
Frequent Traveler Program Fee
If you use your rental car miles for credit on a frequent traveler program, such as a frequent flier account, expect to pay a daily fee for the privilege. For example, National charges up to $1.50 daily to add miles to your frequent traveler account.
Save time and money with Autoslash
If you are going for refundable rates, then Autoslash is a better option. You will get email alerts if the price drops; in most cases, it is the quickest way to save money.
Return the vehicle on Time (Delayed Return Charges)
You will be charged if you return the vehicle before the scheduled day and time. It will be worthwhile to reserve the car for a little longer than you think you need it. Surprisingly, keeping the vehicle for a day longer may reduce the overall pricing. Return the vehicle exactly the way it was handed over to you.
Always ask the rental car company for clarity and check the terms and conditions of your rental agreement before you decide to sign-up. Keep a printed copy of the reservation with you at the time of payment of bills.
Rent a car from car owners
Various peer-to-peer car rental companies have emerged, different from traditional ones. Sites like Turo and Getaround allow car owners to list their vehicles for rent, similar to what Airbnb does for houses. The car owners drive the car to your place for an extra fee. You must return the car in the same condition it was handed over to you.
Car renting fees can be tricky, so paying attention to the details is essential. Rules vary, not just between companies, but also depending on your state. Don’t accept the fees at face value; hidden fees may lurk between the lines!
Car rental companies offer extra products like insurance, GPS, entertainment systems, navigation systems, portable WiFi, and child safety seats. Nowadays, mobile phones are equipped with the latest technologies like GPS; you do not have to avail of these facilities and thus avoid extra payments.
Follow the above car rental tips, take certain precautions, and enjoy your trip!
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