4 Ways to Get Great Deals on Car Rentals
Too many people fight to find the best possible airline deal, then lose their savings by overspending on their rental car. Make sure you don't lose out on your savings by accepting optional fees and insurance you don't need. With just a little research, you can save money on your rental cars.
Use Travel Aggregator Sites
Begin your search for a car rental deal by checking out travel aggregators, such as Kayak.com, CarRental.com or TripAdvisor.com. These sites provide you with rates from multiple car rental companies, including smaller ones that you might not normally consider. Even if you don't rent through any of these sites, they're a great first stop for gathering information and learning what the going rates are for your travel dates and locations.
Look for Group Discounts
If you belong to the American Automobile Association, you can probably get a discount on any car rental by including your membership number with your reservation. Membership shopping destinations such as Costco also often offer significant car rental deals, and members of the AARP may also be able to score deals with some rental agencies. In addition, check out coupon sites that may provide you with promotional codes available for a short time. Popular sites include RetailMeNot.com, KeyCode.com and DealLocker.com. In addition, check out your frequent flyer and hotel programs to see if they offer any discounts. If you work for a major company, your human resources or travel department may be able to arrange for a fleet rate for your rental.
Downsize Your Car Choice
Choose the smallest car you can possibly use. Make sure you check the amount of luggage a car can hold in addition to its passenger capacity. Once you've locked in a small car rental rate, you may be able to swing a free upgrade at the rental counter.
Rent From Smaller Companies
Many smaller car rental agencies offer competitive rates to try to compete with the major players, such as Hertz and Avis. Check out the company's reviews online. Don't turn down a company's deal just because you've never heard of the firm. If you're willing to rent from any company and you're able to pay the entire cost up front, reserve through Hotwire.com, which provides very deep discounts but doesn't tell you in advance which company you're using. You can strike a similar deal by bidding for a rental car on Priceline.com; check out sites like BetterBidding.com to get a sense of how much you should bid in a specific circumstance.
Car rental deals aren't always easy to come by, especially during the summer or over the holiday seasons. However, if you do a little homework, you can usually find a good deal.