5 Tips for Getting a Good Deal on Car Rentals
Doing your research before you rent a car can result in huge savings to pour back into your travel plans. Explore all your options, including picking up your car away from the airport if possible, and be proactive about asking for all the discounts and deals your car rental company can provide to get the best rate available.
Start Your Search Online
Check out independent travel sites such as Travelocity or Expedia to see if they are offering any special deals that can help you save money on your car rentals. Travel aggregator sites such as TripAdvisor can show you potential deals from multiple sites all at once, and Kayak shows you where various car rental agencies are located. Be willing to shift to any car rental company rather than sticking with your favorite to take advantage of short-term bargains. Also, be aware that not all travel sites list all the rental companies available, so expand your research to include several online sites.
Book Early and Rebook if Needed
The earlier you book your rental car reservation, the more likely you are to receive a better deal. The big exception here involves renting a car during the holiday season. During this time, car rental companies often raise prices, knowing their customers have few other choices. Sometimes, last minute bookings during the holidays can reap big savings, though you run the risk of having no car to book.
Avoid Hidden Charges
Car rental companies have a long history of tacking on extra fees that make your incredible daily rate suddenly seem not so amazing. Before you rent, check for license fees, arena fees and other random charges that do not seem to have anything to do with the actual car rental.
Look for Discounts
AAA and AARP members regularly reap discounts on car rentals, as do government workers who get a special rate. Your frequent flyer or hotel club memberships may give you discounted rates with specific car rental agencies too. Check all your options before you book your rental, and do not forget to ask about these discounts if you do not see them advertised.
Say no to Insurance
Car rental companies make a fortune by selling add-on, short-term insurance policies that most consumers do not need. Before you rent, confirm with your auto insurance company what it covers when you rent a car. In most cases, you are already fully covered and do not need the extra insurance. In addition, many credit cards provide collision insurance when you use them to rent a car.
When you are traveling, you may spend a lot of time researching, narrowing down and choosing your flight and hotel options to save a little money. Applying the same focus to your rental car choices can also put some money back in your wallet. The following are some tips for finding the best deals on car rentals when you travel.