Are you planning a trip this summer? If so, will you be taking your own car or will you be looking to rent one? Renting a vehicle has its advantages even if you own a car. Rental cars are typically well-optioned, clean, newer and regularly serviced — once you bring it back you can forget about it, unlike your own car that will show additional wear and tear for it. Saving money on rental cars is possible if you keep in mind the following tips.
1. Rent for a week or longer. If your trip has you on the road for a week or more, your long term rental can save you money. However, if you are on extended weekend trip you will pay just as much if not more than the weekly rental. So, rent for a week and then turn in your car a few days early.
2. Avoid the airport. Rent a vehicle at an airport and you may pay up to 25 percent more than a vehicle rented off-site. Airport rental outlets must cover their overhead, but that does not mean you need to support it. If you are flying in to begin your vacation, take a shuttle bus to the off-site car rental location to pick up your car.
3. Search for discounts. The car rental business offers much variation in price. Consumers who take the time to search for a deal can usually find one. You can also get a discount if you are an AARP or AAA member. Use a travel site such as Kayak, Orbitz or SayFunTravel.com to find discounts too. Ask the car rental company about other discounts that might not be published.
4. Book in advance. If you wait until the last minute to book a rental car, you will pay more money. Moreover, your car choices can be quite thin especially at busy times of the year. And those busy times can include a big sporting event in your town where visitors ratchet up demand for rental cars. By booking early you can secure your car and at a better rate too.
5. Big is not always better. You can rent from Hertz, Avis and the other large companies, but the best deals may be with the smaller players including the regional car rental companies. Your selection may be more limited with the smaller companies, but the prices can come in lower. Shop around for the best deal and keep in mind that rates are sometimes negotiable.
Rental Car Considerations
Keep in mind a few more things about your car rental. If your own auto insurance policy covers car rentals, then have the $8 or more daily insurance fee waived that is typically charged. And if you want an upgrade ask for one — oftentimes you can get one for free. Finally, pay close attention to the car that you are renting — it may give you an idea of the next car you want to buy. Yes, car rental companies sell their vehicles to consumers too.
See Also — 5 Summer Car Care Considerations