How to Save on Car Rentals
When taking a vacation or traveling for business, renting a car is often a major consideration when planning the trip. Depending on where you are going, having access to a car is often a necessity.
In some situations, you may find that renting a car can be very expensive and the final cost will vary based on a variety of factors. Fortunately, there are a variety of tips that you can follow that could help you to save money if you are vigilant in finding a good deal.
Consider Less-Obvious Brands
One of the best ways that you can save money on a rental car is by considering some of the less obvious brands. Today, there are about five major car rental companies that have a large market share. These companies often charge higher rates than some of the smaller brands. Furthermore, there are also regional car rental companies that do far less advertising but could get you a great deal. By shopping around and doing some research, you could find a local dealer that will offer you a great rate.
Avoid Renting at the Airport
If you are taking a distant trip into a city, you likely will end up flying into the city’s major airport. When flying into an airport, you will probably find that there is a rental car agency on the airport grounds. While this will provide you with a very convenient way to rent a car, it can also be much more expensive.
In many situations, you could end up saving a lot of money by simply renting from a dealership that is off the airport grounds. However, you need to consider taxi or other transportation costs to get to the off-site dealership when figuring out your budget.
Stick to One Driver
Another way that you could save money when you are booking a rental car is by trying to limit the amount of drivers to just one person. When you are renting a car, you will have to give the name of all parties that will be able to drive the vehicle during the rental period. In many situations, the car rental company will end up charging an additional fee for each additional person that is being added as an approved driver. Overall, this feature can be as much as $12 per day per person, which can add a lot to a longer rental.
Save More by Renting Longer
One of the more unique ways that you can save money on a rental car is by making a longer car rental reservation. All major car rental agencies have different ways of pricing their vacation rentals. In many situations, a weeklong car rental will often come with a lower rate than if you were to book a six-day trip and accept the daily rate. Furthermore, you can always return the car early if you want for free. By doing some research and shopping around, you may be able to find a better rate on the total rental.
Book in Advance
If you are looking to book a trip, another thing that you could do to save money would be to book your rental car well in advance. Many rental car companies allow you to book a car as much as one year in advance.
In some situations, you could save a lot of money if you book the car with plenty of lead-time. Furthermore, you often do not have to pay a deposit or fee upfront. This means that you can continue to shop around as your trip date approaches and you can switch your reservation if you find a better deal.
Book Trip Through an Online Aggregator
Whenever you are looking to book a trip, another great thing that you could do would be to book your trip through an online travel aggregator. These aggregators will allow you to book all aspects of your trip, including flight, hotel, rental car, and even activities, through one consolidated reservation.
When you do this, you can often save a lot of money off the cost of the rental and other parts of your trip. It is very common to receive a bulk discount that could save you 10 percent or more off of the entire vacation package, including your rental car.
Become a Club Member
If you tend to travel a lot and frequently rent cars, one of the best things that you could do would be to join the club or loyalty program of your favorite car rental company. Almost all the major car rental companies today offer customers with the ability to join loyalty programs.
When you are a member of these programs, you often will be able to take advantage of lower rates, free upgrades, and better overall service. Furthermore, you can accumulate points that can then be redeemed for free rentals and other perks.
When you are booking a trip online, you will find that there are many different upgrade options to choose from. This can include selecting larger and more luxurious vehicles, satellite radios, GPS systems, and even unnecessary insurance options.
If you are looking to save some money on your car rental, you should avoid these additional upgrades and charges as much as possible as they can each individual cost up to another $20 per day. It is also likely that you will try to be upsold when you go to pick up your car.