How to Save On Rental Cars When Traveling
Need wheels on your next trip?
Why not rent a car to give you the flexibility and freedom you need? You could use a cab, but hiring a car is the only viable way to get around when traveling to some parts of the world. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get ripped off on a rental car if you’re not careful. Below are some practical tips for saving on rental cars when traveling.
1. Steer Clear of The Big Brands
It’s a no-brainer that companies such as Hertz and Avis will charge more than Payless and Fox. The only issue would be whether the cheaper options are worth the additional hassle. This will largely depend on your personal preference. Most times, the smaller car rental companies are situated off-airport meaning you’ll have to make your way to wherever they are. They may also not have the seamless check-in and checkout process most of the big boys have in place. However, if you don’t mind the hassle, going for the little-known brands will save you quite a bit.
2. Find Coupons
Before you pay for a rental car, search for coupons online. You can get awesome deals with price drops or a free tank of fuel to apply to your total during checkout. Double down on the savings by combining the discount with loyalty or frequent flyer points. You could save up to half of the cost with the right combination of discounts.
3. Compare Prices
Unless you’re in a hurry, don’t take up the first offer you get. You can find a ton of websites that offer car rental price comparisons. Check out all available offers before making a decision. Don’t forget to go through the off-brand agencies though they may not be available in all areas.
The first question you should ask a provider is whether they offer discounts. Seniors, military, AAA, and corporates usually get price breaks on car rentals. But you have to ask. Don’t hesitate to walk up to the counter of a competitor and ask them to beat a deal you’ve been offered. You could also negotiate for a better car for the amount that you’ve been charged. There is also the option of renting the car for longer than you need to. This can help just drop the daily rate.
While there are compelling reasons for not paying in advance, there are times when you can snag a better deal by making a non-refundable reservation. Car rental companies love it when you prepay, and they’re usually willing to throw in a discount to get you to do it. The only disadvantage to this is that after you’ve paid there’s no more room for negotiation.
6. Forego the Extras
Car rental agents will try to sell you on the advantages of taking up extras such as roadside assistance, insurance, GPS navigation and satellite radio just to bump up their commissions. You probably won’t need all these add-ons so it’s best to leave them out if you’re short on cash.