Renting a car can save you a lot of money and time on your next vacation or business trip, since you won’t have to rely on taxis and other forms of public transportation. Depending on your flight plans, it might also by more efficient to rent a car than buy a plane ticket. With the cost of such rentals on the rise, however, you might be canceling your travel plans altogether! Don’t get stranded in your hotel. With the following tips, you can make sure you get the absolute lowest price the next time you rent a car.
Tip #1: Pay attention to where you’re renting the car.
If you’re traveling through multiple states or to a location on the border of more than one state, it definitely makes sense to pay attention to how the prices change from location to location. The base price might be the same no matter where you go, but taxes and hidden fees can start to add up, and these rates differ depending on where you rent. Do your research!
Tip #2: Pay for gas before you return the car.
Most companies require that you return the car with either a full tank or with the same amount of gas it had when you picked it up. If you don’t return it with enough gas, the rental company will top it off on-site…and they’ll charge you a much higher rate than you’ll find at any gas station. Some also charge an additional fee for the inconvenience!
Tip #3: Know if you’re covered.
Your current car insurance might cover damages caused when you’re driving a rental. If this is the case, the insurance that you’re pressured to buy at the counter is a huge waste of money. Before you leave on your trip, call your car insurance agent to see if you’re protected when driving a rental. If you aren’t, also check collision policies with your credit card company. Sometimes, if you make the rental purchase with your credit card, they provide protection, which is something most consumers don’t realize!
Tip #4: Reserve your car on the company’s website.
While it is sometimes possible to save money by reserving your car on a travel site like Orbitz or Priceline, this isn’t as often the case as it is with flights and hotels. If you can book a package deal, you might save money. In most cases, however, you’ll get the best deal when you go directly to the rental company’s website. Many even offer special deals that you can’t get anywhere else.
Tip#5: Use social media.
Social media is great to connect with lots of different companies, including car rental services. If you follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook, you’ll be alerted when they have special deals. Some will even respond to you directly with discount codes if you ask them if they have any specials they can share with you for your travel dates.