Ways to Save Money on a Rental Car on Vacation

Rental Car, Flickr photo by bradleypjohnson, used under Creative CommonsFor travelers flying into a city on a trip, renting a car can be an expensive necessity. Finding ways to reduce the cost can make the proposition a little more palatable. While it may seem like the customer has little choice but to pay whatever amount the rental agency charges, there are ways to pay less for a rental car.

Car rental agencies have been adapting to changing market influences the same way as hotels and airlines, while the location of a business can also put it at a price disadvantage. Being aware of how to take advantage of these situations will certainly help a traveler save some money on their trip.

Location – Rental agencies that are located right on the airport grounds are normally subjected to additional fees and taxes levied by the municipalities. Of course, they pass their additional expenses on to the customer. Rather than getting off the plane and immediately finding the nearest rental counter, make arrangements to take a taxi a few miles away and rent a car there.

Pay ahead – Just as many hotels will offer a discount to those who are willing to pay for their rooms ahead of time, more rental agencies are offering lower rates for those who pay in advance. The risk, obviously, is that if the trip needs to be canceled at the last minute, the payment will likely be lost.

Think smaller – Rather than automatically go through a large chain agency, seek out a small, independent firm that might have lower rates in order to be competitive. These businesses may also be more likely to negotiate. On the other hand, if a lower quoted price can be found at a small agency and taken to a larger one, they may match it.

Look online – Before booking a rental, look for online-only discounts or coupons that might be offered by some companies.

Take a risk – Think about reserving a compact or economy model car even if a larger one is needed. More travelers prefer the savings that can be had from the compact cars, especially in fuel efficiency, and so these are rented more often than bigger vehicles. If a compact is not available upon your arrival, the agency will normally offer an upgrade without charging more. This can be especially true in smaller markets. If it doesn’t work and an economy is in the fleet, you can still just say you’ve changed your mind and pay to upgrade.

Most travelers will look for any way to save money while taking a trip. That search should extend to renting a vehicle once the destination has been reached. By doing proper research and taking advantage of a changing and more competitive market, a rental car can be had for less money.


Jane Simpson writes for http://www.onlineloancalculator.org, which has a useful tool for calculating the cost of borrowing money to pay for a dream vacation or other big expense.


  1. Really impressive tips I think this will definitely help a lot of people going on a vacation to think before they rent a car and look for options available in order to save money.

  2. Good tips! Usually I will be taking my friend car for my vacations. I’m bit afraid on taking rental cars, my guess was they will charge high and it will not a secured one. But, many thanks for explaning it perfectly.

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