Renting a car is often a quick way of getting to and from airports, or any other place, even cross-country. However, their rates may not be so pocket-friendly. Nonetheless, you can still be fortunate to find cheap rental cars for ground transportation.
In this travel guide, we will provide you a couple of tips on how to find cheap rental cars for travelling.
Tips for Finding Cheapest Rental Cars
Here are a few tips to help you find cheapest rental cars and save money during your travel.
Don’t Look for Rental Cars at Airports
It is, no doubt, a lot more convenient to find rental cars quickly at the airport that you arrive to. However, their premium rates may also include airport surcharges, which you have to pay from your pocket. These extra charges at the airport that are added to your per-day rental is quite high.
So, you may need to find an alternative elsewhere, especially if you’re tight on budget. You may compare prices and locations of car rentals in a specific city or multiple cities to what you can get at the airport. Also, you can take into consideration the rates of a taxi or Lyft to and from your rental location, on the off chance that you rent at a location that is quite far away from your airport.
Look for Cheap Rental Cars Online
Yup! These days, with the help of the internet it’s no longer difficult to find what we want. For instance, there are several travel websites that allow people to easily find and book rental cars and at varying prices.
A few OTAs, such as Kayak, Priceline, Cheapcarrental.com, etc. lets you compare your options and find the best deal. These travel websites also let you find rental cars from different companies using filters. You can easily look for companies that permit you to book a rental car from one country and to drop the vehicle off in another country. As for those individuals who are under 25 years of age are also provided options to filter companies that allow car rentals for such young drivers. However, remember that companies may charge an underage driver fee when renting a car.
An important thing to note here is that rentals which are paid in advance are usually non-refundable. So, you have to be careful when making your choices. Even after you book, you can still continue to shop online. In the event that you didn’t book a non-refundable rental car, you can easily cancel your reservation in case you have found a more better deal.
Rental Car Companies Offering Discounts
Not all car rental companies will offer you discounted prices. So, you will need find and pick the one that offers this perk. Major rental car companies, like Enterprise, Hertz and Budget are not the only players in the business. Their competitors include brands like Advantage, Payless, Thrifty and Dollar Rental that are also in the competition. These brands sometimes, offer at a lower rate. So, you find great deals.
For instance, some research showed that Advantage and Dollar rental companies offered customers the most lowest-priced rentals from Advantage, Dollar. Thus, depending on the city of travel, the rate was $5 cheaper than the cheapest premium brand rental. You can count those savings to have increased over longer trips.
Sign Up at Costco to Get Cheapest Rates
Costco is known for offering the cheapest rates. If you have a Costco membership, you can use its services to get a good deal on a rental car. Additionally, you can add a second driver without paying any fees.
The AAA memberships are also an incredible tool for saving money. They offer 8% and 10% savings on Dollar and Thrifty, respectively. Thus, getting an additional 8% or 10% off the cheapest options out there can make a significant difference.
One or More Drivers, Choose Cautiously
Sometimes, you may need a second driver, particularly when driving for longer hours straight. Most rental car companies will charge you an additional fee on a per-day basis for adding an extra driver. The fee can range from $12 per day, if you are booking with Enterprise and National car rental companies, and $13 per day, if booking with Avis and Budget, respectively. Also, the fees may vary by location.
However, there are ways you can avoid paying such extra fees. Enterprise, for instance, can waive the additional driver fee if your partner or companion also knows to drive. Now, the condition here is that you and your partner or companion must have the same address on the driver’s licences.
National rental car company, on the other hand, waives the additional driver fee if you and your spouse, companion or immediate family member enrol in their membership program.
Additionally, you can also benefit by enrolling in other membership programs, such as AAA, AARP, USAA, and Costco. These will not charge additional driver fees with the select car rental companies.
Choose Economy Rental Cars
Whether you are low on budget or just don’t want to spend much on rental cars, then you best option is to go for economy cars. Typically, economy cars are the cheapest and are also likely to be booked frequently. You can benefit from this option.
However, keep in mind not to book a vehicle that is small in size, especially if you are travelling in a group.
Don’t Expect Too Much
A major drawback in finding cheap rental cars is that you are likely to sacrifice on a lot of things. For example, rental car companies will try to sell additional features, such as cr seats, toll transponder, roadside assistance, satellite radio, GPS navigation, etc. Rental agents can make more money by selling these benefits, but you can save money by resisting these extras.
Dealing with Fuel in Your Car
When you rent a car, it is important that you check the fuel gauge. You will need to factor in how likely it is that your rental car’s fuel tank is near-empty before returning it to its owner. Some rental car companies may either have you return them the car with a tank full of fuel in it, or they may simply charge you higher prices for the fuel.
If you are renting a car just for a short day’s trip, or a weekend trip, you may have to fill the fuel tank before returning the car.
Your Car Insurance Can Come Handy
If you already own a car and also have a car insurance, that car insurance of yours can likely cover you when renting a car.
Additionally, if you have included an immediate family member in your car insurance, this can also minimise extra costs. There are many credit card companies that also include a basic insurance coverage. So, if you use one of those credit cards to pay your rental, you will have less expenses to bear. There are however, many credit cards that offer a comprehensive coverage.
If you are renting overseas, you may be required to purchase insurance.
Although rental car services may bring a lot of convenience to you when travelling, but you must also consider the things, like the ones mentioned above, to make the most and save as much as you can.