How to save money on your next car rental
Have you ever found what initially seemed like a great deal on a car rental only to find the price nearly doubled when all was said and done? The cost of car rental can quickly add up, with prices varying significantly between different agencies, types of models, and types of contracts. Extra fees including fuel recharging and excess insurance can also crash your rental budget, so it’s important to shop around and read the following tips before you sign anything.
Also read: 10 ways to save money on a road trip
- Don’t pick up or drop off the car at the airport.
After a long flight, it’s natural that you want to pick up your car immediately and get to the hotel as quickly as possible. However, the car rental agency is banking on this fact and will charge you for the privilege. You can save a whopping 35% of your overall rental costs if you pick up your car at a different branch or company outside of the airport. Rental companies can tack on state taxes, facility charges, and concession fees when you pick up and drop off the car at the airport. Try taking a shuttle bus a bit further afield and you’ll be left with more money in your wallet.
- Try tacking on extra dates.
Why would you pay for extra days? Although this may not make sense on the surface; sometimes adding an extra day or two to your car rental package could result in a lower rate overall. Hunt around for online coupons that might offer special deals on longer time periods, and simply return the car early. However, be sure that there aren’t any added fees for early returns first!
- Read the fine print carefully.
In addition to the extra concession fees you may be charged for picking the car up at the airport, there are additional fees to be on the lookout for. One of the most common hits that drivers take is a refueling fee. Be sure to fill the tank up before you return your car, at least to the same level as when you picked it up. Taxes, insurance costs, and licensing fees are a few other types of costs to watch for. If you see fees you don’t understand in your contract, be sure to ask what they are. They may not be mandatory.
- Inspect your vehicle before you drive away.
With the keys in your hand, you are probably ready to hit the road and start your adventure. Yet there’s one more task before you drive away: do a quick once-over and make sure there aren’t any dents or scratches in your car. Take photos or a video recording if you see anything questionable and present it to the rental counter.
- Choose a more efficient car.
So you’ve saved at the rental counter now, but what about on the road? It’s important to factor in the costs of operating a car for the duration of your trip. Whether you’re simply attending business meetings for a day or driving across the country on a road trip, it pays to choose a car with decent mileage. Compare models first at review sites like Motoring to weigh your options, and then request a model known for its efficiency.
These are just a few factors to consider that could help you drive away with a great deal on your next rental car!