This post comes from Anthony Fontana at our partner site Zing!
It may not feel like it outside yet, but summer is just around the corner. That means it’s time to start planning vacations. Whether you’re flying somewhere or taking a long road trip, one thing’s for certain: You’re going to need a car at some point. If you’ve never rented a car, it may seem like a somewhat daunting task. Between determining what company to go through, what kind of car to get and many other factors, it can be complex. It doesn’t have to be though. Just follow the below steps and you’ll be in the front seat of your rental car in no time!
Avoid the Airport
Due to the convenience, airport locations can be as much as 30% or more expensive than off-airport locations. If you’re flying into an airport, you’re probably better off taking a cab, shuttle or bus to the rental location to lock in a better deal.
Look for Promotional Codes
A little bit of work can go a long way. Use websites such as PromotionalCodes.com and CouponWinner.com to knock off as much as 40%. Also, be sure to check with any frequent flyer programs and other organizations you have memberships with, such as AAA or Costco. You’d be surprised what discounts you can find.
Avoid Name Brands
Everyone has heard of big brands like Avis and Hertz. However, take advantage of websites such as CarRentals.com that do business with independent agencies. Due to lower operating costs, you can save as much as 30%.
Some rental car companies offer discounts to travelers who prepay. If you’ve got the money upfront, why not take advantage of such discounts? You could save near 15%. Beware that if you prepay and then have to cancel the rental, you could be charged $50 or so.
Check the Difference Between Weekend and Weekly Rates
Weekend rates can be much lower than renting a car during the week. Selecting to return a car later in the afternoon could mean locking yourself into a weekend rate, saving you a chunk of change. Even if you return the car a couple hours before your selected return time, you can still get the weekend price reduction.
Don’t Buy Insurance You Don’t Need
Your regular insurance policy may cover car rentals as well. If not, you’ll often find that your credit card provides rental car insurance. Be sure to check beforehand to see what your options are before it’s time to pick up your car.
Renting a car doesn’t have to be difficult at all. All it takes is a little research, and you’ll be driving off in your rental car at a cheap price.
Does anyone out there have any additional tips when it comes to renting a car? Let us know in the comments below!
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2 Responses to “Follow These Tips to Save Money When Renting a Car”
Some good points raised by Nickel. I would like to add few more points. Firstly, Look beyond national chains. Be sure to check out rental car deals available from smaller, regional chains and local independent agencies. They may have lower prices than the big national chains. Secondly, Book early. As soon as you decide on your vacation plans, book your car rental. Wait until the last minute and you could get stuck paying much higher rates, and you may have a tougher time finding the vehicle that you want.
My latest trip to Australia renting a car teaches me that you need not rent a GPS, there are a lot of free apps on your smart phone that can help you navigate around, or you can use google map to help you get from point to point.