The return of the road trip is one of the most popular travel trends since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there might need to be more rental cars to meet the high demand. Car rental prices are high, assuming you can even find one to rent.
You don’t need to spend your entire vacation budget on renting cars.
These ten tips will help you get a cheap car rental for your next road trip, no matter how short or long.
Avoid the airport
When you fly into a new place, renting at the airport can be convenient. Airport surcharges can make this a more expensive option. These surcharges are usually presented in fixed dollar figures and are called “Customer Facilities Charges.” Sometimes, they will also be a percentage of the total rental amount. These charges can be several dollars per day but may rise to three figures depending on how long your trip is.
Compare the prices of rental properties in the city to the price you will pay at the airport. If you rent at a remote location, make sure to factor in the cost of a taxi or rideshare.
Compare your options on sites such as Kayak, Priceline, and Cheapcarrental.com to narrow down the best deal.
Go directly to the rental car company’s website. This way, you might get a more significant discount, especially if you choose to “Pay Now.” Remember that rental that is paid in advance are usually nonrefundable.
Even after you book, keep shopping. You can cancel your rental if you find a lower price and have yet to secure a nonrefundable one.
Turn to discount brands
Enterprise, Hertz, and Budget don’t have to be the only ones in town. You can also find discount brands such as Dollar Rental, Payless, and Advantage. They often charge a lower rate than big-name rental agencies.
Our research revealed that rental prices from Dollar, Advantage, and other premium brands were at least $5 less than those of the highest-priced brand rentals, depending on where they were located. These savings can be multiplied over longer trips.
We will help you get on the right track.
View your spending and identify savings opportunities.
Memberships in Leverage
Costco Membership? It will help you save money on your next car rental.
Clem Bason (CEO of goSEEK.com) says that Costco is consistently cheaper than full-price rental cars on online travel agencies.
A bonus is that you can often add a driver free of charge.
AAA Memberships offer Discounts on Hertz Rentals and no Underage Driver Fees for AAA Members ages 20-24.
Frequent flyer programs offer discounts on renting cars. American Airlines provides AAdvantage Members a 35% Discount on Budget and Avis, but you must rent from an airport.
Opt for an economy car
Economy cars are the most affordable and, thus, popular book. According to Brett Graff, a family financial expert, and author of The Home Economist, a syndicated column, this can be used to your advantage.
Graff says, “When renting a vehicle, I reserve the smallest and most affordable car possible. Knowing there’s a possibility it won’t exist on the lot, I’ll get an upgrade.”
Book something too small for your group. Otherwise, you might find yourself with five people and their luggage in a two-door coupe. It’s not the vacation you wanted.
Please keep it to one driver
Many rental car companies charge a daily fee for an additional driver. This fee is usually $12 per day for Enterprise and National Car Rental and $13 per Day with Budget and Avis. However, it can vary depending on where you are located.
However, there are ways around the fee. Enterprise is one company that waives the driver fee for spouses and domestic partners. However, you must have the same address on both of your driver’s licenses. National and others, such as Enterprise, waive the additional driver fee for spouses, partners, and immediate family members when you sign up for their membership program.
Other memberships such as USAA or AARP, AAA, Costco, and Costco can be used to obtain a free driver from select rental car companies.
You can make your insurance
If you own a car, your primary insurance covers you when renting a vehicle. Carless millennials – Have your parents add you as a driver to their insurance. It will likely cost you less if your driving record is good.
Basic insurance coverage is available on many credit cards if you use them to rent. You can skip the insurance and save up to $30 per day on your rental. Some cards offer even more coverage.
What about renting abroad? Even if your primary insurance policy covers you, or your credit card, you might need to purchase insurance. This should be included in your budget.
You can forgo all the extras
Rent agents will make more money selling extras such as roadside assistance, satellite radio, and GPS navigation. You will save money if you don’t listen to their sales pitch.
Prepaid gas prices
You can use a website like GasBuddy for a map of nearby gas stations and current fuel prices to compare with the prepaid rental car price.
Consider how likely you are to have a nearly empty tank when you return from your trip. For a weekend or short-term travel, you might only need to fill your tank before returning the vehicle. You can save some money by taking longer trips.
Take a walk or a ride
These tips will help you find a low-cost rental car. But another way to save money is to skip the rental entirely.
Major cities have walkable central areas and extensive public transportation networks. There are also plenty of taxis and ridesharing apps. If you can, save yourself from the traffic jams and expensive parking fees by purchasing a weekend metro pass.
A non-traditional rental car company such as Turo or Getaround might be a good option. Others operate similarly to Airbnb, which allows people to rent their cars. Some are owned by other players in the automotive space, like car dealerships. Many of these cars are cheaper than regular rental cars, and you can book them by the hour to save money on driving time.
You might be open to other options. Rideshares are great for short trips. It sounds extravagant, but getting a limousine for a much lower price is possible.