Renting a car can be expensive, especially when it’s for multiple days. But with some tested travel hacks and the right credit card in your wallet, you can snag a great deal.
Many rental companies run promotions or sales, and some offer standard discounts for seniors, military personnel, etc. Check for bundled rates and affiliations with other organizations like airlines or hotels.
Look for discount codes
There are a variety of websites that offer coupon codes for car rental companies. Many of these discounts are stackable. By doing some legwork, you can save a lot of money.
Leverage Membership Perks
Many member associations like Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale, and AARP have affiliations with rental car companies that give their members exclusive discounts. Also, check with your credit card company. Some issuers provide collision damage waivers for free and offer discounted rates for their cardholders.
Also, try to reserve a car directly from the rental car company rather than going through a third-party site. The third-party sites usually charge a fee. Plus, you might be able to negotiate with the company if you book directly.
Be aware that rental car agents may try to sell you extras, including roadside assistance, GPS navigation systems, and additional insurance. Resist their spiel. It will save you the cost of those add-ons as well as potentially save you on fees for things such as transponders for toll roads. Those can run for $15 per day or more. In addition, it’s a good idea to bring your child safety seats and GPS devices if possible to avoid paying the daily rental charges for those devices.
Make multiple bookings
When renting a car, multiple bookings help you score the best deal. That’s because prices rise around the peak travel season, but you can often avoid these hikes if you keep an eye on competitor rates and make several reservations over time.
Many car rental companies offer loyalty programs that can help you save money. These programs give you access to member-exclusive promotions and allow you to skip the line at the car rental counter when picking up your vehicle. Plus, they also provide other perks like free upgrades and roadside assistance.
Another way to save is by renting from a non-airport location. Airport pick-ups typically charge extra for convenience, so you can often score better deals if you grab a rideshare or public transportation to a local office.
Be sure to resist the sales pitch for add-ons. The cost of a GPS, child safety seats, and ski racks can quickly add up to more than the price of your rental. Also, be careful about prepaid fuel plans. The rental company will likely refuel the car before returning it, and you’ll pay for a full tank even if you don’t use it all. Instead, plan and fill up at a station close to the drop-off location.
Rent during off-peak times
Car rental prices skyrocket during peak travel times, so it’s important to book your vehicle in advance. Using a search engine like Kayak or Autoslash can help you find great deals. By entering your specific dates, you can compare pricing from hundreds of car rental companies.
Also, consider renting your car during the week rather than the weekend if possible. Weekly rates are usually cheaper than daily rates, and sometimes even better depending on the location you’re visiting.
Another way to save money on a car rental is to avoid any unnecessary add-ons. It can be tempting to splurge on a convertible or larger vehicle for some added luxury, but remember that bigger vehicles use more gas and cost more per day. Plus, you may end up paying for things like GPS units or ski racks that you don’t need.
If you’re a frequent renter, consider joining a loyalty program with your favorite rental car company and enhance your savings with exclusive Budget Australia Promo Codes. Many of these programs offer perks that can save you money, such as priority check-in, free upgrades, and rewards points. Additionally, using a credit card with primary rental car insurance coverage can further help you save on the expensive daily insurance fees that are commonly charged by rental companies.
Avoid additional fees for gas and tolls
A car rental may seem like a good idea if you’re traveling for long distances and you need to get from point A to B. However, many car rentals are loaded with add-on fees, including hefty toll charges, according to Nerdwallet. Hidden fees can eat into your travel budget before you even reach the airport. To avoid being overcharged by a rental car, bring your transponder or use mapping services like Waze and Google Maps to plan routes that avoid toll roads altogether.
Some rental car companies also charge for equipment such as a child seat or ski racks, which you may not need if you’re traveling with kids. Also, rental car companies often overcharge for gas. The best way to save on gas is to prepay for a full tank before you pick up your vehicle, then compare prices at local stations using a site such as GasBuddy before deciding to buy back the prepaid tank.
Another tip is to leave some wiggle room when scheduling your pickup and drop-off times. Many rental car companies charge a premium for returning vehicles late, so leave yourself plenty of time to return the car at its designated location.
Pay with a credit card
Renting a car can save you time and money if you need to get around while traveling. But car rental prices can skyrocket, especially during popular travel times. Fortunately, there are many ways to cut costs on car rentals. You can use discounts like corporate, AAA, or university codes, avoid additional fees for gas and tolls, book your rental in advance, and compare prices to snag the best deal. With these tips, you can reduce your car rental bill and enjoy your trip without draining your bank account.
Another great way to save on a car rental is by booking through an online marketplace like Turo, which allows you to rent vehicles from individuals in major cities. This is often cheaper than renting from a traditional company and can offer unique vehicles that you wouldn’t find at a rental agency.
Using a credit card that includes secondary rental car insurance can also help you save on a rental. NerdWallet lists a few cards that include this benefit, such as the Platinum Card(r) from American Express, which gives you loyalty status at Hertz and Avis as well as primary coverage against damage to your vehicle or other people’s property.
Don’t let the rental outfit fill your tank back up
With high fuel prices, pricey new centralized airport rental facilities (costs are almost always billed back to the consumer), and a business model that appears to be on life support, travelers are getting taken for a ride when renting cars. Thankfully, there are several ways to reduce these costs.
Rent only the type of car you need. Make sure to factor in how many people and bags will fit, the type of road you’ll be driving on, and any extra fees like GPS or child seats.
Also, be mindful of how many days you’re renting the vehicle. Most rental companies consider a day to be 24 hours from the time you pick up the car. If you’re planning to return it late, expect additional charges.
Another way to save is by bringing your auto insurance or a credit card that offers primary coverage for rental cars, paired with an exclusive Travel Discount Code. This can eliminate the need to purchase expensive additional insurance offered by the rental agency and can save you a significant amount of money.
Read the fine print
Car rental seems like a fairly straightforward process, but some hidden fees can cost you a fortune. The good news is that there are some simple tricks and tips you can use to save money on your next rental.
One of the most common charges is for excess CDW insurance. Most car rental companies offer this extra coverage for a small fee, but it is important to understand what it covers. The insurance usually only covers up to a certain amount, and the excess charge can be nearly as much as the cost of renting the car. You can avoid this by making sure to compare prices and checking with your credit card company – many of them cover CDW insurance.
Another way to save on costs is to choose a model with a lower base price. For example, a midsize car is less expensive than an SUV. This is because agencies tend to have more of these vehicles, and it’s easier for them to get them ready for you at the right time. Additionally, you can avoid paying for damage you didn’t cause by being a detail-oriented renter and ensuring that the vehicle is clean. This means wiping down the interior and emptying any excessive sand or dirt.
Saving money on car rentals is possible with a few tips and tricks. Always compare prices from multiple rental companies, book in advance, and opt for a smaller car to save on fuel costs. Avoid unnecessary extras and fees, and consider joining a loyalty program. By following these top tips, you can make your car rental experience both affordable and enjoyable