Whether you're thinking about a road trip or simply need a vehicle for your holiday, renting a car can be costly if not done correctly. Renting a car can be an essential part of your vacation, particularly if you want the flexibility to see everything you want to see and explore a place at your own pace.

Even if it can seem harder to locate good offers on rental cars than on inexpensive hotels or flights, you can save money on this aspect of your trip as well. Here are some tips to book the most affordable car rentals for your unforgettable road trips to guide you in this process.

1. Book At The Cheapest Rental Car Company

Booking at the cheapest rental car company might seem obvious, so for that, you need to compare prices from different rental companies to get the best deal. It is not easy but isn't that difficult either.

The best approach to getting low-cost rental cars is to use a website that evaluates pricing from many businesses, allowing you to select the lowest option. You can surf several sites like Autoslash, Kayak, Priceline, Expedia, Costco Travel, Rentalcars, Orbitz, etc.

There are ways to organize the results, such as by price, car type, or other features, to ensure you find everything you're searching for.

Prices can vary greatly depending on where you check. So, as a general guideline, never visit fewer than three travel agency websites before booking, and don't wait till the end to book it as the price might change after some time/days.

2. Skip The Airport

Rental companies located at airports frequently charge higher fees because of high overhead costs and convenience factors.

While renting a car right after your trip may appear to be the most convenient alternative, it's a little-known fact that rental car businesses frequently charge more for cars booked from the airport.

Avoid renting from the airport and look into various off-site locations in and around the city where rates are likely to be lower. When you rent from an off-airport location, you could save around 20% or even more.

You can use the airport's public transit to get to the city center to pick up your car or take a taxi to a close off-airport location.

3. Stick To One Driver

If you want to add a second or additional driver, most rental car companies will charge you a daily fee. This cost varies by location, but it is normally around 12 dollars per day with National Car Rental and Enterprise and around 13 dollars per day with Avis and Budget car rentals.

However, there are ways to avoid the cost. Some businesses, like Enterprise, will not charge you more for a spouse or domestic partner as long as both of your driver's licenses are issued with the same address.

Others, like National, if you sign up for their membership program, will offer to reduce the cost for partners, spouses, and close family members.

With some rental car providers, you can also use other memberships, including Costco, AARP, USAA, or AAA, to receive a free additional driver.

4. Avoid Peak Season

It's a no-brainer that peak season will cost you more not just in traveling but in terms of everything. Car rental costs, airfare and hotel prices, fluctuate with demand.

High demand during peak travel seasons means limited vehicle supply, resulting in higher prices. Peak seasons for travel include holidays, spring break, and summer vacations when demand is often too much.

Car rental inventory fluctuates with travel patterns throughout the year, and you're more likely to get better deals and more selections if you book in the offseason.

5. Look For Membership Discounts And Coupons

Keeping an eye out for deals and discounts offered by different associations or memberships. A lot of rental vehicle providers run promotions and discounts. The website of the vehicle rental firm as well as other websites that collect and distribute coupon codes feature these discounts.

Discounts for memberships are frequently an overlooked financial benefit. Discounts on car rentals are among the membership perks that many clubs and organizations provide.

A few airline loyalty programs also give their members discounts on rental cars. You can accumulate miles on your car rental and be eligible for special discounts as a mileage member.

6. Fill Up The Gas Yourself

It is a lot cheaper when you fill the gas yourself after renting a car from a rental, but when a rental company has to refill the vehicle, they typically add a convenience fee.

The majority of the time, you are forced to either return rental cars with a full tank of petrol or pay the outrageous fuel prices that they charge. One of the simplest methods to prevent an absurdly large additional charge is to fill up your own tank before returning the car.

Many rental car companies want you to prepay for a full tank of gas through an option called "fuel purchase." Likewise, you pay for a full tank regardless of the amount of fuel remaining in the vehicle.

In order to avoid paying a refueling fee at certain cheaper rental businesses, you might need to show a receipt attesting to the fact that you recently filled the gas tank.

7. Monitor For Price Drops

Car rental prices are subject to change over time, much like those of airline tickets and lodging. Several variables, including demand, vehicle availability, and rental duration, affect the cost you pay.

Consequently, keeping an eye on prices and rescheduling your rental if they reduce the price is another brilliant tactic.

Once you've made your reservation, keep checking the price. You can cancel your original reservation and make a new one at a less expensive price if you find a better cost for the same kind of car at the same location.

Also, please note that different conditions apply to cancellations, and don't forget to ask your provider about the grace period for cancellations, which is normally at least 24-48 hours before pick-up.

8. Try A Car Sharing Alternative

It surely is not going to be an easy task finding someone who would not mind sharing the same car but if you happen to find someone then you will save a lot of money.

However, you can rent cars directly from their owners through some peer-to-peer car-sharing services, such as Getaround and Turo, where the owners determine the rental fee and mileage restrictions.

You will meet your host in person after making a reservation to take up the car and keys, at which point you can leave. There are certain advantages to renting a car of this type, like having the option to read ratings for the vehicle you will be driving and having the possibility of picking it up close to your house.

9. Use Your Own Insurance

While insurance is a must for renting a car, getting it directly from the rental business can dramatically increase the cost of the entire rental. Make sure your current auto insurance coverage covers rental cars before agreeing to the rental company's insurance.

Numerous typical policies do, and they can still save you a significant amount of money even if they simply provide liability coverage. To make sure you understand your coverage completely regarding rentals, it's usually advisable to get in touch with your insurance company directly.

In addition, some credit cards give benefits to rental car insurance. That specific card will automatically cover you when you pay for the rental.

10. Be Aware Of The Extra Fees

When renting a car, make sure to always be aware of additional fees. You never know what charges they will impose after you return their car. When it comes time to pay the bill, knowing these costs can help you avoid some unexpected fees.

Certain rental businesses impose a daily cost for each additional driver listed on the contract. If it's not necessary, think about designating only one driver. There may be a young driver surcharge for renters who are under 25.

Moreover, there may be a charge if the car is returned earlier or later than planned. Always aim to return the vehicle at the same time/date.

11. Walk Or Ride

Even while you can get a cheap rental car using the tips mentioned above, there's one more definite way to save money, don't rent a car at all, instead walk or take a ride.

Large cities typically have walkable downtowns, robust public transit systems, and an abundance of ride-sharing mobile apps and taxis. Get a weekend metro pass to avoid the headache of traffic and extremely high parking fees.

This is a fantastic alternative for cities that are walkable and have reliable public transportation. You may take in the sights and atmosphere of the city at a slower pace while saving money on parking and car rentals.

You can also travel around inexpensively and effectively by using the buses, trains, subways, and trams that are available in many cities.

Content Sources:

Capture The Atlas

Thrifty Traveler


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