6 Ways to Save Money on a Rental Car
Renting a car is a travel detail that often gets overlooked until the last minute, which can leave you paying far more than necessary. Fortunately, with just a little research and planning, you can save money on a rental car and get around town in style and comfort. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to save money on a rental car:
Look (and ask) for Discounts
The easiest and most straightforward way to save money on a rental car is to look for discounts. Do an online search for discount codes before you book and don’t forget to enter it as you’re reserving the vehicle. But don’t stop there. Even if you find discounts at the time of booking, be sure to ask for any additional discounts or special rates when you pick up the car at the rental counter. Depending on the company and the promotions, many outlets allow you to “stack” your discounts for maximum savings.
Compare Prices to Save
As you’re doing your research, use on online price comparison tool such as Priceline, Kayak or CarRentals.com. You’ll be able to compare prices for comparable vehicles and it will save you from looking up each agency individually. You might even find some “bundle and save” deals that allow you to book flights, hotels and car rental together for bigger discounts on each.
Make Your Points Count
Using credit card points to pay for all or part of your car rental is a great way to save money. If you don’t have enough points saved to use them this time, charge it to card that earns points so you’re ready for next time.
Don’t Rent at the Airport
While it is the most convenient option, picking your car up at the airport is also the most expensive choice. If you have the time and patience to shuttle to an off-airport location for pickup, you’ll save more. Of course, you’ll want to factor in the cost of transportation to reach the remote location. You don’t want to eat up your savings on a costly cab or Uber ride.
Be on the Lookout for Hidden Fees
In your rush to pick up the car and get going, you may overlook sneaky hidden fees on your rental agreement. Be sure you’re not getting charged for things you don’t need or want. These can include satellite radio and various insurance or damage waivers. Take a few minutes to read the agreement carefully and ask any questions about fees you weren’t expecting. The potential savings are worth the time it takes to read the fine print.
Avoid Prepaying for Gas
This is another case where you’ll save a bundle if you opt for the less convenient option of filling the tank before you return the car. Prepaying for gas means you pay more per gallon than the going local rate.
Be sure to take note of the fuel level when you pick up the vehicle. If it’s less than full, let the rental agent know so they can note it on the agreement. Whatever the level, be sure you return it with the same amount of gas in the tank.