Renting a car on vacation can be a pain. It can be confusing with all the strange rules and policies the car rental companies have in place. Not forgetting, it can also be a pain for your wallet – with car rentals costing way more than you want to pay, especially during peak season/
As I said renting a car on vacation can be costly, but it’s often a necessary cost of your vacation especially if you want to reach those hidden gems not accessible by public transport. Like airfare or hotel rates, car rental rates can be non-transparent and it can be hard to figure out how much the car rental will actually costs you – because often insurance and gas costs aren’t included in the advertised rate.
While figuring out car rental rates can be hard, there are still a few easy ways to save money. These following tips will ensure that you’re getting the best possible car rates, hopefully saving you lots of money. These 6 tricks will help you score a cheap rental car for your next vacation, whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a cross-country journey.
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1. Avoid rental cars at the International Airport
Hiring a car at the airport is convenient when you’re flying into a new city But that convenience can come at a premium price, thanks to airport surcharges. At some large International Airports you’ll pay an $8 per day “Customer Facility Charge” and 10% “Recovery Fee” on top of the daily rental car rate – which is often higher at an International Airport.
Worth noting is that locations listed as “National airport” on airport websites may still charge an airport fee. So, call or email the office ahead of time to ask. If they do, consider the next-nearest pick-up location, which will likely require public transportation or a taxi to get to.
Look at the prices for car rental locations in the city and compare them to what you can get at the international airport. Make sure you factor in the cost of a taxi, car, or Lyft to and from your barcelona car rental location if you choose to pick up from a location away from the International Airport. If you can, don’t book your rental car from the airport.
“Renting a car at the airport is definitely higher in many cases as a lot of cities have added surcharges,” says a car rental industry analyst at Ridertransferdirect.com.
2. Beware of cancellation fees if pre-paying
Prepaying your car rental to save money could be a very cost-effective decision. But it can be risky. For example if you book a hotel and you prepay but then your flight is cancelled you may still have to pay a cancellation fee. This can too be the case for car rentals. So beware if you pay in advance and can’t make your pick-up time due to circumstances outside your control you may still be liable for cancellation fees.
And that cancellation fee could cost you more than the original amount paid if you cancel within 24-48 hours of the scheduled pick up. So it’s best to check all the cancellation policies and rescheduling restrictions before proceeding to book.
3. Always check the price directly on the car rental website
Car rental aggregator sites like Ridetransferdirect are the best option for quickly analyzing the best car rental deals near you. But before you book via one of these aggregator websites, always compare the price with the actual car rental agencies e.g. Thrifty, Hertz etc. In some cases, booking direct will give you a better price.
For example, if the aggregator website shows you a great price on car rental, go direct to the car rental agency website and search for the same car. You won’t always get a good deal, but it’s worth checking for sure.
4. Skip the insurance
So, you’ve done your research and found the best car rental rate. Congratulations! This is where most travelers simply pat themselves on the back and proceed to waste their money once they’ve rented the car. Don’t make this mistake!
One of the biggest misuse’s of your money when renting a car is insurance. The car rental companies may use all kinds of scare tactics to get you to buy their insurance, but you may not need it.
If you have car insurance for your own personal car, then, that insurance will usually cover you when you’re in a rental car. Just call your car insurance agent to be sure.
And even if you don’t have personal car insurance, you can usually get it when you book your car rental with the right international credit card. That’s right – most international travel credit cards offer insurance on rental cars at no extra cost to you!
If you’re looking for an international credit card that offers rental car or taxi insurance, here are some I recommend:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Amex Platinum
5. Use a peer to peer car rental service
When people think of a car rental company, they usually think of a company that owns a fleet of cars. Until recently, this was the only way to rent a car. Now however, a variety of peer to peer car or taxi rental companies have emerged as an exciting alternative to traditional car or shuttle rental.
So what is a peer to peer car hiring? Instead of hiring a car from a company – you rent the car or taxi from an individual. Marketplaces like Hoppa and suntransfers allow car owners to list their car or taxi for rent.
You can book your car rental directly on the app and then pick it up from the owner. Many owners will even deliver the car or taxi to you for an additional fee. When you’re done with the car or shuttle, all you have to do is return it to the owner.
This whole process is not only more convenient than a regular car or taxi rental; it also offers lower price in many cases. If you’re interested in renting a car or taxi with this method you can find out more here.
6. Opt for economy cars
At every stage of the car or taxi rental process, the car rental company will attempt to upsell you a luxury car model. I never take these offers up. I always choose the “Economy car” when I’m booking, even if I’d prefer a more luxurious car.
Sometimes, I’ve shown up at the car rental place to pick up my rental car and found out that I’ve been automatically upgraded because they didn’t have an economy rental car available!
In conclusion, don’t be afraid of renting a car on vacation in a new place. Keep the above tips in mind and you will have a safe, comfortable and economic vacation with your loved one.
**This article was written by Manish Ambaliya from Ridetransferdirect.com. He says “I have started writing articles on topics such as car rental, trip planning, traveling and so on. I believe that sharing is caring and that’s the reason I write something new every day.”
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