How to Save Money on Car Rentals While Traveling

By arya

Your upcoming vacation may require that you supply yourself with a mode of transportation. Just like you would with insurance, you want to take steps to do what you can to save as much as possible on a car rental. After all, the less money you spend on a car rental, the more you’ll have to spend on yourself while you’re on vacation. Here are some tips to be sure to keep in mind.

Join a Loyalty Rewards Program

If you rent a lot of cars, it makes sense to join a loyalty rewards program for cars. Once you’ve joined and start to take advantage of the program, you can build up to free upgrades, maybe even the option of skipping lines so you can get behind the wheel of your rental and on the road sooner. Examples of rewards commonly offered by such programs include free rentals, rental preferences, and guaranteed vehicle availability. Check out different rental companies and the specific perks of joining their loyalty rewards programs.

Look Out For Extras and Hidden Fees

Read over your rental car contract carefully. Keep an eye out for extras and hidden fees that drive up your final price. Specifically, a rental company may try to sneak in fees for satellite radio, GPS navigation, unnecessary insurance, and additional drivers. Only pay for what you absolutely need and know beyond a shadow of the doubt you will use. Also, be sure you ask for a car that has a full tank of gas, and make sure you return it this way. Some companies charge high prices for having to fill up the tank when you return the vehicle.

Find Coupons

Check out social media (just not while you’re behind the wheel), search engines, and the rental company’s site for coupons and deals you can take advantage of. Even if you’re a member of a loyalty rewards program, there’s a chance you’ll be able to combine it with qualifying coupons and deals. There’s absolutely no harm in asking.

Ask About Discounts

Before you check out, ask if the car rental company offers special discounts or has any deals that may not be advertised online. You could qualify for a discount if you’re a senior citizen, a member of the military, or part of a certain association. You could even qualify for a discount if you’re a frequent flyer. Speaking of which, you could rack up airline miles just for renting a vehicle.

Sidestep Airport Rentals

Do what you can to avoid renting a car from the airport. While there’s no doubting it’s convenient for you to do so, that convenience comes at a price. For instance, day rates are usually higher at the airport, and rentals often come with what’s known as a “concession recovery fee.” What that means is you help pay the fee the airport charges the car rental company for doing business with the airport. See if there’s a car rental company close to where you’re staying that can help take care of you.

There’s no need to feel you have to sell a kidney to rent a car. See how these tips work for you the next time you’re traveling and need some wheels.