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11 Ways You Can Save Money While Renting a Car

You may need to rent a vehicle for whatever reason. You could be traveling and need the convenience of having your own car. It frees you from having to depend on public transportation to get from place to place. 

Perhaps your car had some problems, and the mechanic needs a little time to do a thorough job. Whatever the reason, renting a car can be pretty expensive if you do not know how to go about it.  

We will show you how to enjoy the convenience of renting without breaking the bank. So, buckle up for some money-saving tips below.  

  1.  Explore the Options Available To You 

Do not go for the first option you stumble across because you are in a hurry to rent a car. Take the time to do some research first. The advantage is you have tons of resources online. 

Let’s say you have just arrived in Monroeville and need to rent a car. The process is as easy as typing out a search query like Toyota dealerships near me. You will get many results, giving you tons of options to choose from.  

A walk through any of the car dealership websites will give you a lot of information. It also doesn’t hurt to read customer reviews. Call them up and ask about pricing. It helps to have a breakdown of what they cover. Collect a few quotes for purposes of comparison.  

  1. Check for Options on Car Rental Sites  

Use sites like rentalcars.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and Alamo when researching. They make the process a lot easier. You pick your date, pickup location, and type of vehicle.  

You get the advantage of competitive pricing without going through too much of a hassle. The car rentals may also throw in discounts that you may not get as an individual.  

Platforms like Autoslash can save you quite a bit. You get a list of quotes to make it easy to make price comparisons. The sites also allow for the inclusion of loyalty memberships from AAA or Costco.  

The platform will then search for discounts or coupons that can cut down the final cost. Even if you book one month in advance, you have the option of rebooking when the rates go lower.  

  1. Avoid Last-Minute and Airport Bookings

If you know you’re traveling to a destination that will need a car rental, make the bookings early.  It is especially critical if you will be traveling during peak seasons. Peak seasons have an influx of visitors to most destinations. The demand for car rentals will therefore be much greater.  

By avoiding last-minute bookings, you enjoy better pricing. Further, you avoid the disappointment of not having cars available when you need one.  

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Booking a vehicle at the airport can be a bit more expensive. The rental companies understand that you are in a crunch situation and will be willing to pay whatever price. 

They take advantage of your desperation to put higher pricing. Avoid such scenarios by booking early, so that the car is ready for you when you arrive. 

  1. Take Advantage of Car Rental Loyalty Programs

If you travel a lot, sign up for car rental loyalty programs. You earn rewards and can even qualify for free upgrades. Such programs also bump you up the list so you don’t have to wait in line for availability.  

You will always know about the upcoming deals, and the promotion codes, which will result in savings. The car rental companies will also give reasonable rates anytime you need a vehicle. Programs to consider include Arvis corporate rewards and Hertz Business Rewards.  

Another excellent program is from AAA. Members enjoy some fantastic discounts and other offers. Once you sign up, you get a discount code that can give you up to 20% savings on Hertz rentals. Other benefits are fuel discounts and unlimited mileage on the rentals.  

  1.  Don’t Be Afraid of Coupons and Bundling options

Many people associate coupons with people who don’t like to spend money.  But what do you care about other people’s opinions when you have money in the bank? Become the coupon super sleuth so that you land some fantastic deals.  

Combining the coupon savings with other loyalty programs means you save more.  You can find such savings in companies like Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Payless Car, and Zipcar.  

Next, think about bundling as a cost-saving option. That means you get flight, hotel, and car rental as a package.  

Travelocity and Expedia have such offerings. You find that you save quite a bit instead of going for each as an individual option. 

  1. There is No Shame in Asking For Discounts

Do not agree to pay full price if you can land a good discount. It will surprise you that the car rental company can shave off some of the cost. But, they will not offer it up front and will instead wait for you to ask. 

You may even get higher discounts if you mention your frequent flyer memberships. It is a sign that you are a constant traveler who can translate to good business for them. 

Some of the companies have special offers for specific groups of people.  Such include military discounts for current and former members. 

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Government employees can also get up to 25% discount in companies like Budget, Enterprise, and Alamo. Do not forget to carry proof of service, because they will require it.  

  1. Be Wise with Credit Card Usage

Some credit card companies have benefits that you can utilize when renting a car. You can, for example, qualify for insurance benefits. It frees you from having to buy separate rental car insurance.  

Credit card companies may offer insurance as part of their perks. But, do note that it binds you to pay the entire rental cost from the credit card. You have to decide whether the interest you will pay will result in savings or not for you.  

The type of insurance cover also matters. Some will not offer liability insurance. You may need to take it from the rental company or use your own. 

Even if you have to purchase the insurance, shop around. There is nothing that ties you to having to buy it from the rental company.  

  1. Go Through the Rental Documents Carefully

Car rental companies have different terms and conditions governing the use of their vehicles.  It pays to read their policies carefully before signing on the dotted line. Some companies will, for example, charge you for early or late returns.  

If you know that you may not return the car at the scheduled hour, negotiate for some leeway with the return time. But, do note, some may add a little cash on top. But, it will save you from paying the penalty amount.  

You may also be liable for some costs that you may think come with the package. They may, for example, charge for GPS services. Yet, you can find the same functionality from your smart device.  

Do you know that even a child’s car seat comes at an extra cost? It can be anywhere within the range of $10 to $15 every single day. Cut out this extra cost by bringing your own. Depending on how long you will stay, it may be cheaper to buy one.  

Again it goes back to weighing the options available and putting a cost on each. See where you can make the best savings and take advantage of it.  

Another fee you may not be aware of is toll charges. Companies like Hertz will charge almost $6 anytime you use the PlatePass. The same applies to the other rental companies like Budget, Enterprise, Arvis, and Alamo. 

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Having your toll transponder can help you avoid such convenience fees. Also, see if you can sign up for local toll passes to cut out unnecessary fees.  

Be clear on all rental costs from the very beginning. You avoid any nasty surprises when you get the final bill.  

  1. Assess the Condition of the Car 

Examine the car thoroughly before you take it. It could have a dent or scratch that you are not aware of.  But, on bringing back the car, the rental company charges you for it. Take pictures if you must, as proof of the car’s condition. 

Check how much gas you have when you take the vehicle. Some will give a full tank and expect the same when you return.  It makes it easier because then you only pay for what you use. 

Also, ask about things like cleaning the car after use. Some rentals will cover the cost in the fee. Others will charge you as a separate item, or ask that you return the vehicle clean.  

  1.  Be Careful About Pre-Payment Options 

Repayment options are available in many car rental companies. It may be a fantastic idea because you can save quite a bit.  But the locked-in conditions may end up costing you quite a bit.  

It means if you cannot travel as per schedule for any reason, you may end up losing that money. Cancellations or booking modifications could carry a steep penalty. It gets worse if the cancellation is within 24 hours of pickup time.   

  1. Think Functionality and Only Rent When You Need to

The fancier the car, the more expensive it will be for you. Go for something practical without compromising on functionality and comfort. Also, pay attention to factors like fuel and how much time you will need to be on the road. 

A 2500 CC engine will be more expensive to fuel than a 1500 CC car. If alone, what is the point of hiring a carrier that is ideal for up to 6 people? 

Also, there is no point in renting a car if it will spend most of the day in parking. Let’s take the example that you’re going on a business trip. Your points of transit will be between the hotel and meeting areas.  

You may stay holed up in a meeting the entire day. After that, it is back to the hotel. In such a case, it may not make too much sense to rent a car. It may be more affordable to use public transportation or taxis.  

The advantage is that major cities have excellent transport networks.  Of course, the case does not apply if you are making a road trip. So, determine how much you will use the car and decide whether to have a full-time rental.  

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Final Thoughts

We have shared excellent ways to save some money when renting a car. Make bookings early to avoid the last-minute rush. Don’t rent a car at the airport because they are more expensive there.  

Shop around and take advantage of online aggregators like kayak.com, car rentals.com and Priceline.  

They give you easy access to price comparisons. You also get information on discounts, coupons, and other money-saving benefits.  

Read the policy documents of the rental companies and get a clear breakdown of the costs.  It helps to know upfront precisely what you are paying for.  Also, take note of penalties for early or late returns.  

With the 14 tips above, renting a car does not mean spending tons of cash.

 

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