Renting a car is a little bit of a mixed bag. If you’re a glass half full kind of person, it can be fun to try out a new car. And when you rent a car, it’s clean, in good condition, and often has very few miles. It might be something you’ve never driven before. It’s fun!
If you’re a glass half empty kind of person, renting a car means spending money on something, and often something that you already have at home. And it means going through the not very fun process of finding a rental car.
If you’ve rented a car before, you’re probably familiar with the feeling that you didn’t get the best price. But don’t worry, we can help with that. Here’s how to spend less and get more on your next car rental.
1. Check the budget options
No, not Budget like the rental car company. Budget like spending less money.
Most people automatically go to the large rental corporations, but oftentimes you can get just as nice of a car, for a much better price, if you check the smaller companies. Don’t be scared to rent a car from a company just because you haven’t seen their commercials on TV.
Many smaller rental car companies offer great prices, and then make more money nickel-and-diming you with tricks like charging ludicrous prices for gas if you leave the tank empty, or up-selling features that you don’t need.
If you’re just getting the car, smaller companies will often give the best prices.
2. Use aggregation sites
It can be daunting to check every company’s website, and you’ll usually miss some options if you do that manually. But if you use an aggregator site, they’ll collect most of the companies for you, so you can easily compare rates.
3. Avoid the airport at all costs
Every airport has tons of rental car agencies. However, because so many travelers need rental cars, airport prices are way higher than elsewhere. Even if you have to pay for a ride to a rental car agency away from the airport, you’ll likely save money.
4. Skip insurance
Rental car insurance is one of the areas where agencies make the most money. The prices are lucrative, and they really try to convince you that you need it.
However, most car insurance policies already cover rental cars, and many credit cards even offer rental car insurance. Check with your car insurance agent to see if you’re protected, and you can save on that pricey option.
5. Check for all rebates
Lots of different things provide rebates at car rental agencies. From unions, to employers, to Costco memberships, all sorts of groups and companies can get you a rebate.
If you don’t have any available to you, you can also use a discount web browser extension to try and find you a good rebate.
6. Decline the extras
Most rental car places will try to sell you a lot of different extras for the car. A lot of those extras are either unneeded, or already exist in your phone (like a GPS). Resist the sales pitch, and say no to the things that cost extra.
7. Get the cheapest car you’re OK with
If you book a car ahead of time, you’ll often find yourself at the rental agency, and they don’t have the type of car you reserved and paid for. If that happens, they’re obligated to give you a more expensive car for the same price.
Get the cheapest car you’re willing to rent. Worst case, you end up with it for a good price. Best case, you get upgraded for free.
With these tips and tricks you can be in an affordable rental car in no time.