Better Budgeting: How to Save Money On Car Rentals

How to Save Money On Car Rentals

Save money on car rentals

Guest Article
by Nadia Ali 

If you know you will need to rent a car to move around with on your upcoming trip or vacation, plan ahead to avoid disappointment and to get the best deal. After all, who wants to settle for a car you have to peddle with your feet like Fred and Barney?

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Hop Online

The Internet is the best place to start. If you have a particular car rental company in mind enter the name and start searching. There are travel websites that will help you look, such as Kayak, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz. There are also specific car rental websites such as Carrentals and Vroom Vroom Vroom. These are especially good at finding the car type across all of the car rental companies according to location, car preference and airport location.

Got a Coupon For That?

Who said coupons are just for the supermarket? You can also get coupons and special codes for car rentals. All you need to do is search for "car rental coupons or codes" together with the present year to narrow down the search for coupons or codes that are available at the time of your search. Pages of deals come up encouraging you to get discounts, upgrade for free, special free add-on like a car seat but my favorite is the free navigation system. You can also get most discounts and coupon codes directly at the car rental company websites, without going through the travel sites. Look for a tab called "Specials".

Airport Ease at a Price

The obvious place to pick up your car rental when traveling on a plane is the airport. After all, what is the point of paying for a taxi to your hotel, to then rent a car? Airports make it easy by offering free shuttles to their doorstep where you then sign on the dotted line and drive away. Be aware that most times, there is a fee attached for the convenience of an airport drop off and pick up. For example, an economy car rental for one week through Expedia, picked up at say, Miami International Airport, can cost in the region of $500.00. According to today's search, the same car picked up at one of the Downtown Miami car rental companies will cost in the region of $200.00. That's a savings of $300.00.

Longer is Cheaper

The most expensive car rental rate is for one day. Don’t think that you are using it for the least amount of time and so the cost would be the cheapest. The longer you rent the car the cheaper per day it is to rent. For example, if you rent an economy car for one day the starting cost would be in the region of $20.00, whereas if you rent the same car for two days it would cost about $33.00 in total (for an average of $16.50 per day).

What’s That?

Before you swipe your card or sign on the dotted line make sure you know what you are agreeing to. Ensure you understand the fees, taxes, and any "extras".

When looking to rent a car for a couple of days check the rate for your desired travel days and then look at special deals on weekly rates. Sometimes it’s cheaper to rent the car for a full week, rather than a few days. Also, bear in mind that weekend rates are more expensive than weekdays.

According to Zagat, a company that uses consumer ratings to determine the "best of", Hertz is currently the top car rental company. So, the next time you are in the market for a car rental be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each company.

Plan ahead and make sure you drive away a steal of a deal on your next car rental.

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Copyright © 2013 by Nadia Ali. All rights reserved.

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