Getting the best deals on car rentals can save travelers a lot of money. But finding the best deals can be a time-consuming endeavor.
Using an online price comparison site can help streamline the process. These sites search many different rental companies at once. They also offer one-stop shopping for discounts and rewards programs.
Like airfare, car rental rates tend to increase closer to the date of your trip. By booking early, you’ll be able to secure a great rate. Plus, most rental car companies won’t impose cancellation fees if you decide to cancel your reservation.
That said, booking closer to your rental date is okay if you’re traveling during a non-peak period, and you can be flexible with your dates. Monitor prices as they fluctuate daily, and compare rates from multiple rental car companies.
Look for Discounts
Car rental aggregator sites are great for finding cheap rates, but there are many ways to snag an even better deal. For instance, many credit cards and travel loyalty programs offer bonus car rental deals, as do membership organizations.
Rental agents make money by selling extras like roadside assistance and satellite radio. Resist their urgings and politely decline the offers, mainly since your smartphone works as a GPS for free.
Another typical rip-off is having the rental company fill up your gas tank and charge you an exorbitant rate for the privilege. Avoid this scam by getting your fuel before returning the vehicle.
Look for Deals on Last-Minute Bookings
If you’re willing to risk a last-minute booking, look on the rental car company’s website like Monza Exotics. Rates are often lower than set by number crunchers for aggregators.
In addition, when you book through an aggregator site, you can check rates regularly. You can cancel your original reservation without paying the fee typically associated with walk-up bookings.
Look for Deals on Multiple Vehicles
Many people think they are saving money by booking a car through an aggregator site only to find out they’re paying additional fees like GPS, satellite radio, and roadside assistance. These are fees that your vehicle insurance (and often, credit card) already covers.
If you’re renting for over a week, look at the weekly rate instead of the daily rate. It’s sometimes cheaper and may even let you return the car early without getting charged.
Also, consider peer-to-peer rental options. They offer vehicles at set rates rather than inflated prices shown by traditional agencies.
Look for Deals on Short-Term Rentals
During the Carpocalypse, there are plenty of alternatives to rental cars that can save you money and hassle. For example, a multi-day transit pass is often cheaper than renting a car for one day if traveling in a city with an extensive public transit system.
Another alternative is renting a vehicle from a peer-to-peer car-sharing company, which allows you to rent cars from private owners for a fraction of the cost of traditional rental agencies. You can also rent unique electric and sports cars through these services.
Check discount codes, coupons, and membership perks for deals. Also, be sure to compare weekly rates with daily rates—sometimes, renting a vehicle for a week rather than just a few days is cheaper.
Look for Deals on Fuel
Public transportation, taxis, and ridesharing services are a good choice for many travelers, but there are occasions when a car rental is necessary. Companies that offer a variety of makes, models, and sizes are a draw for people looking to save money on their next trip.
Avoid renting from agencies that charge for a full gas tank, as these charges can add up quickly. Instead, plan to refuel shortly before returning the vehicle.
Use a site to find cheaper rates on your reservation, as it tracks prices and notifies you when they go down. The site also searches various agencies, including off-airport options and peer-to-peer rentals through Turo.