The cost of renting a car while traveling can vary greatly. However, you do not have to spend a fortune on a rental car. Consider the following tips to stay within your travel budget:
Don’t Rent From the Airport
Picking up your rental car at the airport can be fast, however, you may be charged extra fees for that convenience. In fact, some rental car companies will charge you a 10 to 30 percent convenience fee for renting at the airport. Consider taking a taxi or public transportation to reach a rental facility that is separate from the airport.
It is a good idea to comparison shop before you book a rental car. Compare the prices of at least three different rental agencies before you choose one. You may want to continue shopping around even after you have booked your car. Unless the rental agency has a no-refund policy, you may be able to cancel, even last minute, and get a better deal.
Choose an Economy Car
Economy cars are the least expensive car option offered by rental agencies. However, if you are taking your family or a group on a trip, then economy may not be a good choice since the cars are typically small, light and have little space for luggage. Even if you choose an economy vehicle, keep in mind that most rental agencies give you the option of upgrading your vehicle at the rental counter. Always ask the representative if a better car can be had at the same or minimal extra cost.
Stick to One Driver
You will likely be charged a fee if you add an extra driver. However, there are some rental agencies that will waive the fee if the other driver is a domestic partner or spouse. You may also be able to get the fee waived if the other driver is immediate family or a co-worker on a business trip. Ask about your options before you book if more than one person will be driving the car.
Reserve the Car Longer
By reserving a car for a longer period of time, you will typically pay a lower base rate per day. Most companies will give you a pro-rated refund if you decide to take the car back early.
Do Not Buy Insurance from the Car Rental Agency
Most car rental agencies will give you the option of buying extra insurance, which is typically very expensive. You may not need extra insurance if you have a AAA membership or your own car insurance. You may also be able to get insurance through from your credit card company. Your travel insurance policy may also cover rental cars, so you don’t want to purchase the same insurance twice. Be sure to check your existing policies to make sure you have adequate coverage.
Skip the Extras
Many rental car agencies will give you the option of various extras, such as roadside assistance, GPS, insurance and satellite radio. However, if you are trying to save money, then you should skip all of these and rely on your existing memberships and devices.
There are many ways to save money on your rental car when traveling. As when purchasing travel insurance, be sure to compare rates and services to ensure you have a perfect and cost-effective match for your trip. Safe travels!