When you book online in advance you will almost always get a better deal than at the counter. And it’s easier and quicker. The last thing you want to do after a long flight is to deal with car rental companies at the airport and negotiate a deal.
Be sure to take all your documents with you as proof of hire and your rates to avoid any hassles (scan and save in your email account
Just like when you search for flights it pays to check prices frequently as they do change – different days can have different rates. If you use an aggregator site that searches all the major rental car companies at once it’s fairly quick and painless.
And compared to flights, the great thing about renting a car is that reservations often times can be cancelled and re-booked without fees, and in most cases, your credit card doesn’t get charged until you pick-up the car.
So if you do book early with no cancellation penalties and the price drops before you pick up your car you can always cancel and re-book. Sometimes car companies will drop their prices just before a weekend if they have excess stock.
When searching for cheap rental cars online, the pick-up and drop-off times are typically in half-hour increments. Try tweaking these times and see if it affects your rates.
Sometimes tacking on an extra day to that weekly rental, or even adding a couple of hours to extend it over a weekend, can actually lower your rate. This strategy takes advantage of lower prices aimed at leisure travellers who are more likely to travel on weekends. Weekend rates are great, but weekly rates can be the best of all.
Think carefully about what type of vehicle you need. Sure it might be tempting to go for the big SUV or the fancy sports car, but always think fuel consumption and the practicalities of your car.
Being comfortable is important so you enjoy your road trip. Don’t go small and cheap if you are crammed in like sardines.
Book the lowest class vehicle you’ll comfortably need, and chances are you might get a free upgrade at the counter, which often happens to us! Just make sure you can afford the increased fuel costs of an upgraded bigger car!
Off-airport locations are typically cheaper than airport locations (they tack on fees). Look in nearby neighbourhood locations to save money. Just make sure the downtown branch is not on the outskirts of the city limits meaning a long and costly taxi ride.
This strategy is best applied in cities that have efficient and affordable public transport to get you to the dealer without hassle.
You can’t beat an ‘on-airport’ pick-up for convenience, but an ‘off-airport’ pick-up with a shuttle bus can be much cheaper!
If you don’t need your rental car immediately, take the complimentary shuttle to your accommodation and book a car for the next day. You’ll save a day’s rental and should pay less being an off-airport location. And do the same at the end of your trip.
Obvious I know, but one-way drop off fees can be huge and make it difficult to find cheap rental cars. Where possible plan your trip so that you return your rental car to its original location.
Make sure your rental includes the unlimited mileage option and you can take your car where you need to go. The last thing you want to worry about is g
Some rental car companies will require you to return the car with the same amount of fuel it had in the tank at pick-up.