Traveling with a rented car is in many ways far more practical than using public transportation. By driving the vehicle yourself, you can reach any place or destination anytime you like without having to reserve a taxi, wait for a bus, or book tickets beforehand. Renting a car can have a downside when it comes to costs, however. A little knowledge about auto rental can save you over half of your expected car rental costs, which will help you in no small way. Avoid wasting your money on high rental cost by following these tips:
1. Order your car online
It is a no-brainer to find out that car rentals done over the Internet typically offer lower basic rates and give better discounts than booking by telephone. Another advantage is that by booking online you can also quickly browse several rental companies and do some comparisons of their services, quality of vehicles, and rates. You can also obtain these comparisons by visiting travel websites such as Hotwire.com, Expedia.com, Priceline.com, Alamo.com or Travelocity.com.
2. Book on weekends
If you have a flexible travel schedule, it is best to travel on weekends. Since businessmen are a major segment of their business during the week, and companies pay the bills, rates during the week are higher than on weekends. For instance, a subcompact that costs $65 per day on weekdays can cost as little as $23 on weekends.
3. Pick a smaller car offered
Unless you really need a bigger car, opt for a compact car. As these economy models are the most popular, the rentals may run out of them and then offer you to take a bigger at a higher price. Here's a trick worth trying: Refuse the offer and insist on getting a compact one. If you are lucky, you may get an upgrade to bigger car for the price of the smaller model.
4. Look out for extra costs
When a rental company sets the price under $20/day for a car, it is certainly a misleading ploy, as they will slap on various extras like fuel surcharges, taxes, insurance, etc. Watch for these hidden fees that will be mentioned on the reservation page. You might be surprised that these extras alone can cost twice the base rate that is advertised.
5. Skip the insurance page
Travel insurance might be a good idea if you are traveling on a long trip. However, most of the time you will not need to accept the insurance agreement. There is a greater chance that your own auto insurance policy or credit card company already provides collision coverage - one that is not far different from what the rental company has offered. Most extra insurance provided by rental car companies is expensive and contains unnecessary add-ons that generate high profit for the company itself.