There are plenty of expenses to consider, when planning a vacation. Airfare, accommodation, and ground transportation all take a big bite out of the budget. If you’re planning to rent a car, to get around on your next family holiday, RentACarNow.com has some tips and tricks that may save you some pretty major coin.
- Research discount codes and special rates. Your age, affiliation with the Automobile Association, even your job, may entitle you to a better rate on your rental. Find out which discounts may apply to you and then research which company will give you the best discount based on your situation.
- Avoid the temptation to go bigger. A larger, more luxurious car may be tempting, but it can also be costly. The agent behind the desk will probably try to sell you up. Remember that additional rental fees will also cost you additional taxes and the additional size will gobble up more gas. You don’t want to spend your vacation rolling up to drive-thru windows because you spent too much on your car.
- Book your car early, but keep watching the rates. Most car rental reservations can be cancelled without penalty. If you find a better rate, after you’ve booked, you’ll more than likely be allowed to cancel and book the better rate.
- Don’t book your rental at the airport. It is more convenient to pick your car up at the airport, and the rental company will charge you for that convenience. Mind you, when you’re travelling with little ones and slogging all their gear around, the convenience is sometimes worth paying for. But, you will save some money if you book your rental at an off-sight location. There will often be a free shuttle to take you and your luggage to the rental company, which makes things a bit easier. Check to be sure.
- Ensure that your rental agreement stipulates unlimited mileage. Most do, but double check. You don’t need any surprises at the end of a happy vacation. If you’re doing some serious sightseeing, it’s easy to rack up the kilometres without even realising it. Unlimited mileage means you can explore the back roads, to your heart’s content, without any second thoughts.
- Try to avoid one one-way rentals. Sometimes one-way is the only practical option, but if you can return the car to the same location you rented it from, you’ll usually avoid paying an additional drop-off fee. If your plans necessitate a one-way rental, make yourself aware of the fees in advance.
- You can ask the company to waive additional driver and underage fees. This, I did not know and I am very excited. Usually, if you want to add a second driver (or more), or if a driver is under the age of 25, you will incur additional charges.
When we’re travelling, my husband gets stuck doing all the driving, because we don’t want to pay for the additional driver (additional driver being me). I had no idea you could just say, “Hey, you know that fee for the second driver? Could you not charge us that?” I’m going to try it next time and see if it works.
- Don’t prepay for gas, or return the car with less than a full tank. It’s highway robbery, what the car company will charge you for gas. According to a recent article in USA Today, some rental companies will charge as much as $9.29 a gallon to top up the tank. Don’t give them the chance.
And, while we’re on the subject of outrageous fees, here’s a word of warning. DON’T SMOKE IN THE CAR. Practically all rental vehicles are non-smoking these days and it is illegal, in some jurisdictions, to smoke in a vehicle when children are in it. You don’t want a fine, and you certainly don’t want the $200 cleaning fee the rental company will stick you with, if they find out you were smoking in their car.
- I know you think you need insurance, but you probably don’t. Check to be sure, of course. Don’t take my word for it, but most people already have appropriate insurance coverage through their credit card or auto insurance policy. The rental agent will try to sell it to you, but if you don’t need it, don’t get it. There’s no point paying to be over-insured.
- Book your rental online. This gives you the opportunity to comparison shop, quickly, easily and from the comfort of your own home; without the hassle of making half a dozen phone calls or taking a trip to a travel agent’s office. Online rates are often better anyway.
So, there you go; lots of information to save you oodles of money on your next car rental. Now you can take all that extra cash and upgrade your hotel or buy souvenirs! – Jen R, Staff Writer