Does $40 a day for a rental car sound reasonable? Of course it does! Is $40 a day the price you will actually pay when you rent a car? Of course it isn’t!
When renting a car, you expect at least some sort of additional fees. From personal experience, I remember having to pay extra on certain days of the week and for cars with particular amenities. I also recall additional fees for excessive mileage, insurance, and location pick-up/drop-off.
So what should you look for and expect when renting a car for a business trip or get-away with the gals? I’ve compiled some tips to help you save time and money during your next car rental experience.
Early Bird Doesn’t Always Get the Deal
So you’re vacation is cut short for some reason – a family emergency, inclement weather at your destination, or some other situation. You would think when you return your car rental early you would be reimbursed or credited for the remaining time, right? Wrong. In fact, some agencies add an early return fee to your tab. Additionally, if you initially received a discount based on a particular promotion, it may no longer apply if the car is returned before originally scheduled. Tip: Be sure to ask about both early and late return policies.
Convenience Isn’t Always Economical
Sure, it’s nice to get off the airplane, walk a few steps, and pick up your rental. There’s no disputing that. However, that convenience is costing you in the form of recover concession fees and shuttle buses to parking lots. Tip: It’s at least worth a look into the cost of a taxi or bus ride to a nearby car rental location.
Mother Knows Best
The Miracles’ famous song goes “My mama told me, you better shop around.” Who knew that song was actually about renting a car? So maybe that isn’t the true meaning behind the lyric, but the message is clear: compare before you settle. Don’t reserve your car rental from the first place you call simply because their deal sounds good, and you just want to get it done. Sure, we’re all busy, but that’s why companies like Expedia.com and Kayak.com exist. They do the work for you. All you need to dos is spend five minutes setting up an alert, and you will be informed of the best deals based on your preferences. Tip: Check out online forums, set up alerts, use social media – do whatever necessary to get helpful information from more experienced travelers before making a decision.
Reputable sites including US News and The New York Times offer a number of additional tips and tricks that can help you secure the best car rental deal. Depending on your particular situation, it may behoove you to also look into the newest innovation in the vehicle industry known as car sharing.