When looking for a short ride across the city, a taxi or Uber is often the cheapest option. However, when on vacation or an extended work trip, many still choose to rent a car. Of course, even a short term rental car can cost quite a lot! However, it doesn’t have to be that expensive! Read on to discover tips for receiving the cheapest rental car possible…
Look For Organization Ties
Many organizations, especially those dedicated to road safety and insurance, have special rental car discount codes and promotions for their members. Organizations from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars to AAA to insurance companies like Geico all offer discounts to select car rental agencies. Some employers, like Walmart, even have deals for their employees at specific agencies. So, before your next vacation or work trip, look through the clubs and organizations you belong to. Chances are that at least one will make your ride a little cheaper.
Think About Credit Card Perks
Just like clubs and organizations, many credit card companies offer exclusive perks for those renting cars. Companies like Visa and Mastercard offer everything from cashback to covered insurance, depending on where you rent from. Many don’t think about insurance for their rental car, thinking that their personal insurance will cover anything that happens. However, if your credit card gets you free travel insurance, why not? Even better, you can use that free insurance to cover someone else to drive the car, if on vacation with a partner or the like.
Don’t Ask For Much
Driving alone or traveling with only two people? Don’t look at big expensive cars and don’t add a second driver. Economy cars are usually the cheapest and don’t need a lot of gas. “When renting a car, I reserve the smallest, most affordable vehicle possible, knowing there’s a chance it won’t be on the lot, and I’ll get an upgrade,” family finance expert Brett Graff says. As for additional drivers, it will cost about $15 fee to add this feature. Members of USAA, AARP, AAA, or Costco usually have this feature for free, though. See, we told you it pays to look at your membership! You should also say no to GPS navigation, car seats, Sirius XM, and other add-ons. After all, your smartphone comes with most of that built-in!
We know, we know, hopping from website to website feels tedious and tiring. Unfortunately, it’s still the best way to get a great deal. To make the process faster and easier, use aggregator websites like Trivago and Kayak. These sites pull offers from all over the web, including the best travel sites, like Expedia and Priceline. A word of warning, however: sometimes booking through one of these websites can give you a great deal, but one that voids any bonuses or discounts you would receive from AAA, Costco, or other memberships.
Don’t Book At The Airport
However you decide to book your rental car, do not book at the airport! First of all, since its the final time to book, prices at the airport are always many times higher than online prices. Secondly, airport locations tack on fees no one else needs to pay. For example, to rent a car in the Portland International Airport, a traveler pays an extra $6 per day “Customer Facility Charge” and 10% “Concession Recovery Fee,” which online consumers do not have to pay.
Of course, in cities with excellent public transportation, like Chicago or New York, you might be able to get away with no rental car whatsoever. In fact, walking saves you not only money, but also burns calories and lets you see more of the city. However, if you need a car, look out for killer deals with the tips learned above!