If you’ve ever rented a car, you know how expensive it can be. It’s not uncommon to pay upwards of $250 to use a rental car for 4-5 days. I’ve used a rental car at least a dozen times this year for work and noticed a few extra ways to save while renting a car.
1. Comparison shop, then Priceline It
I like certain brand for rental cars because some are just easier to deal with. But at the end of the day, we’re talking about the same car and if one place can get it to me 25% cheaper than another rental place, I’m going with the cheaper route.
First, I check the prices on Orbitz or Expedia. Once I find the cheapest rate and cheapest company, I’ll head over to Priceline. With the lowest price in hand (let’s say $40 a day) I’ll punch in the numbers at Priceline and request a rate of $25. The worst thing they can do is reject my bid. If Priceline rejects my bid, I’ll simply increase my price by $5 a day and keep trying. If they accept the bid, my credit card will be charged automatically, so be ready to commit when you put in your bid.
2. Don’t forget AAA or AARP
If you didn’t have the option to add your AAA number to the rental reservation online, be sure to tell the attendant at the counter. Members of AARP and other organizations can also get discounts, so ask the rental place which membership discounts they have.
3. Skip the GPSIf you travel enough, consider buying the TOM TOM app (for iPhones) and TOM TOM iPhone holder/charger/speaker. It’s not the cheapest setup (a little over $125 for both) but it pays for itself after a few rentals.
4. Double Check for Unlimited Mileage
It’s not necessarily a saving up front, but if you don’t have unlimited mileage, the rental place can really hit you hard with fees. Recheck your contract and make sure it includes unlimited mileage.
5. Fill it Yourself
This is obvious, but worth mentioning. Never prepay for gas and never return a car on empty. They’ll upcharge you on the gas and with gas prices already high, you don’t need to pay any more for fuel!
6. Book Early and use Coupons
Yes, car rental coupons exist. Do a quick search and book your rental early. My wife and I snagged a rental deal for less than $20 a day because we booked early and used a discount promo.
Have you used a rental car lately? What did you pay? OR What would you pay if you had to rent a car soon.