Car rental deals can be nearly impossible to find, especially if your search is a narrow one. Therefore, your best bet in finding a great deal on a car rental rate is to broaden your search. Taking the time to comparison shop may lead you to the best car rental deals out there. Great car rental rates are out there, but you have to know how to find them. Follow these tips to locate the best rates for your next car rental.
Avoid Renting From the Airport
If at all possible, avoid getting your rental car from the airport. Car rental companies that are based within airports are notorious for charging higher prices, due in part to a high business overhead and fees that they are required to pay to the airport. The result is a higher rental price for you, the consumer. If you find yourself at the airport in need of a rental car, try some money-saving tips such as:
- Take a bus or train to the nearest town and pick up your rental car there.
- Reserve your rental car online prior to your trip and take advantage of any online deals.
Look For Bundled Package Deals
If you will be renting a car for a trip or vacation, be sure to disclose that information to your travel agent and keep that in mind when searching the Internet for car rentals. Look for bundled package deals when planning your trip. For example, if you search for airline flights and car rentals together, you may find a great deal on the two when purchased as a package. Generally, the more you purchase the more you can save, so if you need an airline flight, hotel stay and car rental, you may be able to find a well-discounted rate for a package containing all three.
Check Out Major Booking Sites
By browsing travel sites on the Internet, you will be able to comparison shop. When researching car rental deals, a major booking site is a good place to begin, get your bearings and make an educated decision. You will see several car companies listed and rates will be posted for each. You will able to narrow down your choices by location and price, and you will have many additional options to consider. Some major booking sites will narrow the search further to list cars by manual or automatic transmission, and may include such options as unlimited miles for your rental. Even if you don’t book a car rental on one of these sites, you will able to move forth with a better knowledge of competitive pricing.
Search For Discount Codes, Specials and Coupons
Whether you've called rental companies or searched the Internet, you have probably been asked if you have any discount codes or coupons. Coupons can be found in your local newspaper along with advertisements posted by rental companies. Additionally, you may find coupons inside entertainment books or coupon books that you purchase from schools. Some may even arrive in the mail. Oftentimes, you may come across coupons and discount codes for special offers on the Internet. There are several websites that boast "special" codes and coupons. Simply enter the term "car rental coupons" into your favorite search engine and you will be directed to dozens of websites. Be sure to read through all of the regulations and watch for any hidden fees.
Check Out Lesser Known Rental Companies
While many car rental companies have become household names, there is no shortage of smaller companies out there that you may not have heard of. When researching the best car rental deals, it is advantageous to look at all companies, big and small. You may be surprised to find that the best deal may be hiding at a lesser known company. These companies may not be well known by the average driver, but that doesn't mean they will not be able to offer you a great car rental deal.
Go Directly To the Rental Company Websites
Major booking sites are a good place to begin your search and get a handle on car rental pricing, but in many cases it is best to go directly to the source. Once you have acquired some knowledge about basic prices, go to a car rental company website and begin your quote.
Stay Away From Extras
Many rental companies like to offer extras to their consumers. The truth is, in many cases you don't need them and agreeing to extras will just increase your total bill. Of course there may be instances where you really do need to add an extra to your bill. For example, if you are traveling with an infant or child, you may need to add car seat restraints. Some extras that you can probably do without include:
- GPS navigation system
- Rental Insurance (if you are already an insured driver)
- Luggage rack (if you do not have excess luggage)
Watch Out For Hidden Fees And Added Costs
Just when you think you've gotten the cheapest deal for your car rental, a glance at your bill shows that you suddenly have a higher cost than you originally budgeted for. Beware of hidden fees and added costs that may have been tacked onto your bill after you agreed on a rental price. Possible hidden costs to inquire about ahead of time include:
- Sales tax
- Airport surcharges
- Licensing fees
- Gas charges
- Drop off charges (if at a different location)
- Early return fees
- Age penalties
- Additional driver fees
The best way to ensure that you get the best deal on your next car rental is to be an educated consumer. If you know your price points and comparison shop, with a little time and effort, you will find the best deal to fit your budget. If you're not sure about a rental or think it's too good to be true, ask questions and be aware of hidden fees or other surcharges that may inflate the price. By being well-informed and doing your research, you are more likely to get the best rental car rate available.