As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
While you’re on vacation, you may not want to take your own car; or, depending on the distance, you may need to fly to the city. If this is the case, then renting a car is a valid option for getting around at your destination. Instead of spending your entire budget on a car rental, follow these tips to get the best rates possible. We are considering a trip to DC this summer, and most Washington DC hotels have information about where to rent a car as well as some coupons that can be used to save on the fees. But, really, these tips apply to anywhere you may be traveling.
Start by choosing a car rental agency where you can pick up and drop off the car at the same location. If you are flying, then this would be a little easier as you would get the car when you arrive and drop it off when you are back from your trip. If you aren’t flying, then try to rent from a location where it will be easy to take it back after you are finished with the car. Going to two different cities might cost a little more with the deposits, but if you can break the trip down into large trips instead of several shorter ones, then you will do yourself a favor with the money that you save.
Some rental agencies have a “loyalty club” that you can join. These are a great way to earn free rentals days, especially if you are a frequent traveler.
When it comes to covering the car for damage, make sure you have full knowledge of what you are paying for since you may not need the optional coverage. Most insurance companies have some type of car rental coverage.
There are also credit cards that have discounts on car rentals. The only thing that you will have to do is use the credit card that is offering the discount.
Look at the size of the car that you need. If you an get by with a small car, then get the smallest car possible. Not only will the rental rates be cheaper, but you won’t have to pay as much in gas.
I also suggest asking for a brand of car that you are familiar with driving. I always say, “Do you have any Toyotas available?” We have 3 Toyotas at home, and access to 2 more. That’s what we’re used to and they’re all designed pretty much the same. It makes it easy to find controls – such as cruise control and windshield wipers – which are not so easily found on a model you’re unfamiliar with. The rental agencies are usually happy to accommodate your request.
Use your own car seats if you have children because most companies will charge an extra fee if you rent their car seats. However, if you are flying, some airlines will charge you to check the car seat and consider it an extra bag, so it might be less expensive to rent one.
Fill the car up with gas yourself instead of using the rates that the rental company charges. The price per gallon will be a good bit more, and it will be taken out of your deposit if the car needs to be filled up when you return the car.
Do you have any of your own car rental tips/tricks to share?