Rental cars are a convenient way to vacation, do business, or get around while your own vehicle is being serviced. However, research and advance planning can pay off in big savings if you take the time to consider the following when evaluating that next special offer:
1. This Car Fits Me Fine.
The temptation to try out that full-sized vehicle can also cost a full-sized budget. Tailor your needs to fit the number of people and belongings for your excursion. Sometimes the adage about “less is more” can suit (and fit) you quite well in both space and pocket.
2. Does This Car Look Good On Me?
The question should be, does it really matter? Although car rental companies can sometimes make seeming lucrative offers for larger vehicles, more car usually means more money. Unless this is deemed necessary, think economically in favor of putting that extra cash towards your trip instead.
3. …But Sometimes, More Means Less
As with many services, the more you buy, the better the discount. Although by no means an absolute, in many cases, the per-day fee breakdown will amount to less than the daily rate when renting a car for a full week. However, reference the company’s policy on early return in order to assure that there are no hidden penalties for last minute changes of plans.
4. You’re Worth The Competition
Unless there is only one car rental company in town, most are vying for your business. As such, compare the various deals, discounts and offers to be found through their respective marketing sources such as web pages, newspapers, direct mail, or just call around and have them each quote you directly. While many secondary companies or websites such as those for travel and hospitality may offer specials or coupons, the best rates in town are sometimes found directly with the rental companies themselves.
5. One-Stop Shopping
Sometimes, an entire trip can be planned in just a few quick steps. Book your hotel, flight, and car rental through an all-in-one package deal for added convenience and further relief to your bank account. While these types of offers abound in the travel and leisure industry, not all are necessarily always going to give you a true “bang for your buck”. Draft an overall expense estimate comparing the package to “building” your vacation or business trip in separate pieces. Whichever way is more economical is the appropriate one for you. NOTE: Don’t forget to figure in “hidden expenses” not covered, such as alcoholic beverages, certain meals, and those must-have souvenirs!
6. Be Covered
Car rental companies offer their own insurance agreements. However, many people will waive this in favor of allowing their own auto insurance to cover the rental vehicle. Contact your agent to verify your policy standards, and also to inquire about any discounts they also may offer. Although assuming personal responsibility for rental insurance coverage can save you some money at the outset, bear in mind that the extra $10-30 for the rental provision in most cases completely absolves you from all responsibility on the occasion of accidents or damage. Sometimes it is money well spent to avoid your insurance provider and you from having to pursue a claim on your own behalf.
7. Is My Credit Card All It Can Be?
Are you using your credit card to its full advantage? A good number of credit cards contain various bonus point and discount offers for car rentals and insurance. Look to their website or call a representative directly to find out the benefits if you are unsure.
8. I’m A Member
Various organizations provide incentives for car rentals as benefits to being a member. Beyond roadside assistance, unions, professional or social groups, among many others, sometimes offer direct discounts.