Rental cars are a steep cost of doing business. While easy to overlook when the employer is picking up the tab, these prices become painfully obvious when one has to open the wallet themselves. However, vacationers and the self-employed do not have to resign themselves to these exorbitant rental car fees. Here are six tips one can employ in order to limit the damage.
1. Weekend Warrior
Choosing when to travel is not always an option. When it is, consider taking advantage of weekends. Discounts are available across the traveling board on the weekends and this is especially true concerning rental cars. At high profile rental car agencies, weekend discounts on compacts and similar vehicles reach as high as fifty percent.
2. Book Ahead
Many travelers approach the car rental as an afterthought but travelers should book them in advance just as they would rooms and flights. When purchasing a flight and room package through major booking sites, customers can often have the rental car factored in. Many bundled discounts will essentially include the car rental free of charge. Even if you do not book the flight and room in advance, save money by booking the car rental ahead of time through the rental agency’s website. Make sure to consider the third tip when doing this.
3. Take the Shuttle
Whether one rents the car ahead of time or at arrival, avoid using the car rental agencies at the airport. The on-site agencies pay a premium to the airport that they pass on to the customers in the rental fees that they charge. It can be an inconvenience when traveling with children but try to take the shuttle from the airport to the rental agency in town. Many travelers would be amazed at the savings they can achieve by taking advantage of in-town pricing.
Discount codes for rental car agencies were once limited to businesses and frequent travelers. However, the Internet has changed this and now there are websites that specialize in these types of discounts and codes, making them available to everyone. Begin monitoring these sites as soon as possible. The discount codes often have long life spans. Moreover, continue monitoring even after the booking is complete. Many rental agencies will allow you to apply the discount at the time of pick-up on top of already established savings.
5. Eschew Insurance
Despite the agencies trying to sell it to everyone, most people do not require rental car insurance. That’s because most everyone with personal automobile insurance policy gets rental car coverage included. In many states, it’s a law. Travelers should verify this with their insurance company so that they know whether they need to pay this additional fee.
6. Walk Around
Make sure to have a camera phone or digital camera with you when you pick up the rental car. Take the necessary few minutes to walk around the car with the agency representative and note any damage. Photograph the car from all reasonable angles and have the sales rep sign off on it. People who do not travel frequently might be amazed at how often rental car agencies apply surcharges for small damages.