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Traveling is fun, but it can also become expensive if you do not find little quirks that will save you money. Sure, everyone has their own way of doing things to save money on flights, rooms, and entertainment, but what about rental cars? I have traveled the world, and these are the five guidelines I go by when reserving a rental car to save money.
The first and most important thing to do when choosing a rental car is to compare prices and look for loyalty programs. There are a plethora of websites that will do all of the work for you when you are searching for the most affordable rental car. These sites will provide prices and availability from various competitors. Once you have chosen the best deal for your rental car, it is time to do some detective work. Research the rental car agency to see if there are perks for continuing to use their service. Signing up for programs like these could help cut costs with future rental car needs. Some rental car agencies will give you priority service by letting you choose any car on the lot, allowing you to skip ahead of the line, and prioritizing your rental car needs to take precedence over others. If you travel frequently, these perks will be convenient and save you time and money. When traveling internationally, it may be helpful to allow a travel agency to help with the rental car process. Alternatively, you can research the international airport to see what car rental companies are available. This will help eliminate confusion and allow you to determine which is more affordable.
Second, you should consider getting your own insurance. Most insurance companies will provide protection for your rental car if you have full coverage insurance. Check with your insurance provider or get your own personal coverage to save money on the rental car. This will help you avoid the inflated cost of insurance that most rental car companies will pressure you to purchase. Select one or two designated drivers to be covered on the policy to reduce the cost if you chose to get insurance through the rental car agency. Some agencies have third-party providers for insurance to make sure that you can get the best rate possible. Be inquisitive about all options if you want the best cost. Keep in mind that some banks provide free coverage on rental cars when you book the reservation using your credit or debit card. Currently, the most beneficial cards are distributed by Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Ink Business Preferred℠, and Secured Mastercard® from Capital One.
It is just as important to be aware of gimmicks and read reviews if you decide to go directly to a car rental agency without a travel agent or third-party website. Some companies may offer a rental car for a ridiculously low price to lure you in, but there could be several hidden fees. Who has time to read all the fine print? Ask the agent questions that pertain specifically to your needs such as: is there an extra fee for returning the car to a different location? Will the price per day increase if you need the vehicle longer than anticipated? This is extremely important if you are traveling to a different state or planning a one-way trip. Discuss the cost for tolls, roadside assistance, and any other concerns that you may have. Always examine the rental car for any damage before leaving the lot and bring it to their attention. Verify that the correct mileage is on the odometer and that the documented amount of gas in the rental car is correct. Reviews can also provide insight into billing issues that consumers have experienced in the past. Do not hesitate to read reviews and heed warnings that may result in additional charges.
Always look for discounts! Check with your employer to see if there are any employee discounts. Several companies offer incentives that include discounts on rental cars. Sometimes banks and other financial institutions offer discounts for you as well. These discounts usually come in the form of “cash back” after you have incurred the cost of the rental car. These discounts usually range between five to 20 percent. You should sign up to receive emails from your preferred rental car agency. There may be exclusive deals for customers on the mailing list as well as birthday or holiday specials.
Lastly, take care of the car and rent only what you need. It may be tempting to get the most luxurious rental car on the lot, but you have to stay focused in order to stay within your rental car budget. Choose a rental car that will suit the number of passengers you have and meet all of your cargo needs. Consider the cost of gas and the distance you are traveling. Being responsible can also save you money when using a rental car. Do not smoke in the rental car or partake in reckless driving. Violating the rules could result in additional fees.
These tips will help you save money and make smart decisions when renting a car. Remember to do your research, be inquisitive, and stay safe.