Are you headed on a road trip across town but don’t want to use your own car? Do you want to visit multiple cities in just one trip? If the answer is yes, renting a car is your best option! Not only does it give you freedom and flexibility but is the most convenient way to get around while traveling!
But before booking any rental car, you must consider many factors, such as restrictions, car features, pricing, and so much more, which can definitely add to your frustration! Luckily, with the right research and smart booking tips, you’ll be able to choose the right vehicle to fit your needs and enjoy a stress-free vacation. So if you’re ready, here are 5 car rental tips that will save you money, time, and frustration.
1) Choosing a Vehicle
Figure out what type of vehicle is needed during your trip. If you’re traveling with family or with a lot of gear, you may want to consider a large sedan or SUV. If you’re looking for something simple to take you around or want to save money on rental rates and gas, a hybrid car should be considered. If you are looking to enjoy breathtaking views when driving down the coast? Consider a sporty convertible.
Still indecisive on which car you want? Start by visiting sites like TravelCar, which gives you a wide selection of car models and car brands to fit your travel needs!
2) Booking a Vehicle
Before jumping the gun, make sure you shop around first. There are so many car rental companies — but depending on where you’re traveling, rates can vary, so do your research! Reading reviews online about the company can really help you make a decision.
Shop around and compare rates. Check to see if there are any discounts or promotion coupons available, frequent flier programs and credit card programs to which you may belong.
Try to avoid booking last minute so that you can ensure to find the best rates.
3) Read the Fine Print
Make sure you READ and UNDERSTAND the terms and conditions before confirming your rental. Many times, it’s easy to misread something and end up with several unknown charges you are unaware of because of it. In order to avoid this, make sure to ask the right questions prior, ask about:
- No-show fees
- Additional driver fees
- Age liability
- Late returns and drop-off charges
- Travel restrictions
When booking a car, always get a confirmation number. For airport rentals, it’s necessary to give the customer service representative your flight number and scheduled arrival time. This helps to protect your reservation if the flight is delayed.
4) Understand Pricing
Do not always rely on the price you see advertised in big print – always keep in mind of the following additional fees:
- State and local taxes
- Airport surcharges
- Additional driver fees
- Drop-off charges
If you have any questions on any of the above, read the fine print as stated on Tip #3 or ask your representative.
5) Be Flexible with Dates
When you are flexible with your travel dates, you can save money. Figure out when and how long you will need the car.
If you want cheaper rates, renting a car on the weekends are much more affordable than during the week. However, if it’s during the week, plan on extending your rental an extra day or two, as the longer you rent, the lower the rental rate will be.
Try to book at least two weeks in advance to get the best rental car rates.
Bonus: If You’re Road Tripping
There’s nothing more fun than going on a road trip. But they’re often much longer vacations and need a bit more thought before planning them. First, ensure your insurance covers the entire journey. And consider swapping vehicles part way through the journey. This can help you avoid incurring costs from damage or stains.
And if you’re from out of the country and will be there for a while, check the entry requirements. Some places require additional visas or entry documents for more extended stays. Here in the USA, you’ll need to fill in an esta form for long visits under 90 days. Prepare in advance and find out what is on the esta form.
The most important thing for any travel is to be prepared well in advance.
With these 5 car rental tips in mind, you are guaranteed to get the best deal when renting a car. Now it’s time to plan your next trip, good luck!