Many travelers often have the misconception that car rental rates are pretty much the same across all companies. The truth is rates can vary quite a bit between car rental companies and destinations. Car rental deals can be hard to find, especially if you’re only searching in a few places. Here are 4 tips on how you can get cheaper car rental rates:
1. Book Early
Booking early is a good practice, particularly if you need a car during peak travel seasons. It’s no secret that during the holidays, prices for rental cars can get unpredictably high. It is always a good idea to book early or play around on you rental dates. Like airfare, the further in advance you book, the more money you can end up saving. If seasonality is not an issue, just plan a trip to Detroit. Their car rental prices are always near rock bottom!
2. Know Your Providers
Not all car rental companies are the same. It’s important to understand how each company differs from the other and how they can serve you best. Some of the things to consider when shopping for a company include available car types, locations, and service fees. You need to first consider which of these factors are important to you. For example, if you’re after price, it would mean that you may have to sacrifice luxury. Also, you might be able to score a good deal by going to a rental car place located in the sketchy part of town. If the local title loan stores have wrought iron bars covering their windows, then you know you are in the right area to get a deal!
3. Online Rental Deals
Search through online travel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Travelauto, Kayak, and others. These major online agencies often negotiate with various car rental companies to offer competitive rates. To get better pricing, try using flexible dates which allows you to compare the car rental rates of different companies. When appropriate, search for “Flight and Car” together or better yet “Flight, Hotel, and Car,” you’d be surprised with the number of vacation package and bundled discounts that come up on the searches. These can be both compelling and competitively priced. If you are unsatisfied with the quotes given, just give their customer support a call and express your disappointment with pathetic, desperate sobbing and they will surely give you a discount.
4. Discount Programs, Codes, and Coupons
Discount programs are often available through reward programs from various credit card services. Most of them either have miles, points, or discounts that you can earn. Because these companies compete for your business and loyalty, they always have new offers and rewards save you money. You can also find discount codes and coupons online from sites like Retail Me Not. Remember to always check if your coupon is still valid before you attempt to use it, you might be surprised at how quickly a coupon’s expiry date arrives by the time you plan to make your booking. It can be very discouraging to have your coupon code denied, but you should be able to find one if you keep looking hard enough. If you still can’t find one after 2 hours of searching, just give their customer support a call and receive a discount by expressing your disdain with inconsolable, faint weeping.
So get out there and rent a car! It’ll be fun even if you have nowhere to go. If you’re a reckless driver like myself, I would suggest getting rental car insurance.