How To Get Cheaper Rental Car Rates

 

rental car lotMany 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!

 

happy family rental car

This family saved $5 by booking 3 years in advance

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!

 

run down rental car parking lot

If the rental car lot doesn't look like this, keep driving

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.

 

william shatner priceline

I would fight Priceline's William Shatner for a 5% 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.

 

crying for a discount

The coupon codes have expired

 

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.

 


 

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#OopsAwards – Have a Rental Car Accident Story? Share it for a Chance to Win an iPad Mini!

Rental Car Oops Awards

UPDATE 6/20/14: Protect Your Bubble would like to congratulate our winner, Jan Warner, with her “I Didn’t Hit The Grill” story. Congrats, Jan!

 

Oops Story

 

Have you had an “OOPS!” moment with your rental car? Accidents DO happen. Whether you’re on a business trip or a family vacation, rental car accidents can be a painful experience.

 

So share with us your rental car accident story. Perhaps you were on spring break and rear ended a hideous ’98 Chevy Malibu or drifted into a median Fast & Furious style. Whatever the mishap, we want to hear how you damaged your rental car!

 

Share your story about an unforgettable “Rental Car ‘OOPS!’ Story” via the Post Kudos submission form below for the chance to win an iPad Mini. Whichever story gets the most votes wins!

 

Submit Your Story in 4 Easy Steps

 

1) Share your story in the Post Kudos section below (give your story a fun title). The entry has to be in video format either recorded or uploaded below via Post Kudos. Video content is open to your imagination as long as it is a real experience - it can be a video testimonial, a cheesy re-enactment, or an actual recording of the accident. The more creative it is, the better chance you will have to win! Videos must be 30 seconds or less to be eligible for the prize.

 

2) Share this link and encourage people to vote for your story:
http://us.protectyourbubble.com/blog/oopsawards-rental-car-2014/

 

3) Friends, family, and fans of your story will vote below through Rafflecopter. Please input the TITLE of the video you want to vote for.  Furthermore, Facebook likes and Twitter follows add an additional entry each.

 

4) The person with the story with the most votes – by May 31, 2014 – wins an iPad Mini

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Testimonials collected with Post Kudos
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE OR PAYMENT DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years and older (19 or older in AL and NE). Contest ends May 31, 2014. Subject to complete Official Rules.

 

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Rental Car Horror Stories

rental car horror storiesBad lodging, getting personal valuables stolen, being sick, or having car troubles – these are all things no tourist wants to deal with while being on vacation.

 

Rental car horror stories commonly involve issues like dubious damage claims, people getting ripped off with insurance, and cars not being ready when you try to collect them. Read on to discover some truly unfortunate rental car horror stories.

 

Comprehensive Insurance Lies

 

Every time you rent a car, you’re faced with the same dilemma: do I get rental car insurance and admit I may wreck this car and that I am a horrible driver, or is this insurance a total rip off that I, don’t need? David Mayes shares his story:

 

During the process of hiring a rental vehicle, I never anticipated I would practically end up paying for the cost of an entire new car! I was offered a complete insurance protection package by a major car rental company, which in the end I decided to take. I chose the option that reduced my excess to a total of $330 simply by paying a bit extra.

 

During my car hire I was involved in a collision that was my fault, even though I was not drunk, drugged or speeding. Thereafter I informed the police, returned the vehicle to the rental depot and paid the excess of $330, believing the rental company would cover me for the rest.

 

Two weeks later I received a letter in the mail, demanding that I pay $10,000 to them and $5000 to the owner of the other vehicle involved in the collision. After further investigation I discovered that the company insurance did not provide me with comprehensive coverage. Although the company personally informed me that I would only have to pay the excess in the event of an accident, I am now indebted to the company for $15,000; not such a cheap rental after all!

 

Source: discovery-carhire.com.au

 

Warrant of Arrest

 

Renting a car shouldn’t be a disastrous experience. It doesn’t often involve two rental cars in a row breaking down. It should definitely not involve one of those cars getting towed by surprise or ending a vacation by nearly getting served with a warrant of arrest. The rental car user ‘autojim’ shares his experience.

 

Car #1 – Back in the days when I was designing/testing cooling systems for a living, I rented a 2000 Taurus from Hertz in Phoenix to use as a support vehicle for a 3-week test trip. Drove it for 3 days, and then it developed a heinous misfire and a CEL, so I swapped it out for another 2000 Taurus the day before we were leaving the confines of the then-Chrysler proving grounds for the road portion of the trip.

 

hertz-car-rental

This is the face of man who likes to see you struggle.

Car #2 made it 5 days without a hitch. Then, while we were driving from San Diego on I-8, bound for Laughlin, Nevada, with 4 people & luggage aboard, it started losing power. Full throttle was good for about 25 mph on uphill, 35 on downhill. It is acting like the catalytic converter is completely clogged up. Coasted in to the thriving metropolis of Pine Valley, California, population: not many. No cell coverage. Find a place with a pay phone, call Hertz toll-free number. Nearest office is in El Cajon, toll-free operator can’t patch me through. Get a mess of quarters, call them, ask them to call pay phone back. They do. After some discussion (full credit here to the Hertz guys in El Cajon, who were polite as could be), they agree to come get us (me: “Make sure whatever you bring has room for 4 adults + luggage, as I’m not leaving anyone or anything behind.” Them: “[long pause] Oh. I’ll have to get a minivan, then.” “Thank you.”). Hour and a half later, they arrive, pick us up, note location of car at the Frosty Burger, and drive us the hour back to El Cajon. Much paperwork later, we have Car #3 and we’re on our way.

 

Easy, right? Well, no, not really. Because when the Hertz tow truck went back to Pine Valley to get the car, it wasn’t at the Frosty Burger. Which resulted in it being reported stolen. While it was theoretically still in my custody. Frantic phone messages waiting for me once I got into cell phone coverage again 2 days later (Las Vegas). They’re looking to hang the cost of the car on me, plus Car #3 isn’t shown on my account and *it* is on the verge of being reported stolen as well. Got *THAT* sorted out in a hurry. I suggested they talk to the owner/manager of the Frosty Burger in Pine Valley. Calls were made, and, indeed the “abandoned car” was towed to a local gas station/impound yard. Across the street from the Frosty Burger. Visible from where it was parked. Owned by the brother of the Frosty Burger’s owner. Pine Valley isn’t really that big of a town.

 

I was told the good news was that I’d called back before they’d issued a warrant for my arrest. Yeah, no kidding.

 

Source: jalopnik.com

 

Never Got the Rental

 

There are some rental car companies that tend to be a bit shady when it comes to telling you how much everything will cost. $20 a day for a week can quickly become $200. In this case, the rental car company slowly but surely bumped up the price of this couple’s rental. With little money in the bank, user ‘RandomArt’ explains how he and his wife never got the car they needed:

 

My horror story involves never actually ending up with the rental. My wife and I were going through a bit of financial hardship due to lack of work a while back. When the clutch went out in our car, we had to get a rental so my wife can get back and forth to work as she works out of public transit range. The combination of ordering the clutch and having to pay rent and some bills right away had gutted both of our accounts so my father in law had offered to pay for the rental.

 

Of course, it’s never easy to get a straight answer from the rental agency as to how much you need to have in the account to pay for the deposit since neither of us have credit cards. The guy on the phone I talked to from Budget said that we only had to have enough to cover the cost of the car for however long we were going to rent it for, in our case about $160. So, with the money secured and a cheap car reserved, we set out into the summer heat (around 93 degrees plus stifling humidity) for our 3 mile trek to the closest Budget rental location. Keep in mind that my wife has a pretty low tolerance for heat, and we ended up having to stop rather often to rest because of it.

 

budget  car rental

It is said that only 2% of Budget car rental transactions end with a smile.

When we finally got to our destination, the guy (a different guy than who I talked to on the phone) tried to run our card without telling us how much it was being run for, only to have it decline. After it was declined he then told us that the deposit was $250. So, my wife and I left to go transfer some cash into her account so it would clear, which involved walking another half mile to the closest bank. We ended up pooling all of our money into her account to make it over $250 before heading back to Budget.

 

When we got back into the counter at budget, the same guy ran our card again and still declined it. When we asked him why, he said that we needed $255 and refused to run the card again. This set off an argument with me asserting that he had told us that we needed $250 earlier.

 

I ended up storming out a few minutes later with my wife in tears. The temperature had risen a bit for the long trudge home. The whole ordeal ended up making me 2 hours late for my shift at work, because it generally took me about an hour and a half to get to work on public transit.

 

It was my first and last experience with Budget.

 

Source: jalopnik.com

 

Hiring a rental car should be a simple and pleasant experience. It is not a usual occurrence for something to go wrong but when it does go wrong, it can go horribly wrong! Make sure to read over all policies and conditions from car rental companies to ensure you don’t get stuck in an unforgiving predicament.

 


 

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