7 Tips for Saving Money on Car Rentals
Renting cars doesn’t have to be as expensive as you’d imagine and sometimes you can a great deal just by working with the car rental companies systems to get the best deal you can without compromising on the service you receive.
Car Rental companies have many complex operations and fees that they need to take into account when setting their rental charges so, if you know what these are and how to avoid them, you can get a car rental, very similar to the one you ideally want, at a greatly reduced price.
Follow these simple tips and use as many of them as you can while still getting the rental you need and you should be able to save a lot of money on your next car rental.
– Picking a Car up at the Airport
Car Rental companies have to pay what’s called an “Airport Concession Fee” for all the cars they rent from their airport locations. This is basically a charge made by the Airport to the rental company to allow them to rent cars from the Airport. Obviously the rental companies pass this on to their customers, so if there’s a rental location close to the Airport you can use, you could save money by booking there instead.
– Book the Most Popular Car Group
Car Rental companies have to manage a complex stock system to make sure they’ve got the right cars in the right places at the right time. The more popular the car group, the more difficult it is for them to maintain stock. Generally, if they don’t have the car you booked they’ll give you a free upgrade. This is because the larger, more expensive cars don’t get booked as much as the smaller cheaper cars. If you book the smallest car that is acceptable to you, there’s always a good chance of getting a free upgrade if you’re picking it up at a busy time.
– Book Well in Advance
Because it’s much easier to forecast how many cars they need if they’ve got all their bookings in advance, the car rental companies will very often have their cheapest rates loaded for rates well in advance, so book your car as soon as you know your travel dates and save more.
– Always Get a Discount Code
Apart from during peak periods (Christmas, Easter and the height of Summer), you should be always able to get some kind of discount code, although you might have to hunt around a little to find it. Always check the terms of the offers as often, even though an offer might say it’s for a weekend rental, you could still use the offer for other times. It’s worth searching a little to find one.
– Watch Your Collection and Return Times
Another trick to watch out for is that most rental companies charge daily rates. That means if you pick up a car at 10am and take it back at 11am the next day you’ll get charged for 2 days rental. Wherever possible try and ensure that your return time is always the same, or preferably just before your collection time. This way you’ll never get charged the extra day.
– Where Possible, Book When They’ve Got Too Many Cars
If your travel plans are reasonably open try and book when they’ve got too many cars and you could land yourself an absolute bargain. Book just after Christmas and you could find that all the cars that have just been returned are very cheap to book. In car rental terms, a car sat in their car park is a huge cost and they’d rather let you have it very cheaply than just have it sitting there.
– Always Ask for More
The one golden rule to bear in mind is to always ask for more, the worst they can do is say no. When you get to the counter always ask if they have any free upgrades. Often, this prompt might be all they need to remember that they can’t shift that big Mercedes out the back, and if you had it, they wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore!
Each one of these tips should save you some money the next time you rent a car. If you can combine all 7 of them into one rental, you’ll be amazed by how little you need to pay to drive a very nice car for your rental!