So, you’ve picked out your location, put in your time off requests at work, and you’ve booked the hotel. It looks like you’re all set for your vacation-except for one small thing: the rental car. You probably have that gnawing feeling in your stomach as you think about the whole process. What size will you need? How many days? Will pickup and drop-off be convenient? Insurance or no insurance? Most importantly, how do you go about getting the best possible deal?
There are several ways to ensure that you get the lowest possible price on your car rental. First, treat a car rental the same way you would an airline booking: be sure to book in advance. Car rentals companies tend to charge higher prices for last minute getaways than they do for advanced bookings of two to three weeks.
Another thing that airlines and car rental agencies have in common is their fixation on what day of the week you’re traveling. If you’re willing to add a Saturday stay to your trip, you’ll often find that the cost of renting your car will be lower.
Second, consider exactly what type of car you’ll need for your trip. Sure, we all like to spread out in a big, roomy SUV for a road trip, but the expense of a rental car isn’t limited to just the car itself. You have to put fuel in that beast, and gas prices aren’t likely to decrease anytime soon. It may be that a little thoughtful packing might enable you to downgrade into an equally roomy full-size model, thus saving money not only at the rental agency, but at the pumps, as well.
Having said this, it pays to do a little research. Visit multiple rental agency websites to ensure that, if you have a particular car in mind, you select the correct class of rental car. What is considered mid-size at one agency can actually be priced at a higher standard class at another.