Looking for cheap car rentals is a good exercise in saving your hard-earned
money. All you need is a computer and internet connection. Plus, it is always a good feeling to know that you didn't pay top dollar for something.
It takes a bit of researching to find the best deals. But savings are always available if you know where to look and when. Remember that the major car rental companies are in competition. You can always find discount car rentals from even the top companies. The bigger the car rental company, the better is your chance to find the best deals. If you are looking for cars for rent, check first the biggest rental companies in your country and city.
Tips and Advice to Search for Cheap Car Rentals:
1. Search for deals
One of the best ways to get a discount on a rental car is to wait until the last minute. Search for cheap car rentals by checking the major car rental companies which sometimes offer last-minute deals. But you need to be vigilant because they are only available online. Oftentimes these sales are announced within a week or two of the sale dates. Go online and check the company websites of leading car rental agencies to see what cities may have deals for that particular week.
Being a member of organizations, whether seniors or hobbyists can reap you rewards. Check for member discounts for which you might be eligible. For example, AAA, AARP, Student Advantage, and members of other groups can often get discounted rates or special deals when renting a car from a major car rental agency.
2. Shop around for the best rates.
Search for cheap car rentals offered by the major car rental companies or online travel agencies. Unfortunately, there is no one place—online or off-line—that will always have the best deals. Check your cities' Yellow Pages for a list of car rental websites and reservation phone numbers.
The rates you are going to get depends on the car model and build. Of course, the more expensive the car, the higher the rates. But remember that car rental companies don't offer all car models. Also, if you search for cheap car rentals, please bear in mind that on average, the rates for a convertible like a Chevrolet Camaro is around three times as much as the rates for a Chevrolet Aveo - $425 vs. $118.
3. Specialty discounts
You can search for cheap car rentals at AARP website or for seniors above a certain age.
Check for ongoing promotions for seniors, such as percentage-off discounts, special rates.
Search for cheap car rentals at your prospective rental company's website. Check for special discount on family-sized cars such as minivans or SUVs.
Check for ongoing promotions for families such as percentage-off discounts and savings on child-safety seats.
4. Obtain insurance
Factor in what you pay for car insurance coverage when you search for cheap car rentals.
Figuring out how to insure your rental car can be confusing. Should you accept the expensive policy of the rental company? Will renting with your credit card protect you in an accident? Here's what you need to know when considering how to insure yourself:
Most private auto insurance policies include collision coverage for rentals in the U.S. and Canada. But check thoroughly your insurance coverage because some will only cover rentals you use when your everyday car is being repaired.
Credit cards are another good source of collision coverage, and may also cover you if your rental is stolen. Unfortunately, your card won't necessarily keep you safe if you're renting an expensive vehicle or are in certain locations abroad.
Travel insurance is an option for those who don't have their own car insurance or credit card to provide coverage. In most situations, you will have to pay an extra fee to cover a rented vehicle, in addition to what you're paying to cover yourself.
Car rental companies will often try to sell you their own coverage, at very high prices. Purchase their coverage only if you won't be insured otherwise.
It's just common sense to make sure you'll be covered—either by your regular auto insurance or your credit card—before you leave home. Compare the different options and choose the one that will keep you safe, at the lowest possible cost. For additional peace of mind, be sure to check the car thoroughly before you even leave the lot.
5. Car rental booking tips
• In your search for cheap car rentals, remember that it always pays to plan ahead. Save money by planning your vacation, letting your boss of your plans to get one.
• The lowest rates are usually for weekend rentals. Weekly rates are often much lower than the daily rate would be over five or more days.
• To get the best deals, an advance booking of up to 21 days, as well as a Saturday-night rental, are often required
• Because airports are where you find the most travelers most of the time, you will usually find the lowest base rates there.
• If possible, plan your travel to avoid your destination's peak season. Doing so prevents high rentals during that time.
• You can often get a great deal on one-way rentals during certain times of the year. For example, you can drive from Florida in early spring, when rental companies need their cars in northern cities.
• Ask around car rentals sales people for the available cars. Larger cars can be more plentiful than smaller cars at a rental location and therefore, command the same or cheaper rates. Smaller cars are not necessarily cheapest, as prices depend on inventory.
• Don't pay for an upgrade unless you know there are smaller cars available; the rental companies will often give you an upgrade for free if they don't have cars available in the class you reserved.
• Remember that you can earn frequent flier miles on most airlines when you rent from major car companies.
• When you find a deal you're happy with, book the rental right away. Don't delay or the deal may disappear.
• You can also save money by setting your price with companies like Hotwire and Priceline.