Where do I find the best rates on a car rental?

by Sandra Quiles
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What is the one question that everyone asks themselves before going on a trip?  Well, if your are driving, it is do we take our car or do we rent a car?  If you choose to rent finding the best rates on a car rental is your first thought.

Which vehicle do I choose?

That depends on the who,what, and wheres of your trip.  Can you drive a stick shift?  Are you bringing along a lot of camping gear or clothes?  (extra bags!).  Gas will be a concern also.  If you do not much room an economy car will save on the gas bill.  If you need more room and a little more comfort, an SUV might be a better choice.  Plus if you are bring along children, accommodations must be made for the young ones.  Always check out the safety reviews on your particular vehicle.

Where can I find the best rates a on car rental?

Your best bet is to look online.  Prices are posted and you can get a ballpark idea of the total cost.  There is an upside to renting a car online.  Some rental agency’s lack of change fees or cancellation penalties mean customers are free to look for a better deal up to the time they get the vehicle.  Book as early as possible, then check for a rate change.  This can save a few dollars.  Company’s that have a good customer service reputation will usually hold to the lowest prices.  They run their business with customer service in mind and are willing to work hard for your business.  They want you to come back.  And lastly, booking directly at the airport is convenient, but you will always pay more for convenience.

Check out economy car prices.  If you can find one that meets your needs you will save.  Economy cars are typically cheaper, but they are sometimes not available due to their popularity.  Which is another reason to book early.

SUV’s  can be had for a good price if booked early enough,  Everyone wants to rent these vehicles, so typically they come at a premium.

The ups and downs of car rental

When you rent anything, getting used to the “feel” of whatever you are renting is important.  Getting the feel of a new car is extremely important.  It may sound funny, but just finding the windsheld wipers may be difficult at first.  If you pick up your car when the sun is shining and while on the road you hit a monsoon, there could be issues.

Take the time to learn where the most important features of the rental car are.  I like to use my flashers to warn drivers behind me of problems ahead.  It pays off.

Tires, breaking, and emergency swerving are areas of driving that need attention when starting out with a new car rental.  Over correcting or hitting the breaks too hard in any of these situations could cause problems.  Testing out these controls in an new rental before getting on the highway is a good idea.

In my opinion is the best upside of car renting is the maintenance issue.  I do not have to worry about tires, oil, fluids, etc. when renting.  I just hop in and go.  You will  have a fairly new car and not on the hook for 36 or 48  monthly payments.  Just drop off the car when you are done.

Also picking up or returning the car is usually hassle free.  Some even drop off and pick up!  This can be a great time saver.

Extra Tips

To find the best rates on a car rental, try to stay with one driver.  The rental company’s charge an extra fee for additional drivers.  These prices can be around $10 – $15 dollars PER DAY.  This is an added cost that can be avoided.  Sometimes this fee can be waived, depending on whether the driver is a spouse or domestic partner.  Also check out the co-worker option.  Some companies allow for this exemption.  As always, protect yourself.  Don’t take on any extras that you do not need.

Make sure the insurance that you are already paying for covers the rental car. Check your policy before reserving a vehicle.  Plus, lot of credit card companies offer rental insurance.  Ask your credit card company about what is covered.  Although it may only be secondary coverage.  If a claim is filed they only cover what the primary insurance company doesn’t cover.

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