13 tips to help you save money on your next rental car.
Tip number one, book early, particularly if you’re traveling this summer in 2021, rental car demand is sky-high because people don’t wanna fly. They think rental cars are a safer mode of transportation and there are fewer rental cars because all the rental car companies weren’t renting anything last year, they had to sell all their rental cars, so there’s increased demand, there is lower inventory, and so rental car prices right now are through the roof. If you’re planning to book a trip this year 2021, this summer, I would say, actually look at the prices of the rental car first, because I’ve seen crazy rates like in Las Vegas, Hyundai Elantras are going for like $200 a day, crazy things we’ve never seen before. So in this video, in addition to letting you know to book early, I’m gonna provide you with a whole bunch of other tips to help you not spend $200 a day on a cheap Hyundai.
Now, some other things related to booking early, when you do book early, book a non-prepaid rate, there’s no skin in the game, most rental car companies don’t have any cancellation penalties provided that you don’t book the prepaid rates, you’re booking those ones that you pay at the door. You can book them, you can change them, but you can lock in a lesser price now, and you can check the rates later and potentially get a cheaper rate later if the rates do go down. And pro tip, if you’re too lazy to keep checking your rates, there’s this website called Autoslash. If you go to Autoslash and you fill in your rental car details, it will keep checking the rates for you. And any time it finds a lower rate, it’ll send you an email so you can book it at a cheaper rate.
I use Autoslash all the time, it’s helped me save a lot of money. This video is not sponsored, just a tool that I like quite a bit. Tip number two, rent your car someplace other than the airport. Why? Well because airports have some of the highest fees for rental cars.
I don’t just mean the rate, but I mean the rate you see like $50 a day, and then extra fees, facility fees, convenience fees, transportation fees, and city taxes. There’s a whole bunch of these extra fees that get tacked onto your rental when you book it at the airport. So consider picking it up in a downtown location, a city location, at the hotel you’re staying at. Now, you can often book rental cars pick them up in the city, and return them at the airport for no extra charge. When we’re in Japan, this is what we often do, we’ll fly into someplace like Osaka and then we’ll go to our hotel, we’ll spend a couple of days in Osaka, we’ll get a rental car in the city with the return to the airport, so then when we go back to the airport, we’re already good and we don’t have to take any public transportation back to the airport.
Tip number three, check the aggregators and third parties. What do I mean by aggregators? I mean, things like Kayak, Rentalcars.com, and Expedia, they’re just great places to start looking at a whole bunch of different rental car companies, but also consider if there are some programs that might be affiliated, Triple A, or Costco is a good one. Costco travel’s website books rental cars for way less than most places.
So if you’re a Costco member, definitely make sure you’re using that rental car benefit. And you know one place that people often don’t think about is airline portals. And it might not be directly on the airline’s website, but many airlines have an affiliated travel agency company, for example, Southwest Airlines has southwest vacations where you can book your rental car along with your flight and you can often get much cheaper rental cars if you pack them together with the flight.
Tip number four, look at all the car classes. Often people think that the smallest car class will be the cheapest, but that’s often not the case.
Sometimes SUV’s can be really cheap, pickup trucks, convertibles. Make sure when you’re looking at the rental cars, you scroll all the way down because they’re not always sorted by price, they’re typically sorted by smallest to largest and most exotic, but sometimes you can actually find really good deals in those exotic cars. Also, some rental car companies, in particular Thrifty have like wildcard deals where you just get like a mystery car.
Sometimes you can get pretty good rates if you don’t care what car you’re getting. Tip number five, book your rental car for a week.
Sometimes the weekly rate is cheaper than the daily rate. I have found sometimes that I can book a rental car for seven days for less money than I can book a rental car for three days. Yes, that’s correct. ‘Cause these are different prices loaded into the rental car system, a daily rate and a weekly rate. Now, if you only need the rental car for four days, no problem, book it for seven and then just return it early.
Tip number six, try different pickup and drop off times. Yes, actually a difference between an hour or two can sometimes make a big deal.
So if your flight arrives at noon, and you’ve put in noon originally, try one o’clock, try two o’clock, try 11:00 am, you might find the prices might go down. Tip number seven, consider one-way rentals. Sometimes way rentals can be really cheap.
If you’re going from one place that has an overabundance of rental cars, then you’re taking that rental car to someplace that has a high demand for rental cars and not enough, then oftentimes you can get that rental car for really cheap. You probably heard this news early this year about U-Haul costing, you know $3,000 to go from Los Angeles to Texas, but only 50 bucks to take from Texas to California, you’ll often find the same thing for rental cars. Just one side note on long-distance rentals, make sure you’re actually getting a rental that has unlimited mileage. Sometimes these one-way rental car companies can sneak in sneaky fees, where the one-way rental from California to Dallas only includes a hundred miles, and then you have to pay extra for the miles, so make sure if you’re driving a long way, you’ve got unlimited mileage included in that rate.
Tip number eight, search for discount codes or coupon codes.
I’m sure you’ve seen it. When you’ve booked directly through rental car companies, they have these different codes on their, discount codes, affiliate codes, those come from your employer, organizations you are members of, your university alumni program, if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, there are discount codes associated with that, that’ll give you up to 25% off at a lot of major rental car companies. American Express Platinum cardholders can use a discount code that’ll give them four hours extra on rentals. So let’s say you’re renting a car for one day, and 24 hours might not be perfect ’cause your flight might come in at 12, and you might leave at four the next day. Well, if you use the Amex Platinum code and you get four more hours, that’ll really help out and save you the cost of a whole additional day.
And if you aren’t an American Express Platinum card holder, make sure you activate those rental car premium benefits, you can get increased status in a number of popular rental car companies which then you can get upgrades and perks, so you’re getting better cars for the same amount of money that you were booking a cheaper car. Tip number nine, bring your own insurance and proof of it. The biggest hard sell at rental car companies is selling you all that extra insurance that you don’t need. And there are some shady rental car companies that’ll make it really hard for you to leave if you don’t have proof of having insurance. So bring a printout of it, bring it on your phone, and make sure you can show them that you do have rental car coverage.
Now, if you have a premium credit card, for example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it often comes with rental car coverage. In international locations, you can call Chase up and request that proof of coverage so you can bring it with you to show them at the rental car counter.
Tip number 10, check the gas prices on Google Maps before you return your car. Gas prices at airports can be super expensive, a dollar or two or a euro or two more than around the city. And Google Maps actually will show you prices at gas stations.
So make sure you’re gassing up at a gas station that’s not gonna gouge you when you fill up. Oh, and definitely make sure to bring your gas receipt to the rental car company if you’re returning at the airport, ’cause there are also a lot of rental car companies that have these sneaky fees where they’ll say, “Hey, if you drove the car less than 75 miles, then we’ll just conveniently offer to refill your tank for 20 bucks.” When you go, well, I refilled my tank, and they’re like “It doesn’t work that way, you drove it less than 75 miles, we’re gonna charge you $20 unless you can prove to us that you actually filled it up.” So makes sure you have that receipt so you can prove you did it.
Tip number 11, consider prepaying for your rental car.
I know I said not to do this in tip number one or I said to book the rates that aren’t prepaid. If you’re booking your rental car one or two days before you’re going, and you’re really, really sure that you’re gonna go and you’re not going to cancel, the prepaid rates can often be 10 to 20% cheaper than the postpaid rates. So do consider the prepaid rates if you know you’re gonna go. Tip number 12, if the big rental car company like Hertz, Avis, and Alamo are all too expensive, then consider a smaller rental car company, a local rental car company. Although I should point out you should only do this if you don’t really value your time all that much because the smaller rental car companies often have less frequent shuttles, have long lines, and take a long time, so just be aware of that.
As a side note, there’s also a new company out there called Turo, it’s a car-sharing company. I’ve not used them, but they’re like Airbnb for renting cars. It looks like an intriguing option if you find the rental cars are all way too expensive. And tip number 13, my final tip for you, it’s also about saving time, less about saving money, and that is to make sure to sign up for the frequent rental programs or the loyalty programs with the rental car company that you’ve booked your car with. Because just having that status can actually give you the premium line to go to, to allow you to skip the regular line.
And sometimes skipping the line can be a really big deal. When Osi girl and I were traveling to Maui, the regular line of the Budget rental car was about 80 people long. Because we were Budget Fastbreak members, we literally just went and signed up on the website, it took two minutes, we bypassed that entire line and went right up to the counter. So make sure you sign up for that frequent rental program.
Now, fellow explorers, I’m always learning, and I actually learn a lot from you.
If you’ve got some tips that I missed, please help me out and help out your other explorers, leave a comment with your team tips. And fellow explorers, definitely check out that comment section below because I’m sure your fellow explorers that watch this video will have a lot of great tips that I missed. Well, if you’re looking to book cheap flights and cheap hotels, I’ve got videos on those two subjects as well, you can click right here to watch them or you’ll find links in the description below. And as usual, I won’t say goodbye ’cause I’ll see you in one of these videos..
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