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Hubs and I each have a perfectly good car. If 100,000+ miles, a manual transmission, and only two doors counts as good. They both do extremely well getting us from point A to point B.
However, we aren’t the most confident in their abilities to drive us multiple hours. And, every time we visit the in-laws, or go on vacation, that’s exactly what we do.
In the past year we have rented four cars to get us places. They’ve all had their selling points, and high rental price points. So, today, I’m going to tell you all the tricks to save a buck on your next car rental.
1. Pick-up at Minor Airports
We live in a rather large city and there seems to be a car rental location relatively close in all directions. However, I’ve found the absolute best rates on rental cars are found at airports. Not, international or regional airports, but local airports.
There is a small airfield about 15 minutes from our house and they house Budget, Avis, and Hertz. They also charge about half the price the residential locations charge. It is worth the 15-minute drive to save some serious cash!
2. Ask for Discounts
If you read my post on Ways to Save Money at the Register, you know I’m all about discounts. Car rentals are no exception! Most car rental locations offer AAA, senior, military, and government employee discounts.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. One of those four rentals, I was even given the employee’s discount, because they didn’t have the car I had previously reserved. Always ask!
3. Check with Your Insurance Company
To rent a car you have to have insurance. All car rental locations can sell it to you, but do you really need it? The long and short of it is yes. But, your personal automobile insurance may already cover a rental car.
Take a moment to give your insurance company a call and see what they can tell you. Most are happy to explain how and why your insurance does or does not cover a rental. Chances are, if you have comprehension and collision, you’re set! Save that extra cash, because you don’t need double coverage.
4. Verify Any Damage Before Leaving
I’ve rented from locations where they take forever and walk you through every inch of the vehicle before they hand you the keys.
I’ve also rented from locations that could care less, toss you the keys, and tell you what space number to find the vehicle in.
Always, I repeat, always do your own walk-around! If you’ve got a rental employee with you, point out things they may be skipping over. If you’re on your own, notate and photograph anything that looks fishy and bring it to their attention right away. Don’t wait until you return the car and they charge you for someone else’s accident.
5. Low Ball the Gas Gauge
If an employee does a walk-around with you, chances are, they will notate the gas gauge. Make sure you ask what they jot down.
One time I rented a vehicle and the employee said, “Okay, it’s got a quarter tank of gas.” He marked it down and I said, “No, it’s less than a quarter tank.” From the angle he was seeing the gauge it looked like a quarter tank, but from the driver’s seat, it was clearly less. Make sure you get it documented correctly so you don’t end up paying for gas that was never there to begin with.
6. Review Your Charges
On one vacation, I skimmed our rental paperwork and found out that we were being charged about $40 extra for having two drivers: me and Hubs. But, Hubs was the only one that was ever behind the wheel. I gave their customer service number a call, told them the situation and the extra charge was dropped. Easy peasy!
Give these tricks a try on your next vacation and let me know in the comments how much you save! Happy Trails!
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