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Inside Scoop on Finding the Best Rental Car Deal
ou may think renting a car is a simple as a quick phone call.
Well, a phone call will
reserve a car, but you may be unpleasantly surprised when you return
that car and receive a bill much higher than you expected.
Misinformed decisions can add delays, unnecessary expenses, and even
major legal problems.
So, before you rent a car, it pays
to be informed. Read on for some simple tips that may save you a
bundle of cash and avoid a mountain of hassles.
The first tip for finding
the best deal is to shop around. Your best source for this is the
internet. Log on to sites such as Travelocity.com or Expedia.com and
follow instructions to bring up a list of competing rental car
rates. Just be sure to enter the right information regarding how
long you need the car and what type of car you want. Also, keep your
eyes peeled for special weekday and weekend rates, deals on
unlimited mileage, and the location where you will pick up and
return your car.
Always plan on purchasing insurance
— the more coverage, the better. No one ever “plans” on an
accident, but we all know they happen. Adequate insurance may allow
you to walk away from a totaled car owing virtually nothing extra.
In fact, you can rent another car from the same company immediately
if you are brave enough to get behind the wheel that soon!
As soon as you decide on the details of your trip, make your
reservation. Rates usually increase as reservations come in,
reducing their fleet of available cars. Be aware that certain types
of cars will sell out first, so if you wait, you may have to reserve
a luxury car when you could have done fine with a much cheaper
Always book the smallest car you
can, but ask about a free upgrade when you pick it up. Also, ask
about other size vehicles. Sometimes they have extra cars in a
particular class and are offering discounts for renting that size
The best rates are often available during the off-season and
other times when the rental companies tend to have a lot of cars
just sitting around the garage.
Check into vacation packages. These often include airfare, a
rental car, hotel, and even tickets to attractions.
Find out about travel discount
programs. Many of the largest rental car companies offer membership
in these programs, and the discounts on rental cars, airplane
tickets, and even hotels are often excellent — and not available
though any other source. There is usually an annual fee for
membership in these programs, but the discounts you receive will pay
you back your membership fee the first time you book a car or a
flight. Some credit cars also have discount programs applicable to
particular rental companies.
Figure out whether it’s better to
take the daily or weekly rate. If you only need the car for five
days, you may find that with the weekly rate you are actually
getting the car free for the sixth and seventh day. Consider taking
these days — you may find yourself having such a great time that
those two extra days will be a welcome gift. Whether you rent by the
day or the week, make sure you know the company’s policy. If you
have reserved on a daily rate, they might not allow you to change to
a weekly rate if you want to stay longer. Also, you may be penalized
if you return the car early — they might charge you a higher daily
rate than you would have received if you booked for the exact number
of days you needed.
Now we come to the reputation of the rental companies. Ask
your friends, family, and colleagues about their experiences, or
consider checking out a company’s service record. See if one
particular company has more favorable policies than another, or if
one company has penalties that another doesn’t. Also, check out
whether you belong to any group or company that offers a discount
with a particular company. Sometimes rental car companies have
agreements with hotel chains, airlines, and credit car companies.
Go with a company that has a good
reputation for the upkeep of their cars and a good customer service
reputation. The last thing you want to find out when you arrive at
the rental counter toting all your luggage is to find out that the
rental agency overbooked and they do not have a car for you, even
though you reserved it well in advance. It’s always a good idea to
confirm your reservation, including the time you will be picking up
your car, the day before you need it.
A well-informed traveler is a happy
traveler. So do your research, reserve your car, and then enjoy
sliding behind the wheel of a shiny, sleek, seemingly new car.
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-learn about negotiating
and other important tips.
This webpage is
brought to you for general information purposes only and there are
no warranties as to accuracy, completeness, or results obtained from
any information posted on this or any linked website.