Renting a car is an expensive task and can be quite nerve racking to boot. There are several things you can do to save you some pain and save you some cash.
Before You Rent
Do your research before your rent the car, prices vary from place to place and even from location to location within the same company. It is possible that the prices at the airport are higher than at an off site rental facility. You may be able to take a cab to the offsite location and save money on the daily rate for your rental. You are paying for convenience at the airport. Check with the popular online booking sites, in addition to the rental agencies themselves. Reseach gas prices in the area you are going to be traveling to, when I recently rented the gas prices were around $1.91, the rental company offered for me to prepay for gas at $1.80. This is only a deal if you know you are going to use all of the gas in the tank so make sure you are going to, I could have saved some money if I had taken the option.
At The Counter
This is where they get you , there are so many fees and addons that you need to watch out for. Insurance is the rental companies money maker, the real kicker is you probably don’t need it. Before you rent a car check with your credit card company, they usually will insure the vehicle provided you are using the credit card to rent it. If you credit card doesn’t cover it you will most likely be covered under you own private auto insurance policy. I recently rented a car where the daily rate was round $25.00 and the insurance through the rental agency was an additional $21.00. I declined as I was covered with my credit card, and also covered with my auto insurance.
Upgrades, lets face it anytime someone uses the word upgrade it is going to cost you money. If you rented a compact and they offer you an upgrade, decline it. Even if they offer you a free upgrade to a luxury SUV decline it. The gas costs of the upgraded vehicle are going to cost you a good bit of money, especially if it is an upgrade to a larger and heavier vehicle like a truck or an SUV.
In the Lot
Before you drive off make sure you inspect the vehicle for any damage, dents, or dings. You want to be certain the rental company is not going to try to hold you accountable for damage done by someone else. Verify the gas level matches what is on the paperwork and then you are good to go. Drive off knowing you have covered all of your bases and ensured you aren’t getting ripped off, now drive it like it is a rental, because you know what.. it is.