How to find cheap car rentals starts and ends with the Internet. It can take you some time to locate a discount car rental but the money you save is well worth the extra effort. Good websites to use for locating discount car rentals include: hotwire.com, expedia.com, orbitz.com, travelocity.com and priceline.com. Make sure to also check the websites of the big discount car rental companies like Budget, Avis and Hertz.
You probably already have a discount for a car rental that you’re not aware of. Check with your credit card company and your car insurance company and sometimes even your bank and see if you are eligible for any car rental discounts. AAA, USAA, AARP and other organizations also have discounts on car rentals. Compare these discounted rates with what you can get online and make sure your discount really is the cheapest way to get a car rental.
While you are still in research mode for your car rental do yourself a HUGE favor and check prices for the cheap car rentals in the entire city not just from the car rental location at the airport. Sometimes car rentals away from the airport can be up to 75% cheaper than cars rented from the airport. If you are renting a car for a long time it certainly pays to take a cab or bus into the city and then go and pick up your car. When flying overseas there is the added attraction of not trying to drive straight away in a new city exhausted by jetlag.
Another way to get a discount car rental is to establish a relationship with the guys that run a particular location of a discount car agency. This doesn’t work for many types of travel but making friends can really pay off. The people that run the location know about all the promotions, when the cheapest rates are and they can give you great car upgrades. If they really like you and have time they will also pick you up and drop you off.
Beware of the fees from hell. You may think, ‘I have found the best cheap car rental company,’ only to discover that there are all sorts of fees and insurance they want you to buy that make the car rental extremely expensive. Before renting a car check with your car insurance company and with your credit card companies to see if you already are insured on the rented vehicle. It is also VERY important to carefully inspect the car before you take it. You will be given a little car diagram. Any small scratch, chip or coffee stain WRITE IT DOWN and have the leasing attendant SIGN OFF on the form. Do not lose this little form. If you do and you turn the car back in your discount car rental could end up costing you a fortune. Your personal insurance will likely reimburse you for the charges but it’s best to avoid this scenario entirely by really inspecting the car before you take it and return it. Keep all your receipts and make a point of wanting copies of everything from the attendants. Furthermore, fill the car up with gas before you return it. If you have to do this at an airport fill up most of the tank somewhere else and just top it off at the gas stations near the airport.
Lastly, when looking to find a cheap car rental try not to pick the car up in one city and return it another. This is always the most expensive way to rent a car because it is convenient. Similarly, if you need a special car- say a 4X4 in Colorado during Christmas time- really look at your plans and think about using public transit or shuttles instead. Those special cars come with very special price tags!
The best way to find a cheap car rental is to use online travel websites and to look into renting your car from a discount agency away from the airport. Always be prepared to inspect your car and your car rental contract thoroughly before taking the car. Look into any discounts you might be eligible for through organizations you already belong to and plan you trip so that you don’t need to pick up your car in one city and drop it off in another. Use these tips and I promise you will find yourself a great cheap car rental!