More and more Americans are driving to their vacation destinations rather than flying to save money. However, you may notice that rental car rates are not as cheap as they once were. Darn inflation! However, if you plan enough and dig deep enough, you can take advantage of your next borrowed auto. To help you get started, check out the top eight ways to save on your next rental car excursion.
Join Loyalty Programs
The first thing to always do is join as many car rental loyalty programs as possible. These membership groups are usually free. The company records your contact information, and in turn, offers packages and deals from time to time. Usually, they do so via email.
Just think of it as a mutually beneficial relationship. They can send out direct advertisements to a particular, interested demographic; meanwhile, you receive discounts on products and accumulate loyalty rental points. With enough of these points, you can enjoy free or extremely discounted car rentals.
Over time, especially if you travel a lot or remain loyal to one particular brand, you will accumulate enough points to achieve elite status. Most brands will then award you double points per rental and other perks, such as no standing in line at the counter.
Even if a newbie, always check the travel program website for current discounts. The companies are always offering a deal of some kind.
Take Advantage of Small Business Savings
If you run a small business, be sure to ask whether your chosen car rental company has discounts for entrepreneurs. Quite often they do in order to stimulate patronage among this group. Large companies usually have the financial resources to fly employees around. Car rental companies know they need to win over small business owners who drive more often.
Check travel sites for car rental coupons. These days, you only need to copy the code and present it to the agent at check-in. Another place to find coupons is the airport. Ground transportation is usually full of advertising. There is often a permanent discount code printed on billboards to entice last-minute travelers into making a booking. You can record these codes next time in an airport for future use.
Compare Prices Online
Online booking and rate locator tools find the lowest prices on travel products. Just plug in the expected dates of travel and let the computer do all the work. Technology has made our world so much easier.
Do be forewarned. Some budget rental agencies might not be featured on the travel aggregators.
Book on Prepaid Sites
Booking sites that allow travelers to purchase pre-paid, high-priority travel products can offer tremendous savings. The catch is that the traveler cannot see the company name until after paying for the reservation. Only then does the site present that information. In most instances, these sites utilize major brands, so all is well.
Search for Partner Deals
When joining car rental loyalty programs, be sure to enroll in airline frequent flyers and hotel frequent stay programs. You may find partner deals that encourage you to rent a car from a brand linked to your airline or hotel.
Do Not Buy Car Rental Insurance, Unless Necessary
Always check to see if your insurance coverage already covers car rentals. If so, you would be wasting money paying for separate insurance.
If you have attended an online traffic school, then your personal insurance rate is probably already low. No need to waste money on rental insurance. You earned the low premiums, now enjoy them.
Fill the Gas Tank
Always fill the gas tank before turning in a rental car. If not, you might receive an unwanted additional fee on your credit card.
Save Money and Stay Safe
With this information, you can now rent cars and save money in the process. Also, consider enrolling in a CA traffic school to brush up on those rules of the road. Doing so can help you get to your destination safely and without incident.