,If you are traveling for business or for pleasure, the cost of a rental car can be outside of your budget if you are not careful. Luckily there are ways to get a great vehicle when you need it without spending a fortune.
Here are 7 ways to get a great rental car affordably:
Book in Advance
Last minute reservations may cost you so if you can book early, do it. Some companies will take advantage of your desperation for a vehicle and charge you extra for a last-minute reservation. You may also get stuck without any options for a vehicle and end up with a gas-guzzling SUV when you only needed a fuel-efficient compact.
Cover the Basics
It can be tempting to rent that top of the line sports car for a week but if you are working with a limited budget, opt for the most affordable vehicle available. Since you are only using the vehicle on a temporary basis, you can do without the bells and whistles in an effort to save money.
Related: 10 money-saving tips for families on a budget
Seek Out Discounts
There are numerous places online that will share coupon codes and discount offers on rental cars. Do a search online for such information before making your reservation. You should also consider any discounts you get from your membership with different groups including AAA, your employer, or other organizations to which you belong.
Combine Your Reservations
If you are booking a hotel or an airline ticket, check out the cost of making a dual reservation as opposed to a separate one. Some online sites or travel agencies will offer you a discount on the rental car when you book multiple reservations at the same time.
Look Outside the Obvious
You may find a more affordable rental car price if you look beyond the airport or other major location. Search the area where you are headed to see if there are viable options for rental cars and compare prices. Many times the major airport locations and the big companies will be more expensive than a local rental car company.
Skip Their Insurance if You Have Full Coverage
How many times have you been renting a car and the salesperson inevitably asks if you want to go with their insurance? They say something about how they don't deal with third parties and then they give you a look of, "Ut oh..." In my eyes, it's just a sales tactic and for awhile there my husband and I were suckered into it. "What if something DID happen!?!" We played it safe, spent an extra couple hundred bucks and went on our way. Of course do your own due diligence but the reality is that if you have full-coverage you can usually forgo their insurance. Also, if you put the rental on a large credit card (like Visa) they will cover the cost of an accident. I have no idea why they do it but they do. Again, talk to your own credit card company to make sure you know the details of how it all works and don't just take my word for it.
Airport Rentals are Expensive
Everything in the airport is more expensive then outside in The Real World, and this applies to rental cars. Do what you can to avoid waltzing up to the rental car company's window at the airport sans reservation. You'll spend far more money booking your rental car in the airport, and you won't be able to do the research you need to to find the best deal possible. This goes back to the 1st tip on the list: Book in Advance!
-By Anne Newell Jones
For 5 essential tips for traveling on a budget, visit Babble!
MORE ON BABBLE
10 smartphone apps that help you shop and save
5 ways to handle a cash catastrophe
10 easy ways to save $3500 this year