4 Tips on How to Save on Car Rentals

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated January 27, 2021

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Travel
March 21, 2016

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Renting a car is often the easiest, most affordable way to travel. Just because it’s relatively cheap, though, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for extra ways to save money. Before getting a rental car, make sure you follow these four tips to keep prices as low as possible.

Getting car rentals at the airport almost always costs more than getting them in town. Agencies located at the airport know that they can charge higher prices because people think they have fewer options.

In many cases, you can save money by taking a taxi to a car agency that’s just a few minutes from the airport. It’s a minor inconvenience that can save you more than $20 per day.

Compact cars usually have the lowest prices, so you will immediately save money by choosing one over larger options. Just because you reserve a compact car, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get one.

Car rental agencies often overbook their vehicles, which means they can run out of compacts during peak times like Monday morning and Friday afternoons. If they run out before you arrive, you could get a free upgrade.

Rental agencies can make a lot of money by selling you extra car insurance. Chances are, though, you don’t need the insurance they offer.

Most credit card companies cover basic car rental insurance to keep you protected. Purchasing insurance from the rental agency could even invalidate protection from your credit card. Buying extra policies from the rental agency, in other words, could mean you actually have less coverage.

Make sure you ask your credit card company about what it covers. Not all cards offer the same level of coverage.

Always look for discounts before choosing a car to rent or a car rental company. Many organizations, including AAA and AARP, negotiate discounted rates for their members. That could knock anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent off your bill.

You can also use online travel agencies to save money by bundling services. If you need hotel and airline reservations, you can often get a lower rate by bundling them with your car rental.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to travel the world. Just make sure you follow these tips so you can save on your car rentals.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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