A car rental is one of those expenses that travelers don’t think about until the eleventh hour. This can often be a big mistake, because at that point you have already budgeted your entire trip and now have to fit in an additional cost that you weren’t expecting. Not only could you potentially break the bank, but you may also have to forfeit another part of your trip, which can often be disillusioning. If you want to save money on a rental car and have a great vacation, you need to plan ahead – way ahead. The last thing you want is to be caught unprepared. Here are five tips for renting a car when you travel without breaking the bank.
- Don’t look at the rate only – this is how they get you. If you are searching for “car rental Portugal” or even “car rental Canada” online – you want to make sure that you factor in all additional the costs. There is the initial rate, which may be low, but there will undoubtedly be other costs included, like fees, taxes and even interest. So, make sure that you ask the car rental company what all the extra costs are going to be and then do your budgeting.
- Make sure to do your research. Not all car rental companies are created equal. In fact, if you start doing your research, you will notice a number of things. For one, each car rental place will have its own rate structure per make, model and size of the vehicle. Also, each company will have its own quality of vehicles. So, you want to make sure to do your research – not only to prevent taking such a hit to the wallet, but also to get the best vehicle for your dollar.
- Go for a more compact vehicle. Typically, compact cars will be the most affordable option. If you are traveling with one to three people, a compact car may be all you need. Also, some car rental companies have economy versions of their compact car option. You may not get Bluetooth audio and other amenities, like heated leather seats, but you will get a great deal.
- Don’t get additional insurance on the vehicle. Your car rental will typically come with a basic type of insurance that covers the vehicle from any damages, but anything extra is unnecessary. In fact, there is a good chance that your regular car insurance plan will cover any rental vehicles if you are the one behind the wheel and on the contract. So, make sure to ask your insurance company if you are covered before you start making rental car plans.
- Always put gas in the car before you take it back to the rental place. If you don’t put gas in the car, the car rental company may charge you an arm and a leg to do it for you. In fact, most car rental companies have a policy of adding a few dollars to every gallon and then charging your credit card for it. In the end, filling up the car is quick and easy – just remind yourself to fill up at the end of your vacation.