How To Save Money On Car Rentals
Updated: Feb 27
Sometimes we think car renting is just pay and go and I often overlook some of the surcharges and other fees. Whether your company pays for it or you pay the car rental fee yourself, there are always some tips you can use to save on car rental.
Your friend or spouse will be impressed that you were shrewd to follow these awesome tips and saved some money. Your boss would certainly appreciate the savings you made for your company.
Let's look at the cheapest, simple but easily overlooked ways of saving money on your next car rental - be it for your road trip or for your business trip.
1) Don't book your car rental from the airport.
Renting a car at the airport is always going to be a lot costlier because they include a surcharge which will surely burn your wallet.
Save yourself some money and take a taxi or cab to a nearby car rental location. That way you will avoid this surcharge and also as an added bonus, you will avoid the additional fee car rental companies charge when they pick you from the airport to their car rental location.
2) Book early and save more
Booking in advance does not cost you more and most car rental companies let you book in advance for free. As always you should search for a better deal online well in advance and when you find a deal, simply book that best deal in advance. If your plans change or you find another better deal later, you can always cancel it with no additional charge (double-check with your car rental company as to what their advance notice for cancellation is just to make sure).
3) Book using major airlines and other sites
Airlines such as United and others have partnerships with car rental companies. That is how they get you a lower price and as an added bonus you could be earning points or miles just for renting through their site.
You can also save more money when you book using companies that are there just to save you on car rental such as AutoSlash. You can search for deals there and compare
4) Don't buy auto insurance
When you rent a car you could be thinking that buying insurance is safe in case your car is damaged while you were renting it. It certainly adds up to your total cost and you can avoid this with this trick. Check your credit card (s). Some cards offer you free auto insurance when renting a car and it comes as a perk - no cost to you. So the next time your rent a car, check if your credit card can be used to cover primary insurance and avoid buying insurance when you book your rental car.
5) Using your membership card helps you save
Use your membership card (Costco for example) which usually has perks for its members where you can book a car rental and get a reward for booking. Book two or more and you get a discount or points towards a free car rental. Especially good if you are a frequent car renter.
I came across this good discount program from Hertz called Hertz Free-To-Go Pass. You pay an annual fee of $99* and you can save $100 or more whenever you rent with them.
6) Fill up your gas tank before you return
Just before you return your rental car, make sure you fill up your gas tank. This is because the rental company might charge you with inflated fuel prices. Always keep the gas receipt with you just in case the car rental company wants to take a look.
This will not only save you but you can also use your cashback such as GetUpside to earn cashback on gas. If you own a car or SUV or any vehicle for your commute to work or take on an awesome road trip or to run errands, the GetUpside cashback app will get you cashback on your gas purchases. Read my full review and how to use this app here in this blog post.
7) Avoid Car Rental Toll Charges
You can avoid car rental toll charges by bringing your own toll transponder. Rental car companies charge anywhere from $3 to $5 per day for their toll transponder. If your rental car comes with an E-ZPass transponder, simply cover it since their transponders usually have a box that you can close or open. Then just pay with your cash.
You might also want to consider buying a Faraday bag to be extra safe to shield your devices from wireless signals. Transponders are usually cheap and easy to buy an additional and keep it handy while you travel.
8) Last but not the least - child car seat
Bring your own child car seat to avoid the $10 or $15 daily fee that car rental companies charge.
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