There are places where public transport systems aren’t that great or particularly safe while traveling, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Moreover, there are areas far from routes taken by public vehicles, especially out of the main city. This can lead to significant delays and inconveniences.
That’s where rental cars come in. Though more processes are involved and it’s usually more expensive, if you know the right guidelines, that won’t always be the case. By following some tips, you can bring down prices of rental cars on par with public transport or even less.
Don’t limit yourself to big firms like Hertz or Avis or similar ones in other countries. There are tons of car rental companies out there, and all you have to do is invest some time and effort into researching which best suits your particular needs.
After seeing different prices, you can use the quotation from one agency and leverage it against another. Don’t hesitate to negotiate. If you don’t ask, then you won’t receive. There’s usually a good chance that the second company will at least match the price you’ve shown, if not beat it altogether.
If it doesn’t work, then just look for another rental agency and attempt to repeat the same negotiation technique. If everything fails, then re-approach your original choice.
Double-check if the advertised rates are all-inclusive as well. Sometimes there are hidden charges and these can come back to haunt you. Although like major airlines, many car rental companies have now become more transparent regarding their rates, it’s still better to be sure. Be on the lookout for discounts and promos. If you see something that’ll work for you, inquire thoroughly and ask for the conditions and other terms.
Refuse additional insurance that the rental company might push on you, such as collision-damage or loss-damage waiver. In a previous post, we’ve shared tips and considerations regarding rental car insurance and that may be a good start to know how to handle this matter.
Be sure to choose the right type of vehicle, too If you are looking to bring equipment or are traveling with kids, look at other options besides sedans. Conversely, if you’re taking the trip alone and with basic items in your luggage, then a compact vehicle would be a better choice.
Furthermore, don’t shell out on extra features if you don’t need them. If you’re pretty confident with your sense of direction, then you won’t need a car with GPS. Besides, there are now navigation apps that can assist you en route to your destination.
If you don’t mind what car it is, as long as it’s in good condition, then you can narrow your list down further by asking an agent if there are cars that are waiting to be dispatched. Usually, these have the lowest rates.
Evaluate the kind of trip you’ll be having. Take into consideration the places you’ll be visiting, and if you’ll be leaving the vehicle somewhere, such as when you’ll take a flight to tour an island and whether you’ll be back at the end of the day or are looking to stay overnight.
Make sure to explore the different parking options in major facilities like airports. For example, in London’s Gatwick Airport, there’s a short stay car park sandwiched between its two terminals. If you see that the rates are relatively similar to carparks around the airport, you can get a convenient service for a much cheaper price. Even if you pay less for the car itself but you didn’t consider parking fees, then you’ll just unnecessarily spend what you’ve saved.
Be mindful of fuel levels. It’s better if you refill the tank yourself. Most rental companies have the “get it full, return it full” policy. If you take it back half-full and just let them refill the gas, they can charge you much more than what you’d spend if you filled the tank yourself at a station. Remember to keep the receipts, though.
Lastly, avoid returning the car late. Most agencies have daily rates so if you get it back late then they can charge another full day’s worth of rental fees. Although some have grace periods, it’s still not advised to surpass them.
All in all, there’s nothing that beats the convenience and flexibility that you get when you hire your own car during a trip. It doesn’t have to be costly. You just have to know the right preparations, moves and tricks to apply to the procedure. Good luck on your next deal!