Whether you want to travel somewhere or you’re stuck in your hometown without transportation and want to avoid mass transit, renting a car might be your best choice. You won’t have to dread long hours spent on public transportation in an uncomfortable seat. Instead, you’ll be free to privately travel at your own pace and stop whenever you want.
However, there are some things you need to know before you get behind the rented wheel. Our 7 tips may help you avoid additional costs and make your whole trip more enjoyable. For more information regarding state vehicle requirements, make sure you check this article.
- Skip the airport
Renting a car at the airport just after you step off the plane and collect your luggage seems like the fastest and most convenient option. However, it’s also the most expensive due to airports’ surcharges. Nevertheless, do your research first and choose reputable companies. If you look beyond the airport, always check the cost of transportation to that destination to ensure you get a fair deal.
- Choose economy cars
If you’re on a tight budget, renting an economy vehicle is your best option. Smaller cars are usually the cheapest and they will get you where you need to go just like any other car. Keep in mind the number of people you’re traveling with. Remember not to book a car that would be too small for a group of people and their luggage. Nevertheless, economy cars are the most affordable and the most popular among the renters, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
- Pick one driver
Remember to read the fine print to avoid unpleasant surprises. Most car rental companies will charge you an additional daily fee if you decide to add another driver – even if they are 25 years old or over. If you’re driving alone, the problem is solved. However, if you’re driving with a group, you can dodge paying this fee if you read the company’s policy well. Some car rental agencies don’t charge if the other driver is your spouse, a domestic partner, or an immediate family member. Nevertheless, your safest bet is to put one driver only on the rental agreement to keep the costs down.
- Don’t buy insurance at the counter
Everyone knows it’s better to be safe than sorry. Although the odds are most likely in your favor and you probably won’t have a car accident, don’t be careless. If you have a car already and you decide to rent one, it’s likely that your primary insurance has you covered. Check your credit card company’s policy as it may include basic insurance coverage. However, if you don’t have your own insurance, buying it at the counter will prove to be the most expensive option. It’s better to buy it online or over the phone. If you wait with this decision until you pick up your car keys, you’ll be out of options and car rental companies will use that to their advantage.
- Drivers – Under 25’s
In many cases, drivers who are under 25 years of age have to pay higher rates. However, younger drivers significantly contribute to car rental companies’ client base. If you’re younger than 25 years old, try to call and plead your case. Sometimes a company may be willing to reduce or drop additional fees. Also, having insurance and a good driving record can help immensely.
- Choose the best pick-up and drop-off place
Before you rent a car, make sure you get a nice map or a navigation system. After that, think about the best place where you can pick up your car and where to drop it off. Picking it up downtown will usually cost less than picking it up at an airport or a train station. Check your rental agency’s offer – maybe they can drop the car off for you at your hotel? Also, plan your trip well – you may want to pick up your vehicle in one location but drop it off in a different city.
- Look for discounts
Sometimes, if you pay up front, the company may offer you a nice discount and you’ll end up paying less than when you rent a car on the spot. Also, check different websites and compare prices. You may stumble upon a seasonal discount or find an unexpected one-time offer. However, remember that some companies may charge additional fees for cancellations. Always check the company’s cancellation policy and don’t finalize your payment until you’re sure your itinerary won’t change.
There’s much more to renting a car than just choosing a color and a nice playlist. However, the whole ordeal can be quick and problem-free if you pay attention to some crucial details. Stay safe and happy trails!