For most drivers, the term “rental car” has an inexorable link to stress. There’s no end to the terms and conditions you have to pour over. You have to worry about where you’re going to pick it up and where it needs to be dropped off. You’re constantly glancing in the rear-view to make sure your kids aren’t spilling anything. If there’s one complaint I hear more than ever, it’s how much rental cars cost!  If you’re all too familiar with this, here’s a guide to saving money on rental cars.

First of all, try to avoid renting at the airport. If you’ve got a big vacation or a business trip on the horizon, and flying always ups your stress levels, then you may want to know that you can simply get off the plane and into a car. While I can see the logic here, it’s certainly not the most cost-effective option. If you’re willing to travel a little more distance to get to your rental, then going with an off-site agency will allow you to dodge those pesky concession fees. These can get up to 30% of your total rental fee, so it’s certainly not something to overlook! True, going with an off-site agency will be a little inconvenient. However, if you can organise a short trip with a taxi or on public transport, the money you save will more than make up for it!

Another great way to save money on car rentals is pre-paying. You may have had some experience of this on websites such as Hotwire or Priceline. These comparison sites can certainly come up with some great prices. However, they often don’t let you know all the details of the agency you’re renting from upfront, which can be a little disconcerting. You’d be much better off going to a site like Car Rentals. This gives you access to some truly great pre-paid deals, along with all the details you could use. If you’re afraid of needing a rental car at short notice, you can save money on this and other emergencies through a repairs cover service. You can read more about these services at Carefree Auto.

Finally, do a little research into frequent flier programs and credit companies who run partner benefits. Seen as you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance that you fly a fair amount. If this is the case, look into those frequent flier programs you’ve seen advertised everywhere. These will not only give you additional insurance coverage, but may also waive certain fees and offer you various other discounts. Furthermore, a lot of them will give you air miles simply for renting. For example, if you rent a car from Hertz as a United Mileage Plus member, you can earn 75 miles per day just by driving their car around! This is just one of the great offers that may be available to you.

If the price of rental cars has been getting you down, I hope that these tips have helped!

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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