How to Get the Cheapest Car Rental Deal

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Drive off the lot with a great rental deal.
Drive off the lot with a great rental deal. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Car rentals are often a necessity when traveling, but the costs can quickly get out of control. Plan ahead to nab the best car rental deal possible. In the rental business, conditions change constantly, and negotiation is always an option.

Reserve extra early for the best deal. Car rental rates can increase dramatically over the holidays and even during the summer months. Save money by making your reservation well ahead of time.

Check online travel companies and comparison websites. Write down the best rates you find for the date, location and car model you want. Refer to those price quotes to make a deal with the rental company directly.

Check online rates cited on the rental companies’ own websites. Normally, online rates tend to be a little cheaper than the rates quoted over the phone. Many car rental websites offer additional coupons and discounts that can only be accessed and used when reserving online.

Do repeat business if you rent cars frequently. Make it a point to mention this when you make your reservation. Many car rental companies will offer additional discounts to frequent renters, and these discounts may not be advertised.

Rent on the weekend if you can. Car rental companies make most of their profits on business travelers and slash their rates on Saturdays and Sundays.

Look for rental outlets away from the airport. Many states and cities levy extra fees and taxes on car rentals done on-site. Consider taking a cab ride and renting at a nearby location instead.

Sign up for email notices from your favorite car rental company. They often offer special rates, coupons and deals on reservations.

Ask at the rental counter if any extra discounts are available. Your membership in a large organization or a big-box retailer can save you money.

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References

  • “Fight For Your Money”; David Bach; 2009
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