Whether you are renting a car for your vacation or just to drive around town, it can become an expensive affair if you don't know how to avoid the pitfalls. Getting a cheap rental car requires more than just looking out for good deals. The location from which you pick up your rental car, the company you get your car from, and the duration you rent the car for all influence the rate. Learn about car rental pitfalls so you can get an affordable rental car.
Perform an online search for car rental discounts and coupons. Compare rates of different car rental companies. Some companies offer deals for certain vehicles or for reservations made for a certain period of time. Look for AAA discounts or senior discounts, for instance.
Avoid renting a car from a car rental facility on or near the airport; rather, rent from a facility away from the airport instead. On-site airport car rental facilities charge taxes and airport surcharges that increase the price of your rental.
Find package deals if your rental car is part of a vacation you are planning. Travel companies often offer deals featuring a discounted rate on your rental car if you book your flight and hotel in the same package.
Rent a car from an independent car rental company instead of a large international car rental chain. Independent facilities often have better customer service and are more likely to give a favorable rate because they can set their own policies and procedures.
Reserve your rental car as far ahead of time as you can. Ask for favorable rates. Call the rental facility periodically to inquire if more affordable rates are available. Car rental rates are determined by the amount of cars on the lot at the time of your reservation. Since this always changes, the rates also change frequently.
Rent an economy car and avoid purchasing any add-ons. Economy cars give you the best mileage for your money, and you can often bring your own add-ons, such as a roof rack, car seat or global positioning system (GPS) rather than paying extra for the same amenities.
Inquire about weekly rental rates and daily rental rates. Often weekly rates are more favorable. Avoid returning your rental car one or more days too early because your weekly rate may not apply anymore. Make sure to return the car on time.
Fill up the car with gas before returning it to the car rental facility. Find low gas rates at gas stations away from the airport. Avoid signing up for the rental facility's prepaid gasoline plan because you often end up paying more than you would if you filled the car up yourself.
Refrain from purchasing the added insurance when renting a car. Check your own car insurance to see if it covers rental cars, as this way you can avoid the extra charge.