When it comes to renting a car for that perfect trip, there are several steps to follow to get your hands on a great deal. I will discuss
The Obvious: Travel during Low Touristic Season
Car companies all have major car inventories to answer the high seasonal peaks of demand. Would you happen to travel outside that time, only a small percentage of all the cars they own might get rented. During that time, companies just want to make small bucks to keep up cash entries while waiting for the high season where they can rent 100% of their cars for high prices. Companies will fight each other to offer the best price as even if they make you a very low price that might even sound absurd it still represents a little more profit for the company at the end of the year.
Also, traveling outside the touristic season means fewer people on the road, lower camping price etc… Of course, you might not have the opportunity to travel during low-season. Don’t worry there are many other more conventional ways to save money on car renting.
Sometimes 1 Week Is Cheaper Then 4 Days
How can a renting a car for 1 week be cheaper then renting it for 4 days. Car rental companies have something called a weekly price that is often far cheaper then renting it out for only a few days. The daily cost can sometimes be halved in a weekly reservation. Take that into account when you rent a car and make sure to play with the dates to find the best price that way. Keep in mind you could leave the car all day in a parking lot and save money; this is quite fantastic!
Use Many Websites to find the best price
There are many websites specialized in finding the best price and it is very important to use several of them. The prices will often fluctuate between them. A big mistake is going directly on the website of car rental companies to rent; this will be extremely time consuming .You want to search for all the car rental companies at the same time. These websites are real car renting facilitators.
Here are the best websites to rent a car
Book Online With A Small Deposit
One of my favorite trick is to reserve a good car rental offer with requiring only a small deposit fee. Afterwards, you should keep looking at the price of a similar model from that company everyday. The price can vary A LOT especially on the 48 hours before picking it up. If there are cars of the same class who are left the price usually goes down at that period because they want to rent it no matter what. I once found a car at 37$ a day for a nice sedan and on the morning we were about to go get it, we looked at the price and it was at 19$/day. When that happens you call the company and tell them you want to cancel the car you now have and make a switch for the price you just found. Companies usually make no hassle about this.
Try to avoid the insurance
Car companies make huge profit from selling insurances. They are often even trained to pressure the client into fear and anxiety so they can land a sell. Many travelers have Credit cards that has car insurance included and buying the one from the car rental company would be an absolute waste of money. Cars, according to the contract you sign, are supposed to stay on paved roads but we usually break that rule to explore the back country and we get the windshield and scratch insurance. Unless you are planning to break rules and go on the beach with a car, sketchy roads and in mountains then I would not recommend you to get those kind of insurance plan. Be logical, know what you Credit Card gets you and don’t fall into fear when signing the papers.
Optimize The Utilization Of The Rental Car
Technically, most of of travelers don’t need a car for their whole trip. For example, if you arrive in Barcelona, you could spend the first few days in the city and then rent a car from the downtown area once you are ready to move on. You could then use the car for a few days in and once you arrive at destination (let’s say Madrid) you can drop it there on the first day. Once in a big city you can use the public transport system, it saves you the hassle and stress from going around a city you don’t know. Also, public transit system is by far one of the best ways to discover a city and feel it’s pulse.
Rent A Bigger Car If You Sleep In It
Renting a big car is far more expensive than a smaller model, but if you sleep in it you can end up saving a lot of money. In many countries, the biggest expense are accommodations. Also with a car it is easier to be a little bit further from downtown and the more expensive prices. Use websites to find the best hotel/accommodation prices surrounding the region your are visiting. It can be worth it to drive 15 minute more to save 40$.
For many travelers, this might not be a valid option but if you like space you can use the ‘special car‘ renting service from Hotwire. You get a bigger ”surprise car” for the price of a smaller one (I guess we can call that saving money.)
Some Countries Are Far more Expensive!
Not every country allows you to rent for similar prices. The following countries are known to be very expensive if cost per week: Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, UK, Belgium,Germany, Holland and Ireland. This doesn’t mean exceptional prices are non-existent.
Don’t book with a touristic agency
When you book with an agency you will end up paying the price of the car plus the commission the agency makes on their sale. No matter how insecure you are about doing these things yourself you should realize that in our digital era you can now book everything in minutes without having to talk to anyone. Things have never been so simple as now when it comes to renting cars.
Enjoy your trip! Road-trips are definitely my favorite kind of way to travel and explore the world. Don’t be afraid to wander in roads that get you curious and stop every now and then for a small walk to discover that country you are visiting! Don’t be afraid to pick-up another tourist that is hitchhiking his way through the country also.