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How to minimize car rental costs?

05.05.2016, Tip of the month

Not everything in life should be expensive and renting a car is no exception. Getting a great deal on vehicle rent can be much easier than you might think. That being said, we have put together some valuable insights and great tips so your next booking won’t demand a big budget.

The do’s and don’ts for low-priced car rentals

Do #1: Research, research, research . . .

Probably the most obvious advice is to keep a lid on car rentals and do your research thoroughly before you decide on the best car hire deal for you. With a little bit of research you can get a better deal. We advise you to use online comparison sites that enable you to search for deals by multiple car brokers around the world and compare them right then and there.

For example, Vehicle Rent enables you to compare car hire deals by some of the biggest brokers like Hertz, Alamo, Sixt, Europcar, Avis, Budget and so on.

Do #2: Rent what you need not what you want!

The first thing you should ask yourself when choosing a vehicle for your trip is not what you want but rather what you really need.

  • Ask yourself if you need a big or a small car.
  • Will you need a bigger trunk for your child’s stroller or a considerable amount of luggage you might be taking with you?
  • Maybe you can’t stand the heat and you want to have the automobile air conditioning system?
  • Will you be the only one driving or not? If there’s going to be an additional driver, you have to take that person’s preferences and skills into consideration as well.
  • When choosing a vehicle, you should also consider the car’s fuel consumption and consequently the gas expenses. Depending on the length and the purpose of your trip, renting a diesel or a hybrid might be a more reasonable decision.

The bottom line is: Pick the car that suits your needs the most.

Also, bear in mind that no car rental agency can guarantee you that you’ll get the exact car that you have booked, but rather the car from the same car category.

The most frequent car categories are Mini, Economy, Compact, and Standard, but you can also choose from the following categories: Fullsize, Wagon, Intermediate, SUV, Luxury, Premium and more.

Oh, and if possible . . . rent the smallest car that can still handle your ego and save some money.

Do #3: Be aware of gas expenses/fuel policies

There are two fuel policies offered by the car rental companies - FULL/FULL FUEL POLICY (pick up full, return full) and FULL/EMPTY FUEL POLICY (pick up full, return empty).

For the most part it is not the best idea to get the FULL-EMPTY fuel option, where the car hire company charges you for the fuel after your trip. The cost may be higher than it would be at a local petrol station – meaning that the fuel expenses could be lower if you would drive to a gas station by yourself. Besides, there is a slim chance you’ll actually use 99% of your tank, so a portion of your money is lost right away. It is better to take the FULL/FULL fuel option (or fair fuel policy as we like to call it). It gives you the freedom to choose when and where you refuel the tank and more fuel prices options.

Do #4: Explore the big name deals

Find the agencies that have a broad car selection, since they will most likely give you better deals simply because they want to use as much cars as possible. If you can’t evaluate the credibility or the success of an agency on your own, just use comparison sites. Also, some companies give you better prices in Europe and others in America, so explore your options intensely.

Do #5: Received a coupon code?

Check for discounts. Two popular groups that regularly offer membership breaks for car renters are AARP and AAA. You can also find a few coupon codes in flight magazines or loyalty programs offered by certain brands. Vehicle Rent offers you points in return for basic activities on its site, such as registering, adding reviews or sharing super deals with friends. Check our loyalty program here »

The ultimate don’ts when renting a car:

1.Avoid airports rentals. Sometimes the off-airport locations are cheaper than the airport locations, so check both options – especially if you’re using comparison sites, which will only take a minute.

2.One-way drop off fees can be expensive, so try to plan your trip in such a way that the drop off location remains the same as the pick up location.

3.Don’t check just the big ones. When exploring car hire options, we usually check the big names, for example Europcar, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt and so on, but don’t neglect the smaller names like Thrifty and Dollar. If you’re a www.vehicle-rent.com user you’re in luck, since our deal finder will check their offers too.

4.Don’t hesitate! Don’t wait with your booking until the last minute, since the booking prices can be much higher this way. It’s wise to book your car at least 4 weeks ahead, especially during peak seasons.

5.Don’t rent it just for a day. Sometimes it’s cheaper if you rent for a longer period of time. Explore your options and play with the pick up and drop off dates. Most probably you’ll get a better price for a week than just for a few days.

6.Sometimes package options (a combination of a flight and a car, or a flight, a hotel and a car booking) can be a very good deal in terms of low-priced car rental, but don’t be too gullible. Double-check everything!

Most common hidden costs – say goodbye to “oops”

We’re sure you don’t want to rent a car and then end up paying much more than you anticipated. Below are some things you shouldn’t ignore. 

  • Some rental car agencies practice a daily charge for an additional driver.
  • You have to pay for extras. If a GPS is an extra add on, you can save some money simply by using Google Maps.
  • If needed, bring your own child safety seat and avoid paying for extras.
  • If you return your car earlier, you may have to pay an early return fee. You also pay if you return your car later than agreed. Try reserving your car for an extra couple of hours and avoid troubles.
  • Make sure you search for any damages on your rental before driving off. Don’t end up paying for someone else’s mistake.
  • Make sure your rental includes the unlimited mileage option.
  • The biggest mistake people make is over insuring their car. Almost everybody who owns a car already carries much of the insurance that the agencies are promoting (such as the third party liability). So check your own insurance before buying it from a rental company.
  • Check with your current auto insurance company to see whether a rental car abroad would be covered under your current policy. There’s no reason to pay for coverage that you already have!
  • If you use a certain credit card to pay for your rental car, you may not need to pick up the insurance, as the credit card company does that for you. 

Now . . . go, rent a car, and have the best road trip ever! ;)

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