Want to Save Money on Car Rentals? Do These 5 Things

Want to Save Money on Car Rentals? Do These 5 Things

Renting a car can be a pleasant and cost-effective transport option as long as you know how to negotiate a rental that gives you everything you want without breaking the bank.

Respected and trusted companies also want you to have a positive experience when you do business with them. They aim to drive away in the car that suits your needs and budget as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Whether you are looking to do a deal on a long-term car rental or want a vehicle that gets you away from the airport and on your way with the minimum of fuss the rules of engagement are the same.

Here are some useful pointers on how to save money on car rentals and make your car rental experience a great one.

It all starts with a sensible bit of pre-planning – book your car rental before you arrive

There are a number of key reasons why it makes good sense to book your car rental in advance of your planned excursion.

Booking in advance gives you certainty when it comes to knowing how much your car rental is costing and it also makes it quicker and easier to turn up and collect your rental.

Another compelling reason for booking your car rental in advance is that it often tends to be cheaper when you book beforehand.

You can check all of the prices and terms of your rental agreement in advance and without the same time constraints that often lead you to rush into signing before checking when you turn up at the rental desk looking for a deal.

Booking ahead also means you have more certainty over the type of vehicle you are able to rent.

When you arrive at the rental company without a confirmed booking you could end up having to rent a smaller or larger car that doesn't suit your needs or budget, simply because all the other options have already been taken by other customers.

Booking in advance is even more advisable if you are planning to rent a car during peak holiday times. The bottom line is that you will almost certainly pay less for your rental by booking in advance.

It pays to shop around

Shopping around for the best car rental prices is always a smart move. As with most markets, car rental prices can vary greatly and you could find some huge differences in cost for the same make and model of car.

Where you rent your car from can make a difference in cost. For instance, you could make a saving by collecting your vehicle from an out-of-town location or final destination, rather than picking it up at the airport.

Work out when you need the car for your journey and see if you can match that with the most competitive price.

Be mindful of rental periods

car rental period

What time of the day you start your rental could have a big impact on the total price you pay. Most car rental companies tend to charge for each 24-hour period. That means you could end up paying for an extra day simply by returning the vehicle shortly after its designated cut-off point.

If the car needs to be returned by 9.30 am, for example, be sure to meet this deadline to avoid being charged for an extra day despite bringing the car back only a matter of a few minutes past that prescribed deadline.

Check with the rental company whether they have any rules about when to return the car. If not, and they ask you to confirm when you are going to bring the car back to them, be sure to say a return time that you know you can meet.

Being late with your car rental return can be costly. Avoid unnecessary charges by planning when you need the car and what time you can return it by on the day.

Be sensible with the size and type of vehicle you decide to rent

It is always nice to get behind the wheel of a smart car that is exhilaratingly fast or has the look and feel of total luxury and opulence.

However, you are likely to pay top dollar for a sporty car or a high-spec luxury sedan, which is fine if that's what you want or can comfortably afford.

But if you really and truly only need a car that fits everyone in with all the luggage and gets you from A to B, it makes economic sense to rein in your ambitions.

The size of the car, the size of the engine, and the prestige of the badge can all add a few extra noughts to the price of your rental.

Try to rent a car that is the right size and type for your needs. That way it is more likely to align with your budget.

If you are renting for a special occasion and want a touch of luxury, that's fine, but otherwise, it pays to be less ambitious. You will spend less on the rental costs and fuel costs will be lower too.

Make sure you check the vehicle thoroughly

Although it is tempting to glance at the vehicle, sign the paperwork, and then get the keys in your hand as quickly as possible so you can continue with your journey, it could prove costly to be so hasty.

Even minor damage that you don't notice could land you with a hefty bill if the rental company blames you for the damage.

Check the vehicle thoroughly, inside and out. Take photos and point out any damage so that it is noted on the paperwork before you drive away.

Typical damage to look for would be chips on the windscreen, scratches or marks on the wing mirrors, and light body panel scratches.

Get the rental company to acknowledge these blemishes so that they don't charge you for damage when you return the car.

Car rental inspection

These money-saving tips could help you to get a good rental deal and keep the cost of that rental as low as possible.

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