Renting a car can be a savvy option when traveling if you’re looking to have the freedom to explore your surroundings at your own pace.
But there are many mistakes people make when renting a car that end up costing them a fortune – and we don’t want it to happen to you!
So before you waste your hard-earned cash on things you don’t have to – check out our tips to maximize your savings when renting your next car.
Not Checking The Vehicle Before You Drive Off
You may be eager to pick up your keys and hit the road (especially after likely waiting in a long line to get your car) – but make sure you do a thorough inspection of the car before you drive off.
Look for dents or other obvious scratches and blemishes – and be sure to point them out to the agent BEFORE you drive away.
Also verify your gas tank is full – if it isn’t – make sure that’s noted too so you aren’t expected to return it with a higher level than it was.
You’d be surprised how often rental car companies try to ding people for damage they didn’t do – protect yourself and take the time to do a complete check.
Opting For Bells And Whistles
Unless your phone is old and dated – you don’t need the plug-in GPS in your car.
Rental car companies will try to upsell you extra items such as SiriusXM, GPS devices, and even car seats.
You may think you are being smart by not lugging around a car seat while traveling and opting to use the one the rental car company provides – but they often come at a hefty fee up to $15 a day.
You’re better off stopping at the local store and picking up a cheap one that will do the job while you’re on vacation – it will save you money – especially if you have a long vacation.
Buying Extra Insurance
If you’re traveling within the United States for a personal vacation and have good car insurance, you likely don’t need to opt-in and pay for extra rental insurance as your own plan likely covers you.
Sometimes your credit card also covers extra perks with regards to rental insurance that you may not even know about.
Make sure you check out your own insurance benefits before you opt-in and purchase extra insurance you don’t need.
Returning The Car On Empty
Regardless of how late you are – do not return your rental car with an empty tank of gas.
If you return it below the level it was when you picked it up – they’ll charge you a premium rate to fill it up – draining your bank account.
And it should go without saying – but don’t prepay for gas – they’re not going to refund you for what you don’t use.
Check Around For Prices
During COVID-19, you may remember rental car fees were so exorbitant– people were renting U-Haul’s instead!
While things have calmed down, it’s still a good idea to shop around to get the best deal.
It’s usually better to go through the rental car agency yourself so you can rack up points and credits towards future travel as opposed to booking through a third-party site.
And remember to ask yourself if you really need a rental car.
If you’re staying in a walkable town for the weekend – you might not need the extra hassle of renting a car.
But if you do end up going the rental car route – follow these tips to save money on your next car rental!
Have you ever had a bad experience while renting a car?
What tips do you have for other travelers?
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