It’s easy to see why so many of us rent vehicles when traveling. In many cases, it’s more convenient than public transport and more cost-effective than making excessive use of rideshare services. However, it’s not uncommon for people to inadvertently rack up exorbitant rental fees without even realizing it. Needless to say, being hit with unreasonable rental costs stands to put a damper on even the sunniest travel excursion. So, if you’re hoping to avoid overpaying for your next vehicle rental, put the following tips to good use.
Although many of us engage in comparison shopping when looking to purchase a wide variety of products, few people think to do it when renting a vehicle. However, taking a little bit of time to explore your options stands to save you a considerable sum on your next rental. So, before committing to give your business to a particular rental service, bring up your preferred search engine and start perusing rental services in the locale you intend to visit. For example, Illinois-bound travelers heading for the Windy City will want to search for “car rental Chicago”. You may discover significant differences in pricing and policies and wind up saving yourself a fair amount of money.
It also helps to get a feel for a rental service’s approach to customer service before proceeding to do business with them. You can do this by skimming reviews on some of the web’s most popular customer feedback platforms. This will help give you a sense of which services will stick you with hidden fees, overcharge for rentals and engage in other less-than-ideal practices.
Thoroughly Inspect the Vehicle
Many rental services won’t hesitate to charge customers for damage that occurs on their watch. While this is certainly understandable, few things are more frustrating than being charged for damage you know you didn’t cause. With this in mind, make a point of meticulously inspecting your next rental car before driving it off the lot. Should you come across any dings, dents, scratches or other forms of damage, immediately bring this to the attention of the relevant parties. Furthermore, don’t take the car until said parties acknowledge and document the pre-existing damage you discovered.
Confirm Whether You’re Eligible for Certain Discounts
Many of us are eligible to receive car rental discounts that we aren’t even aware of. For example, if you have any major credit cards, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to discounts at certain rental services. Additionally, certain types of AAA memberships come with convenient car rental discounts. Some employers and universities even provide discounts to employees and students, respectively. So, before renting your next vehicle, take care to inquire about any discounts you’re eligible to receive. Taking the time to ask a few simple questions stands to knock a significant sum off your bill.
Decline Rental Insurance
While purchasing rental insurance may seem like a good idea, it often amounts to a needless expense. Since many auto insurance companies provide customers with rental coverage, buying additional insurance from rental services can be the equivalent of putting a hat on a hat. Furthermore, a fair number of banks and credit card companies provide car rental coverage, so even without the coverage offered by your preferred rental service, odds are you’re still covered on multiple fronts.
Turn Down GPS
Since GPS can be a boon to travelers making their way around unfamiliar locales, it’s easy to see why you might be tempted to pay for it in a rental car. However, as this stands to add a needless expense to your bill, you’d do well to turn this option down. For example, if you already own a detachable GPS unit, simply bring it with you. Alternatively, you can also use the GPS app on your smartphone.
If you’ll soon be embarking on a lengthy travel excursion, renting a reliable vehicle may seem like a no-brainer. After all, you don’t want to spend a significant portion of your trip waiting for public transit and familiarizing yourself with bus schedules. Despite this, many travelers abstain from renting cars because of perceived high costs. While it’s true that renting a vehicle can be a costly exercise, this doesn’t have to be the case. To help keep your next vehicle rental comfortably affordable, heed the pointers discussed above.