Whether you are renting to take a cross country road trip, need a car when you get into an airport, or just want to impress your friends with a cool ride for a weekend out, car rental companies are available to suit a variety of needs. However, renting a car can be a complicated and expensive process for first timers. Here are some tips for making that process a little less challenging.
Compare Rates Online
Renting a car is much like making any other purchase, and you should be sure to do your homework by researching companies and quotes online before scheduling a rental. Booking online will provide you with the benefit of seeing the rates for different classes of vehicles, and online purchases may also offer special deals for buyers. You can also see which days of the week are cheapest for renting a car and the difference between renting by the week or by the day. By shopping online you will also get information on hours of operation, and all of this information can be accessed without the bother of talking to a pushy salesperson.
Don’t Prepay for Gas
When renting a car, renters typically have the option to pay for a full tank of gas in advance to bring back the vehicle empty, or they can choose to refuel the car before bringing it back to the company. Although paying for a full tank of gas may be convenient and can allow you to avoid the hassle of making a trip to the gas station, it is not always the less expensive option. In fact, you may actually pay for more fuel than you will actually consume, so consider how far you will be traveling in the vehicle before choosing to prepay for gas.
Avoid Pickups at Airports
Renting a car from an airport location can be more expensive due to added fees and taxes. It may be more economical for you to choose a location within a nearby neighborhood. According to Travelocity, airport locations charge 11.5 percent more on average than its neighboring locations, and the state of Texas was the top offender for these inflated taxes and fees.
Bring Your Own Car Seats
If traveling with children, you can save yourself some money by bringing along your own car seats. Rental companies charge up to $10 a day per child seat rental. However, some rented minivans may include integrated car seats at no added cost.