When we travel, we usually rent a car. This allows us to get outside the well-traveled spots and see more of the surrounding areas. Having a car will also make it much easier to visit a particular restaurant or attraction, without wasting time waiting for public transportation or spending extra money on Uber/Taxi services. Saving money on a rental car can be tricky, since the prices change day to day and location to location. Points are generally not a great value for rental cars either, and insurance can sometimes cost more than the rental car itself! With this in mind, check out these three ways to save some cash on your rental car.
Tip #1 – Add Extra Hours to the Rental
Disclaimer – This will not work every time, but it is worth a quick check. Once you decide on the dates/times that you want to rent a car, perform a search on an aggregated search website like Priceline or Hotwire. Note the price per day on this search. For example, this is a search for a weekend rental in Arlington, VA from 4pm Friday – 4pm Sunday (48 hrs/2 days):Once you know the daily rate ($79/day in this case), add a few hours to the end of the search. This will effectively add another day, but you may be surprised to find a much lower rate! This is a search for the same dates in Arlington, VA from 4pm Friday to 8pm Sunday (52 hours/3 days):In the first search, the daily cost was $79 for two days, which totals $176 after fees. Adding four hours to the search resulted in a daily cost of only $39 for three days, which totals $132 after fees! Not only does this save us $44, but we also don’t have to rush to return the car by 4pm on Sunday.
I’m not 100% sure why this happens, but I have a couple guesses. The rental car company likely offers a lower price for “weekday rentals.” Adding a few hours technically added a third day to the rental, which the computer likely sees as Monday. Another possibility is that three-day rentals just get a better rate than two-day rentals. Lesson here – it pays to check!
Tip #2 – Use AutoSlash
From the Autoslash.com “About Us” page:
AutoSlash is a website dedicated to saving people money on car rentals. We’re the only site on the Internet that applies the best coupons and discounts, tracks rental price changes right up until the pickup date, and re-books users into these savings automatically—ALL FOR FREE!
This website is great. Either use them to book or enter the details from a rental booking, and they will continue to track it for price drops. Simple to use, and real money saver!
Tip #3 – Cover Insurance with the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Rental car insurance is a constant frustration. You need to be protected in the event of a wreck or other incident, but sometimes the daily insurance charge can exceed the price of the rental car! Fortunately, you can avoid paying for this rental insurance all together and get Primary Rental Coverage if you pay for the car with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This coverage is different from the Collision Damage Waiver offered by most cards. This recently saved us $254 Euros on rental car insurance in Dublin, Ireland!
I hope these three simple tips help you save money on your next rental car! Do you have any money saving tips to share?