How to Get the Cheapest Rental Car Every Time
Apr 15, · Your credit card, personal car insurance, or travel insurance may cover your vehicle during your rental. Look it up before you rent, and read the fine print. It . Jan 07, · Low-Cost Car Rental Booking Sites In general, prices directly from low-end renters such as Alamo, Payless, and Thrifty were always less expensive than the top-name rental .
Still, some places tend to do better than others, at least some of the time. Find more details below on the perks and downfalls of each. I tested base rental car rates by searching only for economy or compact cars, for a rental period of one week, and only for picking up and returning the car at the primary airports for a number of city destinations in both the U. All quoted rates except for opaque rates that hide car specifics until after you purchase their lower-priced deal are fully cancellable, although some require an advance payment with the option of a refund given upon cancellation.
Some vendors offer lower non-refundable rates. All rates include air-conditioning and all U. For the most part, the search-and-buy sequence is roughly the same for all car rental booking sites.
No one rose out of the mix as especially easy or dropped as especially difficult. Therefore, my comparisons are based almost entirely on my ability to locate the best deals.
Want more expert tips and vacation inspiration? Subscribe to SmarterTravel on YouTube! Overall, AutoRentals. Price displays include both the posted daily rate and how to reset sonicwall tz 170 all-up cost of the requested rental. The display also indicates which rental locations, if any, are off-airport—which is important. This matrix feature is especially helpful in comparing options quickly. Pros: Coverage of major cities is worldwide.
This information is not disclosed until well into the booking process, and even then you have to dig for it. The site covers rentals in countries worldwide. Pros: As with AutoRentals. Cons: Because some of the booking sites Rentalcars.
Given the sameness of cars, however, you risk very little disappointment with an opaque rate. Like Hotwire, Priceline car rentals list opaque rates as the lowest options in many U. Although Hotwire posted lower ones more often, Priceline was a winner in some cases. Pros: The chance of it having the true lowest price. Expedia consistently offered or matched the lowest or near-lowest rates as frequently as Priceline and Rentalcars.
Plus the option to bundle with your airfare or hotel is easy and could save you money as with other price comparison enginesif you already use Expedia for those, as many do. I also sometimes found lower rates on metasearch sites such as AutoRentals. How to get cheapest rental car European cities, the Sixt booking site is proof that higher-end companies occasionally offer specials better any other source.
Cons: The blaring black and orange color scheme of the results page is a bit difficult to read. Think of it as the AutoRentals. It can also help with difficult rentals, such as finding a rental agency in Ireland that accepts drivers over age This car rental booking site does offer rentals in the U.
Like the others, it manages to dig out some good deals. Pros: It scans more than rental car companies and confines the search display to the most useful prices. Cons: As with many other sites, the best prices it finds are sometimes pay-in-advance, including full or partial nonrefundability, meaning you need to know ahead of time that your plans are concrete unless you want to lose prepayments.
Kayak is best known for airfare metasearch, but it offers a good product for car rentals as well. It searches numerous car rental agencies and booking sites and came up how to get out body odor from clothing some of the best prices in my tests. Neither one came out consistently ahead of the other.
No matter where you rent, you have to check out the terms and conditions of any rental before you make your final purchase. Among them:. Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Sarah Schlichter contributed to this story. We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews.
Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Check out AutoRentals. Check out Rentalcars. Check out Hotwire car rentals. Check out Priceline car rentals.
Check out Expedia car what is the weather in allentown pa. Check out Alamo car rentals. Check out Sixt car rentals. Check out Avis car rentals. Check out Auto Europe. Check out Rentcars. Check out Kayak. Check out CarRentals. View all flight deals from your city.
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Get car rental specials and limited time offers from Enterprise by signing up for Email Extras and get cheap rentals with discount codes and coupons. Main Content Enterprise. COVID Update Link opens in a new window. Help. Help & FAQs. Get Answers. Compare lots of cheap rental car rates to get the best price. Prepay for your car instead of paying at pickup to lock in cheaper rates and get the most savings. Set a price drop alert and get an email when the base rate is low. Many times renting a car at the airport can be more expensive. Consider looking for cars in nearby locations for big. When you pick the car up, you'll need: Your voucher / eVoucher, to show that you've paid for the car. The main driver's credit / debit card, with enough available funds for the car's deposit. Each driver's full, valid driving licence, which they've held for at least 12 months (often 24).Reviews: 28K.
Sometimes you just need a set of wheels. But that convenience can come at a premium, thanks to airport surcharges. Price out rental locations in the city and compare to what you can get at the airport. Make sure you factor in the cost of a taxi or Lyft to and from your rental location if you rent at a location away from the airport. NerdWallet can help you track spending, automate your budget and more. Look at sites like Kayak, Priceline and Cheapcarrental.
Just keep in mind that rentals paid in advance are typically nonrefundable. Even after you book, keep shopping. Discount brands like Advantage, Payless, Thrifty and Dollar Rental are also vying for your business, often at a lower rate than big-name rental companies.
That savings multiplies over longer trips. Have a Costco membership? Use it to save money on your next rental car. An added bonus: You can often add a driver for free. AAA memberships are another great money-saving tool. Frequent-flier programs also offer discounts on rental cars. Economy cars are typically the cheapest, and therefore the most likely to be booked.
You can use this to your advantage, says Brett Graff, a family finance expert and author of a syndicated column called The Home Economist. Not exactly the cozy vacation you had in mind, is it? Most rental car companies will charge you a daily fee to add an extra driver. There are ways to dodge the fee, though. Others, including National, will waive the fee for spouses, partners and immediate family members if you enroll in their membership program. If you have a car, your primary insurance likely covers you when you rent a car.
Carless millennials: Have your parents add you as a driver to their insurance. Many credit cards also include basic insurance coverage if you use the card to pay for your rental. Some cards even offer more comprehensive coverage. Renting overseas? Example: Costa Rica. Build this into your budget. Rental agents make more money if they sell you on the benefits of extras like roadside assistance, satellite radio and GPS navigation.
Use the navigation system you carry around in your pocket and save your money for gas. Or go old school and pick up a paper map. Rental car companies charge a per-day fee for the transponder, which you pay in addition to any tolls.
While tolls are unavoidable, there are cheaper ways to go about it. This one may be unavoidable. After all, the safety of your child is more important than saving a few dollars. Use a site like GasBuddy to scope out nearby gas stations and current fuel prices so you can compare against the prepaid price offered by the rental car company. Factor in how likely it is you will have a near-empty tank upon your return. On a short day or weekend trip, you may just need to top off your tank before returning the car.
Longer trips may allow you to roll in on fumes and save a few dollars as you do so. While these tips will help you get a cheap rental car, there is one other surefire way to save: Skip the rental altogether. Most major cities have walkable downtowns and extensive public transportation networks, not to mention taxis and ridesharing apps galore.
So save yourself the hassle of traffic and often costly parking rates, if you can, and buy yourself a weekend metro pass. Need a car for a few hours?
Check out Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare. Plan in advance, though, since both require a membership. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money. Skip the airport. Shop around online. Turn to discount brands. Leverage memberships. Opt for economy cars. Stick to one driver. Use your own insurance. Forgo the extras. Price out prepaid gas.
Walk or ride.