Whether you are visiting your grandkids over the holidays or taking that dream vacation, having a rental car on your trip is going to provide a lot of freedom. You’ll be able to come and go as you please and also go off on some fun road trip adventures. Much like the airlines, there is a lot of competition in the rental car market. That’s actually a good thing for consumers. Here are some smart ways to save on your next car rental:


Just as there are travel sites for discounts on airlines and hotels you will also find comparison sites for car rentals. You should definitely take the time to research the different rates from all the various companies that would be at your destination. Not only should you be looking for their offered rates but also for any discounts such as with AAA or AARP.

Plan your time

Rental car contracts are based on 24-hour rental period. If you pick up the car at 9 AM, then you need to return it by 9 AM on the specific day or else you would get charge for an extra day. This is why you need to coordinate your pickup and drop-off. For instance, if you arrive late at your destination and know for a fact that you’re not going to be driving anywhere but to the hotel for your family’s house, then maybe you can get a ride from the airport and pick up your rental car the next day. It might also help on the return to arrive an hour or two early at the airport just so that you get in under the time.

Use Your Own GPS

Every Smartphone has its own GPS system. That means you don’t need to rent or for your rental car. What you can do is bring a holder for your phone so that it will be easy to use when driving in the rental.

Don’t Prepay For Gas

Most car rental companies ask that you return your car with a full tank of gas. They offer an option for prepaid gas as a way to make it convenient for you. However, this is often a big markup on gas prices. Anywhere you will find a car rental company there will be a gas station far away. You will be much better off filling up the tank on your room before returning.

Check Your Insurance

A rental car agency will also offer insurance for the duration of your rental. You should never drive a car without insurance. However, your own insurance might actually cover you with rental cars. This is why you want to check your policy before you go on vacation. You might also want to check your credit card because that could offer insurance as well.

Inspect the Ride

Depending upon where you rent your car from, you might be given the keys in the parking lot assignment without any further inspection. That would be to your disservice. You want to make sure you walk around the entire car and check for any damage before leaving the agency. If you see something, then you should pointed out to the rental agent and make sure they make note of so that you will get blamed for. The same can be said for the interior of the car as well.

Reserve A Subcompact Car

Be sure to reserve a subcompact car for your rental. Not only will this be the most affordable option but is also the most popular. That can work to your advantage when you go to pick it up. They may not have a subcompact car available and will therefore upgrade you to a larger car but still charge you the subcompact car rate. Obviously, you can upgrade on your own when you get there but wait for the offer.