Over 32 million American households have rented a car in the past year, and that number is only expected to grow in 2020.
Many of these households don't understand the ins and outs of the car rental process. They end up spending way more money than they need to when they rent.
We've put together these car rental tips to help you get the best deal on your rental car the next time you travel.
Let's get started!
1. Avoid Airport Car Rentals
The easiest way to rent a car after a flight is at the airport, but it's also the most expensive.
Most airports will charge an airport concession fee if you choose to rent through them. This will add a hefty sum of money to your rental cost.
You'll save more money by riding public transportation to a different car rental office and getting a car there.
2. Don't Pay for Extra Insurance
Every car rental company will try to sell you their insurance plans. While this can be helpful for some people, there's a good chance you won't need it.
Your personal auto insurance policy might cover things like collision damage for rental cars. If you buy their insurance, you'll be paying for something you don't need.
3. Reserve the Car for Longer Than You Need It
By reserving your car for a few hours—or even a few days—longer than you need it, you're lowering your base rate. This extra time will also give you more wiggle room to drop off your rental in case you run into problems, such as traffic.
Do your best to return your rental as early as possible. Many rental companies will give you a prorated refund if you do.
4. Stick to as Few Drivers as Possible
Many car rental companies will charge you additional driver fees if you add a second driver. The more drivers you add, the more money you'll have to dish out.
This can add up fast.
You should also avoid adding a driver who's under the age of 25. Otherwise, you'll have to pay an extra “young driver” fee.
5. Fill up the Take Before You Drop It Back Off
Don't make the mistake of returning your rental car with an empty gas tank. It might make sense to let the rental company refill the tank since you won't be using that gas, but they can charge you two or three times the going price per gallon.
It's worth taking the time and spending the money to fill up the rental car's tank before you drop it off.
6. Inspect the Rental Car Before You Start Driving
You should always inspect your rental car before you get on the road. Take pictures of any damages left by the driver before you. Otherwise, you won't be able to prove you didn't cause those damages, and the rental company might charge you additional fees.
If you do get into a car accident while driving a rental car, don't panic. Remember, your insurance will cover you.
Put your health and safety over the rental car. Instead of worrying about the car, make sure you find a car accident doctor to ensure that you or your passengers aren't hurt.
Car Rental Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling
Renting a car is a convenient and affordable way to explore new areas during your travels. Make sure you keep these car rental tips in mind. Otherwise, you could end up paying way more money than you need to.
Want to learn some other helpful traveling tips? Make sure you check out the rest of our blog for more advice!