February 19, 2013
If you were able to book cheap airfare for a week-long trip, you do not want to end up with an expensive rental car. And this can easily happen without doing some research and searching out the best deals. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can secure a cheap rental car deal. Sometimes, the best cheap rental car deals are only available if you can prepay, so keep that in mind as you prepare to book your car rental.
Call any associations of which you might have a membership to inquire about car rental discounts. Examples of such associations include the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Costco. Also, check with your workplace for potential preferred company rental rates. The best place to ask about this possible discount is your human resources department.
Look around to compare prices. Go directly to car rental company Websites, such as Hertz.com and Avis.com, and check prices on major travel booking sites, such as Travelocity.com and Expedia.com. While you may find a special unadvertised deal on a car rental company Website, you will likely find the cheaper price on one of the travel booking websites. Also, don’t restrict yourself to just airport locations. In fact, you often will find cheaper rates at car rental locations away from the airport. Factor in any cab costs that may be involved to get to that other location before making a decision on overall price.
Adapt your car rental needs to the cheapest available car type. Typically, a compact car is the cheapest option in terms of car rentals. However, depending on the discounts available, you may have the option to rent a full-size car. To get the cheapest available car rentals, you must be flexible enough to take whatever model is the most discounted.
Use Hotwire.com if you are willing to rent from any car rental company. This site generally offers deep discounts on car rentals (and other forms of travel); however, Hotwire does not reveal the rental company until you have paid for the reservation. When you book a car rental on Hotwire, you are also required to prepay the entire rental cost up front and it is not refundable if your plans change.
Bid for a cheaper rate using Priceline.com. Priceline allows you to offer the price you want to pay in hopes that a rental car company accepts it. The catch is that you do not know which rental car company you are going to get until your bid is accepted. Once your bid is accepted, you are immediately charged for the full price of the rental. You cannot make any changes to your rental reservation and it is not refundable. BiddingForTravel.com and BetterBidding.com are two Websites that can help you out with your bid before you get to Priceline. On these two site,s you can see what previous users have bid, if that bid was accepted or not and if so, which rental company accepted the bid.