Overspending on a car hire is easy to do – perhaps you’re forced to take an upgraded vehicle, or you suddenly find yourself not having proper insurance. Little things add up, and before you know it, you’ve overspent by hundreds and your perfect road trip feels not-so-perfect anymore.
With a little planning, however, you can definitely save money and prevent any unwanted surprises. Here are 5 simple tips for saving money on your holiday car hire.
1. Don’t Get a Rental Car at the Airport
Although renting a car at the airport is the most convenient option, it’s certainly not the best. Most airport car hire services carry a “concession recovery fee,” which gives money directly to the company for the fee that the airport charges to do business there.
Not only that, airport car hires often have higher rates than if you were to book a rental somewhere in town. Even if you were to get a taxi from the airport to a different car hire location, there’s a good chance you’ll still save money.
If you’re staying in town for a night or two, check to see what car hire agencies are near your accommodations.
2. Get the Smallest Vehicle Available
Here’s a simple one you’ve probably already thought about: get the smallest vehicle possible.
I know you’d rather be driving a badass Jeep Wrangler, but let’s be honest: unless you’re off-roading in the backcountry somewhere, you only need a small, economical car to get around.
Smaller vehicles have cheaper daily rates, and they’re more fuel-efficient.
You could save hundreds in daily rates and gas expenses just by choosing a smaller vehicle. It’s worth it.
3. Get the Car Hire Excess insurance
When you’re renting a vehicle, you have to pay for the repairs if the car gets damaged or stolen. This is where optional Car Hire Excess insurance comes into the play. The amount you pay is known as the “excess” (or “liability”).
Some companies will cover a car hire excess waiver reimbursement up to $1,000-2,0000, depending on your plan.
When would this come in handy? Just imagine you’re driving a rental vehicle around Europe and you end up in an accident that totals the car. If your car hire excess was $2,000 but the car itself is valued at $20,000, you’ll only need to pay maximum $2,000. If you purchase Excess Waiver Insurance this amount can be reduced to zero.
This optional car hire insurance is not the same as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), which is usually included by the agency.
4. Find Coupons and Save!
I have a friend who is adamant about searching for coupons before making any online bookings or purchases, and sometimes she ends up saving a small fortune. The same actually applies to car hires.
Even if you already have a loyalty program or frequent flyer program that you use, you can likely still find coupon codes to boost your savings.
It’s easy: literally a quick Google search will come back with results. Big companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise tend to have coupons available often.
5. Prepay to Save Up to 20%
When you prepay for your car hire, you can save up to 20%. When you’re researching your options online, you’ll see that most car hire companies have an option to pay in advance or when you come to pick up the car.
Always pick the prepay option, if you can. A small vehicle might only cost you $27 per day when you prepay, but if you want to pay in person you could spend more like $34 per day. That adds up!
You don’t want to overspend on a car hire, and you certainly don’t want to risk not getting the right insurance. Save money and enjoy your road trip!