Are you one of those travelers who believe that car rental rates are pretty much “standard” wherever you go? If so, think again! With a little diligence and smart thinking, it is possible to save as much as a few hundred dollars on your car rentals. So the next time you are out renting a car, and don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket, keep this checklist in mind.
Frequent flyers are aware that car rental rates may be 10-40% higher if you chose to rent from the airport. You can easily avoid this unnecessary expense by taking a shuttle to any remote location, such as your hotel, and collect your car there. All major cities worldwide have a sound transport system, especially to and from the airport, so there is no reason you should pay a premium for a car rented at the airport.
Avoid Being Fleeced
While most car rental companies are ethical in their practices, it isn’t uncommon for customers to end up paying for add-ons they didn’t buy and damage that they are not responsible for. When you rent a car, scan through your invoice meticulously, looking for any “extras” that may have sneaked in. Make sure you and the rental company are clear on the fuel policy and there is no ambiguity on any front. Although it may seem like an extreme step, it helps to take pictures of the car (exteriors and interiors) before and after you have used it. This gives you a strong backing in case the company tries to make you pay for any dents or scratches.
Examine, And Reexamine The Deal
The deals advertised may look too good to be true but that’s seldom what you end up with after factoring in various taxes, fees and other surprise expenses. While scouting for quotes, ask the company to provide you with a “final price”, which is what you will be paying in the end. Once you have a list of final prices from several companies, you can easily zero in on the most economical one.
Fuel Up When You Return
You are more likely to pay a high fuel price if you bring back an empty tank. To cut down on that expense, it is always advisable to rent a car on a full tank and bring it back full. If your company does not provide that option, offer to fill up the tank to the level at which you received it.
Don’t Buckle Under Pressure
You may go with a firm resolve not to yield to the feverish sales pitches made by the representatives at the booking counter, but the pressure can get to you especially if you are prone to anxiety. Remember, those guys have been trained to induce anxiety and lure customers into buying things they don’t want, or need. In fact, they receive chunky commissions for every sale they make. Keep your stance firm and refuse to give in to any form of coercion. It helps to do your research and homework beforehand so that you don’t sway in your decision.