Is the thrill of the open road calling you this summer? Do you want to crank the music up, roll the windows down, and explore wide-open spaces? What are you waiting for? Now’s the time to fuel up and get going! Oh wait–you don’t own a car either?
Not to worry. Since I don’t own a car, whenever I need one (to drive from one anti-vacation destination to the next), I rent. Adam and I have had good experiences with Hertz and Budget but we don’t know it all.
For more insight, I found Michelle Higgins’ article, “7 Tips for Saving on Rental Cars”. It has more than enough information to get you in the driver’s seat for less.
For starters, Higgins recommends booking sooner rather than later because in June through the end of August, the rates increase. One rental company’s compact car rate was 56 percent higher if booked in July versus in March of last year. Yikes–it was for the same type of car!
Higgins also reveals that there are lesser-known, independent companies that keep their operating expenses down and pass the savings on to the customer. The two she mentioned were Payless and Fox Rent a Car. These companies can save you anywhere from 15-30 percent. But they only operate online and in limited areas, I think…
There are also online deals you can find if you dig and know where to go. Adam recently found a bargain on AAA’s site by clicking the See All Options link once he entered the rental details. Usually, only one agency’s rates appeared but with a little bit of scrolling, he found the link and a better price from a different company. Unfortunately, this link isn’t always available so make sure to vary your money-saving techniques.
Higgins also suggests finding additional discounts on sites like Promotionalcodes.com and CouponWinner. Additionally, you can type the name of the rental company and “coupon code” into Google for other offers. Plus, she adds, if you’re a member of AAA or a place like Costco, many major rental companies allow you to combine discount codes with a coupon code. A Hertz manager once told me that the AAA membership offers the best available discounts on rental cars. Extreme couponing does pay off
The final tip that I found useful and have used is negotiating (an essential Location Liberated skill). Simply asking for an upgrade or for a specific car can save you money. When I was in Daytona Beach picking up my car after I came to Florida for my mom’s birthday, I had to catch my flight back to New Orleans in Tampa.
Yep. I drove from the east coast to the west coast of the state in one day. Luckily, Adam found a deal for a premium car but when I got to the Budget counter, I almost got stuck driving a large Chrysler. It might have been comfy but my wallet would’ve been squeezed at the gas pump. I asked if there were any other options and after declining a minivan, I was offered a Volkswagen Jetta.
Score! It was almost like driving our BMW that we got rid of to live a Location Liberated Lifestyle. This was my first time behind the wheel of a VW and I was impressed. Even better than how it handled, was its fuel efficiency. I drove over 150 miles and only used about a quarter tank of gas! All this because I asked.
If you’re looking to save money while traveling this summer and beyond, make sure to use Higgins’ information. The cash you conserve can fund your adventures!
To read Higgins’ article, go to: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/travel/7-tips-for-saving-on-rental-cars.html
The Shorter Half of the Travel as a Lifestyle Experts