Monthly Archives: August 2011

10 Ways to Save Money When Renting a Car

Planning to hit the road this Labor Day weekend? So are most vacation-minded Americans: AAA estimates 27.3 million people will travel by car for this last end-of-summer weekend. Want to save even more money on your trip? Whether you’re connecting to your destination after a flight or forgoing planes and trains in favor of the open road, RentACarNow.com has a list of crucial tips for motorists looking to save cash when renting a car — and avoid costly mistakes at the rental-car counter.

1. Don’t miss out on discount codes and special deals.

You might already be eligible for a rental car discount and not even know it. AARP or AAA members can often get a discount of 10% or more, and government employees or members of the military are also eligible for reductions in price. Before you rent, be sure to check major rental car companies’ websites and look for their current special discounts.

2. Don’t supersize your rental car.

The thought of driving down the highway in a luxury vehicle, pricey convertible, or giant SUV can be tempting, but resist, especially when a rental-car employee tries to upsell you to a nicer vehicle. Remember those few extra dollars a day, plus the extra taxes and fees, can easily add up to a nice chunk of change over the entire rental period. Plus, renting a larger car than you really need, means paying more for gas — not to mention having a harder time squeezing into parking spots.

3. Secure your car early, but also check for last-minute deals.

Unlike airfare, it’s generally quick and easy to cancel a rental car reservation and rebook it without penalty. That wiggle room can save you major bucks: Reserve your rental car as early as possible, even if you’re not totally sure of your exact travel dates. Then, as your vacation approaches, check online to see if rates have changed. If you find a better deal, call and see if you can cancel your existing reservation and make a new reservation at the lower rate.

4. Book off-airport rental cars.

Renting a car at the airport is convenient, but it often comes with the added expense of airport rental-car taxes and extra fees. When booking a car in your hometown, it can be a smart financial move to rent from a neighborhood location instead of at the airport. Compare the cost of each option, including all fees and taxes. If you find a cheaper rate away from the airport, you can often take a free shuttle or a short taxi ride there and save big money.

5. Check for unlimited mileage.

If you plan to drive a significant number of miles, ensure that your rental car has unlimited mileage so you can avoid overage charges. Most rental cars include unlimited miles, but there are exceptions. Also: Check ahead to be sure you can take your rented car where you need to go: Sometimes car companies have restrictions about taking the vehicle to other states.

6. Watch out for one-way rentals.

If you can, avoid one-way car rentals. Often there are hefty drop-off fees that go along with a one-way rental. Be fully aware of any extra fees when planning your trip.

7. Ask to waive additional driver/underage fees if needed.

Tell the rental car company about any additional drivers (especially anyone under age 25) who might operate the car other than the person whose name is on the rental agreement. There are often extra fees that go along with extra drivers, but sometimes you can get them waived just by asking, especially if you have rented from that company in the past.

8. Don’t pay for unnecessary conveniences.

It might seem easier, but it’s almost always a bad deal to pre-pay for gas or bring it back less than full and pay the inflated fees that the rental car companies charge for gas. A recent article in USA Today reported that some rental car companies charge as much as $9.29 a gallon when a car is returned without a full tank. If you take a few extra minutes to fill up the tank yourself, you can avoid that inflated price. Also, if you have a non-smoking car (which is the standard for most rental cars now), it’s a bad idea to light up, as you could get hit with a cleaning fee of $200 or more.

9. Avoid paying for insurance from the rental company.

For most people it’s unnecessary to purchase insurance at the rental car counter because of pre-existing coverage included with their auto insurance policy or credit card, so make sure to do your insurance research before you pick up the car. Not only is the rental car employee not an insurance expert, but he or she also has an incentive to sell you insurance, so double check take make sure you don’t have more insurance than you need.

10. Save time and money by booking online.

You can almost always find the cheapest rental car rates by booking online rather than by phone or at a rental car counter. Plus, when you book online, it’s simple to compare rental car rates for all the top rental car companies and find the best deal. Use a site like Rent A Car Now to compare all major car rental vendors at once.

Enjoy your end-of-summer vacation with the extra cash!

10 Ways to Save Money When Renting a Car

Planning to hit the road this Labor Day weekend? So are most vacation-minded Americans: AAA estimates 27.3 million people will travel by car for this last end-of-summer weekend. Want to save even more money on your trip? Whether you’re connecting to your destination after a flight or forgoing planes and trains in favor of the open road, RentACarNow.com has a list of crucial tips for motorists looking to save cash when renting a car — and avoid costly mistakes at the rental-car counter.

1. Don’t miss out on discount codes and special deals.

You might already be eligible for a rental car discount and not even know it. AARP or AAA members can often get a discount of 10% or more, and government employees or members of the military are also eligible for reductions in price. Before you rent, be sure to check major rental car companies’ websites and look for their current special discounts.

2. Don’t supersize your rental car.

The thought of driving down the highway in a luxury vehicle, pricey convertible, or giant SUV can be tempting, but resist, especially when a rental-car employee tries to upsell you to a nicer vehicle. Remember those few extra dollars a day, plus the extra taxes and fees, can easily add up to a nice chunk of change over the entire rental period. Plus, renting a larger car than you really need, means paying more for gas — not to mention having a harder time squeezing into parking spots.

3. Secure your car early, but also check for last-minute deals.

Unlike airfare, it’s generally quick and easy to cancel a rental car reservation and rebook it without penalty. That wiggle room can save you major bucks: Reserve your rental car as early as possible, even if you’re not totally sure of your exact travel dates. Then, as your vacation approaches, check online to see if rates have changed. If you find a better deal, call and see if you can cancel your existing reservation and make a new reservation at the lower rate.

4. Book off-airport rental cars.

Renting a car at the airport is convenient, but it often comes with the added expense of airport rental-car taxes and extra fees. When booking a car in your hometown, it can be a smart financial move to rent from a neighborhood location instead of at the airport. Compare the cost of each option, including all fees and taxes. If you find a cheaper rate away from the airport, you can often take a free shuttle or a short taxi ride there and save big money.

5. Check for unlimited mileage.

If you plan to drive a significant number of miles, ensure that your rental car has unlimited mileage so you can avoid overage charges. Most rental cars include unlimited miles, but there are exceptions. Also: Check ahead to be sure you can take your rented car where you need to go: Sometimes car companies have restrictions about taking the vehicle to other states.

6. Watch out for one-way rentals.

If you can, avoid one-way car rentals. Often there are hefty drop-off fees that go along with a one-way rental. Be fully aware of any extra fees when planning your trip.

7. Ask to waive additional driver/underage fees if needed.

Tell the rental car company about any additional drivers (especially anyone under age 25) who might operate the car other than the person whose name is on the rental agreement. There are often extra fees that go along with extra drivers, but sometimes you can get them waived just by asking, especially if you have rented from that company in the past.

8. Don’t pay for unnecessary conveniences.

It might seem easier, but it’s almost always a bad deal to pre-pay for gas or bring it back less than full and pay the inflated fees that the rental car companies charge for gas. A recent article in USA Today reported that some rental car companies charge as much as $9.29 a gallon when a car is returned without a full tank. If you take a few extra minutes to fill up the tank yourself, you can avoid that inflated price. Also, if you have a non-smoking car (which is the standard for most rental cars now), it’s a bad idea to light up, as you could get hit with a cleaning fee of $200 or more.

9. Avoid paying for insurance from the rental company.

For most people it’s unnecessary to purchase insurance at the rental car counter because of pre-existing coverage included with their auto insurance policy or credit card, so make sure to do your insurance research before you pick up the car. Not only is the rental car employee not an insurance expert, but he or she also has an incentive to sell you insurance, so double check take make sure you don’t have more insurance than you need.

10. Save time and money by booking online.

You can almost always find the cheapest rental car rates by booking online rather than by phone or at a rental car counter. Plus, when you book online, it’s simple to compare rental car rates for all the top rental car companies and find the best deal. Use a site like Rent A Car Now to compare all major car rental vendors at once.

Enjoy your end-of-summer vacation with the extra cash!

Would You Pay $9 for a Gallon of Gas?

We all know that gas prices are high, but no one would ever pay $9 a gallon, right? Actually some people do, according to a recent story from USA Today. The newspaper surveyed rental car companies at major airports to find the price they were charging customers who returned a car without a full tank. Some of the results are pretty shocking, with a few companies charging as much as $9.29 a gallon. If you consider that some larger vehicles and SUVs can easily hold 20 gallons or more in the tank, you could be looking at a charge of more than $200 just for gas. While Hertz and Avis had some of the highest prices, Enterprise, Alamo and National (which are all owned by the same parent company) were among the cheapest, although still far from a bargain at around $6 per gallon.

That underscores the importance of filling up the tank yourself. You can also pre-pay for a tank of gas, but generally that’s not the best move either unless you return the car with the fuel gauge on empty. So next time you rent a car at RentACarNow.com make sure you fill it up before returning it.

Would You Pay $9 for a Gallon of Gas?

We all know that gas prices are high, but no one would ever pay $9 a gallon, right? Actually some people do, according to a recent story from USA Today. The newspaper surveyed rental car companies at major airports to find the price they were charging customers who returned a car without a full tank. Some of the results are pretty shocking, with a few companies charging as much as $9.29 a gallon. If you consider that some larger vehicles and SUVs can easily hold 20 gallons or more in the tank, you could be looking at a charge of more than $200 just for gas. While Hertz and Avis had some of the highest prices, Enterprise, Alamo and National (which are all owned by the same parent company) were among the cheapest, although still far from a bargain at around $6 per gallon.

That underscores the importance of filling up the tank yourself. You can also pre-pay for a tank of gas, but generally that’s not the best move either unless you return the car with the fuel gauge on empty. So next time you rent a car at RentACarNow.com make sure you fill it up before returning it.

Join the Club and Get Bonus Perks when You Rent a Car

Even if you don’t travel often, you probably have too many plastic cards to fit in your wallet – from credit cards to grocery stores to health clubs to video rental stores and more. And if you do travel a lot, then you likely have a stack of frequent flyer cards and hotel cards as well. The last thing you want to do is add more cards to that pile, right? Well, maybe not. Whether you are an occasional or frequent traveler, it makes sense to also sign up for the loyalty cards offered by the major rental car companies. And remember that not all of them even give you an actual card anymore, and you certainly don’t have to carry it with you if they do (they can always look up the number for you).

If you do travel often, then you can end up with some nice perks and discounts after just a few rentals, and even if you don’t it makes sense to have a card because at least that sets you apart from an everyday customer. If there’s a problem at the rental counter or with your car, you’ll find that often you get better service if you have a loyalty card with that company (even if you don’t have a lot of points on it). After all, these programs are all free, so go ahead and sign up.

Join the Club and Get Bonus Perks when You Rent a Car

Even if you don’t travel often, you probably have too many plastic cards to fit in your wallet – from credit cards to grocery stores to health clubs to video rental stores and more. And if you do travel a lot, then you likely have a stack of frequent flyer cards and hotel cards as well. The last thing you want to do is add more cards to that pile, right? Well, maybe not. Whether you are an occasional or frequent traveler, it makes sense to also sign up for the loyalty cards offered by the major rental car companies. And remember that not all of them even give you an actual card anymore, and you certainly don’t have to carry it with you if they do (they can always look up the number for you).

If you do travel often, then you can end up with some nice perks and discounts after just a few rentals, and even if you don’t it makes sense to have a card because at least that sets you apart from an everyday customer. If there’s a problem at the rental counter or with your car, you’ll find that often you get better service if you have a loyalty card with that company (even if you don’t have a lot of points on it). After all, these programs are all free, so go ahead and sign up.

What to do if your Rental Car Breaks Downs

As a general rule, rental cars are exceptionally well-maintained and rarely break down. It just makes good business sense for the rental car companies to keep their vehicles in perfect working order, because they can’t rent a car that is not running and it always makes for a bad customer experience if a car breaks down. So the rental car companies are diligent about maintenance and oil changes, probably much more than you are with your own car (how many times have you gone beyond the recommended mileage an oil change?). Even so, breakdowns do occasionally happen, either for mechanical reasons or just a blown tire caused by an unavoidable object on the road.

It can be a scary experience to have a breakdown in an unfamiliar area, so it pays to do a little advance thinking. Many rental cars now have a 24-hour toll-free roadside assistance number printed right on the vehicle, either on the driver side window or sometimes on the windshield corner. You might also find it on the rental car contract or jacket that it comes in. Either way, it’s a good idea to check for the number when you pick up the car, and if it’s not printed right on the car, go ahead and save it in your phone just in case. You’ll probably never need it, but if you do then you’ll be glad that you have it.

Why it’s Smart to Book Your Rental Car Early, and Late

Everyone knows that the early bird gets the worm, but no one likes being the early bird that got the worm and paid too much for it. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to book your airfare early for the best deal, but it sure hurts when you see that the airfare has dropped after you booked your non-refundable ticket. When it comes to rental cars, it also makes sense to book early, but it’s different than airfare in that it’s generally quick, easy and free to cancel a reservation.

Even if you are not 100% certain about the dates of an upcoming trip or any other occasion for which you need a rental car, go ahead and book your reservation at the lowest rate you can find at RentACarNow.com. Then every week or two before your rental, check back to see if the rates have changed. If you find a lower rate, you can generally cancel your existing reservation without any penalty and then rebook a reservation at the lower rate.

Why it’s Smart to Book Your Rental Car Early, and Late

Everyone knows that the early bird gets the worm, but no one likes being the early bird that got the worm and paid too much for it. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to book your airfare early for the best deal, but it sure hurts when you see that the airfare has dropped after you booked your non-refundable ticket. When it comes to rental cars, it also makes sense to book early, but it’s different than airfare in that it’s generally quick, easy and free to cancel a reservation.

Even if you are not 100% certain about the dates of an upcoming trip or any other occasion for which you need a rental car, go ahead and book your reservation at the lowest rate you can find at RentACarNow.com. Then every week or two before your rental, check back to see if the rates have changed. If you find a lower rate, you can generally cancel your existing reservation without any penalty and then rebook a reservation at the lower rate.

Save Wear and Tear on Your Own Vehicle by Renting Instead

Every now and then you probably have the need to take a long road trip in your own car – maybe you are taking one of the kids off to college or going to see grandma a few states away. Whatever the case might be, it’s a good idea to check the rental car rates in your area before putting all that extra wear and tear on your own vehicle. For every mile you put on your car, the value drops and you are one mile closer to needing that next oil change, maintenance service or new set of tires. So in many cases it can be a good idea to just rent a car and let the rental car company worry about all that.

As a general rule, each mile on your car costs about .50 in wear and tear. So if you are looking to take a 400-mile trip, or 800 miles round trip, that adds up to about $400. Obviously the rental car rate will depend on the type of vehicle and the length of the rental, but it’s pretty easy to find something for less than $400 at RentACarNow.com for most situations. So before you take that long trip in your own vehicle, add up the cost of wear and tear and see if you can find something cheaper with a rental car.