Not everything in life should be expensive and renting a car is no exception. Getting a cheap deal on a rental car can be a lot easier than you might think. That's why we've put together some valuable insights and great tips to make sure your next booking doesn't require a big budget.
The do's and don'ts for cheap car rentals.
1: Research, research, research...
Probably the most obvious advice is to get an overview of car rentals and do a thorough research before you decide on the best car rental deal. With a little research, you can get a better deal. We advise you to use online comparison sites that allow you to search for deals from multiple car rental companies around the world and compare them on the spot.
For example, at Orbit Car Hire you can compare quotes from some of the biggest brokers such as Hertz, Alamo, Europcar, Enterprise, National, Thrifty and so on.
2: Rent what you need, not what you want!
The first thing you should ask yourself when choosing a vehicle for your trip is not what you want, but what you really need.
- Ask yourself if you need a big car or a small car.
- Do you need a larger trunk for your child's stroller or a significant amount of luggage to carry?
- Maybe you can't stand the heat and want air conditioning in your car.
- Will you be the only one driving or not? If there will be an additional driver, you also need to consider that person's preferences and abilities.
- When choosing a vehicle, you should also consider the fuel economy of the car and therefore the cost of gas. Depending on the length and purpose of the trip, renting a diesel or hybrid vehicle may be a more sensible decision.
The bottom line is: choose the car that best suits your needs.
Also, keep in mind that no car rental company can guarantee that you will get the exact car you booked, but rather the car from the same car category.
The most common car categories are Mini, Economy, Compact and Standard, but you can also choose from the following categories: Fullsize, Wagon, Intermediate, SUV, Luxury, Premium and more.
Oh, and if possible ... rent the smallest car your ego can still handle and save some money.
3: Pay attention to gas costs/fuel policies.
There are three fuel policies offered by car rental companies:
- FULL / FULL FUEL POLICY (pick up full, return full)
- FULL / EMPTY FUEL POLICY (pick up full, return empty)
- SAME / SAME FUEL POLICY (return with the same amount of fuel as received)
In most cases, it is not the best idea to choose the FULL/EMPTY refuelling option, where the car rental company charges you for the fuel after the trip. The cost can be higher than at a local gas station - which means the fuel cost could be lower if you drove yourself to a gas station. Also, there is little chance that you will actually use 99% of your tank, so some of your money is lost immediately. It's better to choose the FULL/FULL or SAME/SAME fuel option. It gives you the freedom to choose when and where you fill up and more options on fuel prices.
4: Explore reputable offers.
Find the agencies that have a wide car selection, as they will most likely give you better deals simply because they want to use as many cars as possible. If you can't gauge the credibility or success of an agency yourself, just use comparison sites. Also, some companies will give you better rates in Europe and others in America, so explore your options heavily.
The ultimate don'ts when renting a car:
- One-way drop-off fees can be expensive, so try to plan your trip so that the drop-off location is the same as the pick-up location.
- Don't just check the major providers. When exploring car rental options, we usually check the big names but don't neglect the smaller
- Don't procrastinate. Don't wait until the last minute to make your booking, as booking prices can be much higher this way. It is advisable to book your car at least 4 weeks in advance, especially during the high season.
- Don't just rent it for a day. Sometimes it is cheaper if you rent for a longer period of time. Explore your options and play around with pick-up and drop-off dates. Most likely, you'll get a better price for a week than just a few days.
- Sometimes package deals (a combination of flight and car or flight, hotel and car rental) can be a very good deal in terms of a cheap car rental, but double-check everything!
The most common hidden costs
We're sure you don't want to rent a car and end up paying a lot more than you expected. Below are some things you shouldn't ignore:
- Some car rental companies practice a daily fee for an additional driver.
- If you return your car early, you may have to pay an early return fee. You will also pay if you return your car later than agreed. Try to reserve your car for a few hours longer to avoid any problems.
- Make sure to check for any damage to your rental car before you go. Don't end up paying for someone else's mistake.
- Make sure your rental car includes the unlimited mileage option.
Now ... go rent a car and have the best road trip ever!