This article includes a few car rental secrets to help you save hundreds of dollars on your next vacation. Like that idea? Read on.
When consumer demand is high, car rental rates will also be high. Sorry to break that news to you but it is reality. Here is a recent car rental rate I found.
Initial Car Rental Search
Ouch! That Hertz. Ha!
Would you pay over $500 to rent a standard car for one week? There is really nothing special about this car rental request either. Pickup and return to the same location, keep it for a week, and even apply a discount code. It does include the 4th of July holiday but the following weeks are even higher (I just checked). Insanity!
To find cheap rental cars start with these tips: see Basic Car Rental Tips
Yes, you could click the “Save $ Pay Now” button to save more than 10% (on the first car) but please do not! I will show you how to do much better and save hundreds of dollars.
Find Cheaper Rental Car Rates
Often my next step is to look at other car rental companies and employ some other car rental strategies. Please read 8 Great Savvy Car Rental Strategies.
I also typically search car rental rates on Autoslash, which compares several companies at once. Autoslash also continues searching rates after I book one. Very powerful for finding cheap car rental rates.
Lately, though, my second step for finding cheap rental cars has been to go to Costco Travel. Half of my car rentals this year have been through Costco Travel. Why not? Lower prices and same service. I choose Avis when possible and the Costco Travel reservation even applies my Wizard benefits.
Looking at the same dates and times as above, Costco Travel found these cheap car rental rates.
OK, truth be told, this rate is NOT from the airport. It is from a car rental location 5 miles away from the airport.
Cheap Rental Car
Is it worth the hassle to visit a non-airport car rental site to save over $200?
Of course I hope you agree with me that the answer is Yes and here are some McCool Travel tips to ease the process.
First, notice that a higher class vehicle costs less. I love finding these quirks. My latest car rental was a luxury class car costing the same as an economy class vehicle. I drove that car over 2,000 miles during a 2 week period, from South Florida to Northern Virginia. I recently saw a super cheap car rental for an upcoming trip that is a pickup; hundreds of dollars less than the lowest priced cars.
Second, notice that Avis is actually less expensive than Budget and Enterprise. It is a mistake to think that Hertz and Avis does not offer cheap car rentals. You just gotta know how to find them!
Getting to Offsite Car Rental Location
Third, you will likely take Lyft, Uber, or a taxi from the airport to the offsite car rental location. Sure, that will cost some money. My estimate is $20 each way so you will still save a lot of money overall. Plus, with frequent discounts, your Lyft/Uber ride may be less. Factoring in waiting for the car rental shuttle bus versus catching an immediate ride, you may be in your rental car sooner at the offsite location than from the airport. WHAT? Yes, I said it.
NOTE: you must be a Costco member to book rental cars through Costco Travel but it is worth it. The AAA membership, though, is another story. Here is my article about why I decided NOT to renew my AAA membership.
For more cheap rental car tips see Stealthy Rental Car Maneuvers
Like these car rental secrets?