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How to Get the Best Deal on a Rental Car


Do you a car for your next vacation. Today we share how you can get the best deal on a rental car.


There's a reason I love road trips. Not only are they economical since I have a big family, but I love having my vehicle so I can get around easily and quickly, with my handy GPS detailing where I need to go. However, there are times when it isn't feasible to go on a road trip. We all know that the cost of a vacation, for business or pleasure, can add up quickly. Why waste money on a fancy rental car, with all of its hidden fees, when you really only need a set of wheels to get you from Point A to Point B? Here’s how to get the best deal on a rental car.


Ask the company about discounts. There may be some you haven’t considered. Most companies offer discounts to AAA and AARP members, but they might also have a loyalty program, a credit card or they might work with various hotels for package deals. Likewise, you should check to see if there is a better deal when buying your airfare, booking your hotel room, and securing your rental car all at the same time. Finally, you can always directly ask for a discount. The worst they can say is no!

Shop around online. As with airfare and hotel rooms, the best prices can be found online, during non-peak hours. If no one else is buying at 2:00 a.m., the rental car company is likely to drop the prices. Websites are cheaper for companies to operate because of low overhead, so even during more popular shopping hours, you’re likely to get some sort of discount. Be sure to check several travel sites, like Travelocity or Orbitz, to compare prices.

Overstay your welcome. While you may only need the vehicle for a few days, it’s possible that the weekly rate might work out to be a better price. If you’re booking online, check a variety of dates surrounding the time when you’ll need the vehicle.

Don’t wait too long. The best deals are typically secured in advance. If you book your rental car reservation ahead of time, you’ll lock in your rate and get the best choice of vehicle.


Avoid renting at the airport. You’ll end up paying more to rent at the airport because of access fees and surcharges to the leasing companies just to operate out of the airport. But if you do rent off-site, be sure to factor transportation to the agency in with your total cost. It might work out better just to rent at the higher airport rate. Also, make sure the rental agency will actually be open when you arrive and when you need to drop off the vehicle. If you do end up renting at the airport and don’t have a reservation yet, don’t be afraid to compare rates between different agencies there.

Think small. Lesser-known agencies may provide a quality rental vehicle at a competitive rate, simply because they’re not a household name. So go for a local rental agency in town, but also think small in terms of the actual vehicle you rent.

Book ahead for special requests. If you need anything extra, like a car seat, book in advance, and get any information about extra charges in writing.


It matters where you return the vehicle. If you need to drop your vehicle off at a different location, include the extra charges in your total cost. A higher daily rate that offers lower drop-off fees could be the better way to go.

Factor in gas and insurance. Unless you know you’ll be crunched for time, fill up the tank yourself before you return the vehicle. Otherwise, you’ll pay a hefty fee for the company to do it.  Talk to your insurance agent before you buy insurance with the rental agency. Know what your own auto coverage is in regards to rental vehicles.

Annmarie John
83 Comments
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83 comments:

  1. Thinking small has definitely worked for me in the past! On my last trip, I was able to get a Mustang convertible for an insane price by using a lesser known rental agency.

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    1. That's the way to go. You never know what you'll save until you check around.

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  2. These are excellent tips. I travel often, and one of the biggest money sinks is renting at the airport. They will absolutely rob you.

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    1. Oh tell me about it. We went to NYC last year and we rented at the airport. NEVER AGAIN!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing these tips. One of the biggest expenses of traveling is car rental. They really charge you an arm and a leg if you aren't careful.

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    1. Oh yes they sure do! You definitely need to be careful.

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  4. Awesome! Thanks for the info! We are looking to rent a car soon to take on vacation!

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    1. Enjoy your vacation and I hope you get a good deal.

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  5. Discounts can change, too. I remember Petsmart and Avis had a deal for a while. It seemed like an odd pairing, but heck, it saved me some cash!

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    1. As long as it saves you money, that's awesome.

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  6. These are great tips. We rent cars most of the time when we travel so I will definitely keep these tips in mind.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

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    1. I only rent when we travel and don't have our own vehicle or there's no public transport around. Like for example in NYC, you really don't need one but hubby and I rented once when we traveled back home, because we wanted to visit friends, and it was super expensive.

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  7. We have to rent a car next week in Orlando! I know Cassidy has shopped around a lot in the past - asking for discounts and doing it in advance. Sadly it's not in advance but hopefully it will go ok!

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    1. I'm sure it will go OK. Cassidy seems to know exactly what to do when it comes to stuff like that.

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  8. this is seriously so helpful! I am booking a car rental in June and just had no idea how to go about it. You've answered so many of my questions!

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    1. I'm so glad that I was able to help. Good luck with your rental in the summer.

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  9. OH man this post hits home for me! I spend FOREVER trying to get a great deal on a rental a few months and still felt like got ripped off ;( I am saving this for the next family vacay we take! Sharing on facebook ;)

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    1. I'm glad I was able to help you and the worst feeling, is feeling ripped off. Maybe next time it'll go better.

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  10. I don't get rental cars very often, but these tips sound very useful. Now I would know that I might be able to get a better deal on a car if I try.

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    1. Well I hope you do get a better deal than what you've been getting.

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  11. Hubby and I are going to be traveling this month so this is such a helpful post for us! Love these tips!

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    1. Good luck with your travels and if you're renting, I hope these tips will help you.

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  12. I have never rented a car! We have always driven to our destination. These tips may come in handy in the future though, as we want to start flying more!

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    1. If you're planning on flying, then you may need to rent one day. Hopefully with these tips you'll be able to save on your next rental.

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  13. I rent cars pretty frequently when I travel. These are great tips to help me get a good deal.

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    1. Are there any other tips you can share on how you get your own deals?

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  14. I love learning all the different ways to save money. Since we travel and rent cars frequently, this will be a great help

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    1. Oh I love learning how to save money as well so I use them myself. What other ways do you save?

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  15. I am so lucky to have a great discount with my university. I get to have a medium car, but I would like to drive smaller ones when it is just me. Good tips!

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    1. Since I usually travel with my family I usually get a medium car. I've never had a small car but they are a lot more economical.

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  16. I've never had to rent a car before but I have driven from NY to Florida. I've thought about renting a car for the drive instead of using my own. These are such helpful tips!

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    1. I've never drove a rental car that far before but that is a good idea if you want to save the mileage on your own car.

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  17. These are great tips! We rent cars frequently for travel and I always try to shop around for the best deal-they can get expensive!

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    1. Oh yes they sure can but I've noticed that the longer you rent, the cheaper they become.

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  18. All of these are great tips and some of them I haven't thought of. We rent a car occasionally when needed. We do have AAA so get that discount and have rented enough from the same company that they always try to give us the best car and deals. Pretty sweet.

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    1. AAA discount is pretty good and seems like you have a good car rental company. That's awesome!

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  19. We are traveling this spring and I was thinking about renting a car instead of using ours if I could find a good deal. Thanks for the advice!

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    1. Be sure to check to see if there's a mileage limit because some car rental companies give you a limit so be sure to check out all the details when you rent.

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  20. We love renting a car when we fly somewhere - So any tips on saving money is totally worth it!

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    1. It all depends on where we travel to. For example, whenever we go to Walt Disney World, there is no need to rent because the Disney shuttle takes you wherever you want to go.

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  21. So many great tips! I know I will definitely need to rent cars this year because I have a lot of traveling to do and this helps so much!

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    1. Sounds like you have a full 2017 ahead, here's to a lot of savings as well.

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  22. I've always hated renting a car because I felt lost. I always felt like I could get a better deal and now I KNOW I can!

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    1. Oh you sure can get a good deal when renting, you just have to call and shop around.

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  23. This is such a great post! We are planning to rent a car when we go to Florida next month!

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    1. And now you have a bit of tips on how to go about getting a great deal on your rental when you travel to Florida.

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  24. Great tips! We have only rented a car twice, and both times it was because our family car was in the shop and I needed something to drive. Perhaps we'll rent on our next vacation!

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    1. We've rented quite a few times and each time it gets easier, at least for me. Let me know if my tips help whenever you do rent.

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  25. II have never rented a car because you have to be 25 in order to rent (still got three years to go!) so my husband always has to rent for us!

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    1. The last I heard, you had to be 21. Not sure if that's changed recently but no matter who rents, these tips will help you all.

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  26. You have some good tips. One thing to consider is that for some places, it's better to rent within a week of travel vs early because you'll get a better price.

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    1. That is also true for certain places. However, the earlier you book, you sometimes get your choice of car.

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  27. I don't usually need to rent a car but I remember what my friend told me about weekly rates being better for a weekend rent. Good post, I think our Florida trip next month can use one!

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    1. Yes, if you rent during the week, it is definitely cheaper than renting on the weekend. It's like with everything, including hotel rates, weekends are more expensive.

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  28. We are going on vacation and haven't rented a car in ages and now you have basically done all the research for us with your post! Thank you so much for these tips!

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    1. You're very welcome. Enjoy your vacation.

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  29. Those are great tips! I haven't used a rental car in years but I always ask for an upgrade when I'm there.

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    1. I don't rent as much as I used to. Now I take road trips using my own vehicle, but whenever I can't have my own vehicle, these tips work for me.

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  30. Great tips and right on time for this girl! We're headed to Las Vegas last night and will need a rental car!

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    1. Enjoy Vegas! You know what they say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", get your rental and have fun!

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  31. I have never had to rent a car; thought about it, but never did. I have heard some great tips about renting and this post seems to put them all together.

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    1. Well the tips will always be here if you need them when you're ready to get your first rental.

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  32. Great advice on going with a smaller, local agency! We are so bombarded with the idea of going with a national brand that it is easy to forgot that the smaller guy might give better rates and service.

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    1. That's how it is in the world today though. Bigger companies aren't always better companies. They very rarely care about you but more about the money.

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  33. We are going on vacation soon to a place we have never been so these are tips i will keep in mind. I never though of staying a little longer to get a better rate, i wouldn't mind a few more days on vacation!

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    1. Yes the longer you rent the cheaper it becomes. It's like they give you a discount for keeping their car longer.

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  34. They do charge a ton if you don't fill it up with gas. I like to rent once in awhile just to test a new type of car. :)

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    1. They sure do so I always remember to fill up before I take them back. I wish they didn't, especially if I'm in a place where gas is expensive.

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  35. I have never rented a car before! These are great tips. We have been thinking about taking a vacation and are trying to figure out if flying and renting a car makes more sense.

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    1. Sometimes it does but weigh the pros and cons. Is it more economical to fly? How about doing a road trip? Sometimes, especially if you have a big family, it's cheaper to do a road trip than to fly.

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  36. I agree with you, it's so important to plan ahead when you are considering renting a car. By planning ahead, you can secure some more competitive rates than if you wait until the last possible minute before your trip.

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    1. It's always a good idea to plan ahead, however, sometimes last minute planning works out as well.

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  37. I'm going to be road tripping soon so a rental car (or many) is on the agenda. Loved reading your tips ask I will sure need them!

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    1. Are you road tripping in your own vehicle or renting cars along the way? However you do it, I'm sure you'll save.

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  38. I have had to rent a vehicle a couple of times and it was always a hassle. These are great tips for when I need to get one again.

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    1. I have to be honest and say that I'm not a fan of renting cars, I try not to do them if I don't have to, but when I do have to do it, it's not that bad.

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  39. Sound tips to get the best deal on a rental car! So true - we are often tempted to tick off the task at airport. Makes sense to research in advance, online.

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    1. Oh yes renting at the airport is going to cost you a lot more. You can check online and book and pick up at the airport, but never get your car at the airport the day you fly in.

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  40. Agreed! Renting at the airport is never cheap! I usually book online near the place I'm staying it! By the way it also helps if you have a corporate account with a specific car rental company and stick to their services while traveling!

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    1. That's great for those with corporate accounts but most of us don't have that option so any tip that can save some money is what we need.

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  41. I have found that booking ahead of time is significantly cheaper than ever just walking in to rent a car. Sometimes it's half the cost, and sometimes it can even be a third of the cost. It's amazing! xx Adaleta Avdic

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    1. Oh most definitely. Never ever just walk in unless you absolutely have no other options.

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  42. Excellent read, I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that. Cars Tips & Tricks

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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