Your vacation is almost over, you are rested and relaxed until you return the rental car and the bill is placed in front of you. There must be a mistake, it’s alot more than you had budgeted. Your credit card is melting in your hand.
How does this happen… When renting make sure you get the total price that includes all taxes and fees. These fees are not included in the daily rate and can add over 50 percent to your bill.
If possible, avoid renting at the airport. Renting at your hotel or other downtown location can save you money. Of course you have to factor in transportation to and from the airport. Here is an example. I went to Travelocity to book a standard car for three days choosing to pick it up at SFO airport.
- 3 days at $58.75 … $176.26
- Transportation fee … $17.45
- Airport fee … $17.63
- Sales tax … 16.00
- Total … $231.75
The same vehicle rented from the same company at a downtown location was
- 3 days at $43.04 … $129.12
- Sales Tax … $10.97
- Total … $140.09
A saving of $91.66. A shuttle from the airport to downtown is $15.00. Some hotels have complimentary shuttles for guests.
Going directly to the rental car site the the savings were greater, cost for the airport rental was $199.00 and downtown $113.18.
Here are some time and money-saving tips:
- Book early – there may not be vehicles available and if supply runs short the price goes up
- In business markets avoid Wednesday, it is a peak day for rentals
- When booking with an agent inquire about special promotions
- Online bookings look for web deals
- Get the final price with all taxes and fees included
- Get a confirmation number and have it at checkin
- Avoid late fees these can be as high as 50 percent of the daily fee, there is usualy a 59 minute grace period
- Weekend rates end at 2pm Sunday so a late pickup will encure weekday rates
- If you are returning the vehicle to a different location check the charges
- Be aware of seasonal rate changes for example, SUV’s are expensive in ski country while converibles command higher prices in sunny climates
- Gas up before returning the vehicle
- Check with your insurace company as to coverage
- Your credit card may provide insurance coverage, be aware conditions apply get a copy of the insurance agreement from your credit card company
- When travelling in Europe you will have to get insurance
- Join frequent renters club ( Budget, FastBreak, Avis Preferred, National Emerald Club, Hertz #1 Club Gold, etc.) as club members receive top priority.
Doing a little leg work can save you lots of time and money.