After a long flight, followed by a sometimes even longer wait at the baggage
claim, many people rush through the rental car process, desperate to get out
of the airport. I don’t think it would be too far to even say that some car rental
companies depend on you to be stressed out and at your wits end. Never fear
though, there are some things you can do to improve your rental car experience
and save some money in the process.
Picking Your Car
This one should be common sense. Whatever your trip involves, you want a car
that can meet those requirements. So if you are on a grand ski trip through the
Alps with your family, you will probably need an SUV to carry everything.
Similarly, if you are on a weekend get away up the Pacific Coast Highway
getting a two-seat roadster like a Mazda Miata or Mercedes Benz SL is only
going to make your trip that much better. Another thing to consider is the gas
mileage of your vehicle. If you are planning on driving a lot of miles, it might
be worth it to pick a car that gives you more miles-per-gallon. Many rental
companies also offer hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, which gets
upwards up 45 mpg city.
Booking in Advance
The Internet is truly a magnificent thing. Among being able to order everything
from groceries to Soviet war memorabilia online, you can now also book
your rental car in advance. Major car rental companies like Enterprise, Hertz,
Alamo, Avis and Budget all offer online booking in advance, so you can get from
airplane to car as quickly as possible. Booking online also gives you an
opportunity to find coupons and promos to save some money on your next rental.
Booking in advance can save you time and money.
Get Ready for Hidden Costs
In recent years, car rental companies have become more transparent about
what the actual cost of your rental will be. Still, it’s easy to fall for a seemingly
amazing rate, only to discover later that you also must pay hidden fees like
drop-off costs, gas, insurance, extra driver fees, and state and local taxes. Many
times advertised rates are only for off-season prices, or car models that are
not suitable or no longer available. Also quotes are subject to rapid change,
much like airline prices, depending on car supplies. Booking in advance will help
you avoid changing costs, but be aware if you don’t that the price of a car when
you took off can change by the time you landed.
Don’t let rental car difficulties get in the way of your vacation. Know what you’re
looking for and be ready for costs that might change so you aren’t caught off
guard. If you plan out ahead of time, you should have no problems in picking
the right car and enjoying your vacation.