5 Bulletproof Tips for Scoring a Dirt-Cheap Car Rental

rental car
Renting a car can sometimes feel like the most complicated part of travel. The endless add-ons, knowing what’s required and what isn’t, and deciding whether to pay for gas in advance (don’t, by the way) — it’s all a bit overwhelming. Rental car providers like it that way because unprepared renters wind up paying two to three times what they should. Here are five simple tips for securing a dirt-cheap rental car and sailing past the pick-up counter.

Skip the Airport Rental Car Counter Entirely

After a long flight, it’s a wonderful feeling to pick up your rental car without ever leaving the airport. Rental companies know this, however, and often charge a 10-30% premium for airport pickups. To pocket the premium instead, find the next closest rental office and take an Uber or Lyft to and from the airport. Travelers looking for a week-long rental can save big with this tactic.

Prepay for Your Reservation

Most major rental companies now offer discounts to travelers who prepay. Often, the price comparison (prepaying versus paying on drop-off) is spelled out on the provider’s website. If not, make an inquiry to see if you can save by paying the total in advance.

Know Whether You Really Need Add-on Insurance

Between third-party travel insurance, credit card perks, and your personal auto insurance, the chances are good that you’re already covered on your rental car. Call the appropriate provider or read the fine print on each of these policies to confirm in advance. Skipping the daily add-on insurance can help you save up to $25 per day (in some cases more than the daily car rental rate itself).

Book Your Rental Car for Longer

It sounds strange, but reserving your rental car for longer than you need it can prove to be much cheaper. This is especially true when, for example, you book your car for a week when you only need it for five days. The behind-the-scenes pricing model targets vacationers who are more likely to rent cars over the weekends.

Always Ask for More

Whether booking a hotel room, securing a rental car, or angling for a better seat on your next flight, the best advice for travelers is to always ask for more. If you’re traveling off-peak and the agent at the rental counter knows they have better cars which are likely to sit idle, they’re often happy to provide an upgrade if you ask nicely. We once upgraded from a basic, full-size car to a convertible Corvette for just $25 more per day just because we knew to ask. The worst they’re going to say is: “I’m sorry, we don’t have anything available.”

Fashion & Style

TACS Watches: Lifestyle-Inspired Design Where Form Meets Function

TACS watches are an easy way to upgrade your watch rotation.

The Sexy, Sleek Look of a Bugatti is Now Available for Your Home

Each piece has curves inspired by the legendary automaker’s sleek cars.

The Recently Revealed McLaren GT is a Road Trip-Ready Supercar

This is the first-ever McLaren built exclusively for the road and not the racetrack.
Food & Drink

These Countertop Homebrewing Appliances are the Easiest Way to Make Your Own Beer

Meet your toaster’s new neighbor: a box that makes beer.

If You Like It Hot, Scottsdale’s Resorts Serve Scorching Summer Deals

The great thing about summer in Scottsdale is that as soon as the temperatures begin to rise, the resort rates dip, making that dream vacation a total reality.

How to Live Comfortably Out of Your Car for a Few Weeks

Here’s everything you’ll need to stay safe, sane, and happy when you choose to live out of your car.

Where to Visit the Real-World Game of Thrones Filming Locations

From Winterfell to King's Landing, here are three ways to see the most iconic Game of Thrones shooting locations come to life.

This Vintage Travel Trailer Just Sold at Auction for a Ton of Money

A perfectly preserved Travelodge Vintage Travel Trailer from 1937 gives us a look at what qualified as luxury travel back in the good ol' days.

The Best Passport Holders for Any Type of Traveler

From the overly organized traveler to the ambitious traveler, we've got you covered.

10 Best National Parks to Visit When the Weather is Warm

With spring in full swing and summer looming on the horizon, it’s an ideal time to begin exploring the great outdoors. What better place than at one of our many U.S. National Parks?

The Best Luggage Brands for Every Type of Traveler

You don't need to drop a grand to score a piece of stylish, durable luggage.

The Ultimate Deadwood Movie Viewing Party Can be Found in the Real-Life Town of Deadwood

If you’re among the series devotees who have been awaiting the Deadwood movie for more than a decade, you should definitely head to South Dakota for the best viewing parties in the country.

Airlines May Soon Weigh Passengers to Cut Fuel Costs and Emissions

The more accurately they can predict weight, the more efficiently they can fly. However, we can't see this ever taking off in the United States.

Get Outta Town, Not Outta Cash: Affordable Summer Vacation Ideas

If you're flexible and a bit creative, your next getaway might be memorable, cheap, and lots of fun.