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Save Money On Your Summer Rental Car

By Erik Folgate

Gas prices are cheap, and more travelers are renting cars this summer. Rental car companies are in a price war, and you can find a mid-size car in some areas of the country for less than $20 per day. But, if you don’t do your research, you could get burned when it comes to renting a car. Here are a few tips to help you save money on a rental car.

  1. Book well in advance. Discount rental car companies are just like airline companies. As supply decreases the closer you are to the date of the departure or pick-up, the demand heavily increases. This increases the price of an airline ticket or rental car. If you have a trip coming up and you know the exact dates you’ll be traveling, then start looking to book your rental car as soon as possible. You’ll get a great rate. Also, take advantage of travel websites that will alert you of a rate drop.
  2. Sign up for rewards programs. Rental car companies often have loyalty programs like airlines and hotels. Make sure you sign up for the companies that you use most, because they often offer online coupons and reward points for frequently bookings.
  3. Don’t buy their insurance. Many car insurance policies will cover your collision and liability coverage if you pay for it on your primary car. Before you book, simply give your agent a call to confirm that you are covered in the event of an accident. If so, don’t waste the $10 to $20 a day paying for the renal car company’s damage waiver.
  4. Shop Around. Competition is fierce, especially at this time of year. Shop at websites like Car Rentals and Kayak for the best rate on a rental car.
  5. Ask about additional discounts. Many rental car companies give additional discounts for memberships such as AAA and AARP, being in the military, or being a senior citizen. Make sure that you ask, because they aren’t always quick to tell you about more discounts.

Saving money while you travel is so important, because it allows you to spend money on doing fun things during your travels. My philosophy is to go all out and spend money while on vacation as long as you are paying cash for it. But, it’s tough to indulge on your vacation if you paid too much for your airfare, rental car, and hotel. Do you have any more tips for saving on a rental car or other money saving travel tips? Share them below.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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