What car rental tips and tricks will help you save money and headache?
Do you need a cheap car rental?
Which is the best car rental company?
Can you rent a car in a foreign country?
Do you need an international driver’s permit (IDP)?
Should you buy the insurance coverage with the rental company or use your personal auto insurance coverage?
To be honest, it really depends on your needs, preference and where you’re going. I rent cars often (domestically and internationally) and for me, it always depends on the location, rental rates & the rental policies/terms. Renting a car when traveling could break the bank and can be a headache if you don’t do your research. I’m giving you car rental tips & tricks that you need to save $$ and enjoy your travels.
Why rent a car?
- Renting a car allows you to explore more.
- It is a safe way to get around – especially if you are traveling alone.
- Renting a car could be the least expensive option for airport transfer/
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Major U.S. Based Rental Car Companies
- Dollar / Thrifty
- National / Alamo / Enterprise
- Budget / Avis
What things should you look for when renting a car?
- If you’re outside the U.S., verify if an international driver’s permit (IDP) is required. Generally, countries that you visit that speak English don’t require an IDP. You will want to check with the rental car office to verify if an IDP required. The IDP must be issued insurance leaving the U.S.
- Be sure that you have a credit card that will cover the cost of the rental and the deposit. Depending on the rental car company, the deposit can be anywhere from $50USD-$5,000USD – make sure you confirm what is!
- Book online & in advance to get the best deal however depending on where you travel you may need to call the rental car company directly.
- Verify what the policy is for crossing borders and/or state lines. There may be limitations however you want to know what those are prior to.
Other car rental tips & tricks to keep in mind
- Verify if there are toll roads that you will pass through during the time that you will have the rental car. If so, verify what options are available to either avoid the toll roads or to pay the less amount for them. Some rental companies will offer a toll device that will give you unlimited access to tolls. Compare your options should!
- Additional drivers. There are usually additional charges for other drivers. If you are traveling with a spouse, you may not be charged those additional charges. Avis, Budget, Enterprise & Fox don’t charge the usual fee per day fee for spouses or domestic partners.
- Parking. Do your research and verify what the parking options are. Does your hotel/Airbnb offer parking? If not, you may need to think outside the box! >>> See how creative you might have to get with parking options when renting a car.
- Be sure to inspect your rental car before leaving the lot. If there are ANY damages on or in the vehicle be sure to document them all on your rental agreement or inspection form.
Car Rental Tips & Tricks When Traveling with Kids
- Take your own car seat and/or booster seat. The car rental company usually offers the option to rent one but it can add up really fast (about $10-$15 a day each). You may also want to consider smaller sized travel car seats (depending on how many you’re traveling with and the size of the vehicle you’re renting).
- Be sure that you have plenty of entertainment for the kids.
- Are you taking a road trip?? ?? Road Trip w/ Kids | Top 5 Survival Tips
How can I save money on a rental car?
Cheap “Low price” rentals are great but you MUST read the rental policies/terms thoroughly to determine if it’s worth it for you. The cheap rental car companies offer really cheap rates but there is usually always additional cost they manage to sneak in somehow.
For example, they may give you a really cheap rate for the car rental but then be required to purchase their insurance coverage. This is going to increase the cost of renting the car. Another example – you may be given a cheap daily rental rate however the required deposit may be high – $1,000 or more and/or the allotted miles are limited. To get a cheap rental car click here or here. Here are a few of the cheap car rental companies:
- Fox Rent-A-Car
- Europcar Rental
- Economy Rent a Car
Should I get car rental insurance coverage?
Ok, so determining whether or not to get rental insurance coverage can be a little challenging. Car rental coverage can make or break your trip! Generally, I use my personal auto insurance coverage when traveling within the U.S. When I travel internationally, I usually go for insurance coverage through the rental car company or I buy travel insurance through a 3rd party. An added bonus to buying travel insurance is that depending on the plan you choose, it provides coverage for other travel-related disruptions – besides the rental car.
From my personal experience, having some kind of insurance coverage for a rental is always the best way to go – especially outside of the United States. Check with your personal auto insurance company and credit card company to verify if they offer coverage within the U.S. and/or while traveling abroad.
Depending on the country you’re traveling to, some banks or credit card companies may offer limited or no coverage. If you don’t have any coverage and/or have very limited coverage, I would definitely consider buying travel insurance. Get a quote to see what’s gonna be your best option.
Renting a car can really be fun! Get tips & tricks for renting a car while in St. Kitts.
Buying car rental insurance coverage through a 3rd party is also a great option if you are unable to use your personal auto insurance or if your credit card company doesn’t offer coverage. Get a free quote for rental insurance options!
What should I do when it’s time to return the rental car?
- Verify what time you have to return the car and if there is a grace period (usually 30 min – an hour is given).
- If the rental car office is not open 24/7 then ask if there is after-hours drop off option.
- Verify what the rate will be should you have to keep the rental for an additional day(s).
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