If you are planning a summer road trip, you should be ready to pay for higher fees for rental vehicles from the likes of Hertz and Enterprise. This is because the summer season is considered as the industry’s peak season and, thus, prices are expected to spike from early June to the end of August. Fortunately, you can drive away with more savings by keeping these tips in mind.
Look for Discounts Online
You will be surprised to find that car rental agencies offer generous discounts for their target customers. You just have to use the Internet to find these discounts, which should be easy considering that you will let your fingers do the walking, so to speak.
A few tips:
- Search for discounts in coupon-dedicated sites, such as GroupOn.com, CouponWinner.com, and Promotionalcodes.com, among others.
- Type in the rental agency’s name and “coupon code” (e.g., Hertz coupon code) into your browser’s search bar, browse the results, and choose the right coupon codes.
In both instances, you are likely to find discounts given to members of travel-related organizations, such as those with frequent flier programs and their partners. For example, you can get car rental discounts when you’re a member of AAA.
Perform Comparison Shopping
You will also be using the Internet for this purpose since you can compare the rental rates between two agencies, such as Hertz and Enterprise, without pounding the pavement. You have to look beyond the upfront fees since there will likely be additional charges, perhaps even hidden fees. Your comparison may include the upfront fees as well as the insurance charges, extra fees for second driver and the like, and costs for pick-up.
Reserve the Vehicle for a Longer Period
You may think it counterintuitive but when booking a vehicle, you should consider renting it for a longer period than your original plan. When you add on an extra day, perhaps even just a couple of hours, into the rental duration, you are actually lowering your rate. This strategy works because you will be taking advantage of the lower fees targeted at leisure travelers.
But you have to return the vehicle before the time is up to avail of the savings. Besides, the extra time tacked on the contract means that you have ample time to actually deliver on your end of the deal.
Most important, you have to negotiate the rental rate with the agency. You can ask for a more affordable fee on the same car when you can show proof of your safe driving record, for example, since the lesser risk you are as a customer, the greater your leverage during negotiations.