Cheapest Way to Rent A Car – 10 Best Tips

Renting a car for your trip can be fun but wickedly expensive. Finding the best tips to save money will give you tons of opportunities to get the car you want and still have plenty leftover in your budget.

Through this post I hope to provide key tips for the cheapest way to rent a car that can be used to maximize your savings potential.

Use these 10 tips to save including:

Fill Up The Tank Yourself

Use One Driver

Have the Right Credit Card Ready to Use

Have The Oldest Driver Pay for Everything

Research Effectively Before Car Renting Trip

Stick To Budget By Not Buying Extra Features from Car Rental Agency

Rent Economy Cars

Use Booking.com

Use Your Own Insurance if Possible

Do you Need to Rent A Car?

These tips will help you find a way to rent a car without it breaking the budget for your trip.

Red Car Driving
Fill Up The Tank Yourself to Save on Fill Up Fee

Fill Up The Tank Yourself

Filling up the tank yourself will keep you from being charged extra to have someone else do it for you. This fill up tank is usually the price per gallon of gas and then the labor fee for this service. This can be a way for the car rental agency to charge you extra.

You can always check with your agency to see what their policy is for filling up the tank and what will be charged to you. I usually stop at a gas station near where I am supposed to drop off the car. Here I clean out the car interior and outside too of any noticeable dirt or trash.

There is most often a clean up fee for leaving a car particularly dirty so it saves you money to do it yourself. Sometimes the clean up fee is not that much but other times it can be surprisingly high.

If the car has gotten particularly dirty during your driving adventures, then you should get a car wash for the car. Even a simple one at a local gas station could help you from getting charged extra for the cleaning of the car.

Use One Driver

Use one driver when signing up for with the agency because this will save you some key money. Adding additional drivers to your plan will cost you more and this can be an additional fee every day that the car is rented.

Additional a younger driver can make the expense being particularly more because there can be 2 fees for this extra person. There is usually a young driver fee and an additional driver fee. The young driver fee is generally for anyone under-age 25 but there is also an under 21 fee too.

There also can be an over 65 fee too which we did not run into but is still important to look out for. These companies simply want to be protected and statistically a young or older drive is more likely to get involved in an accident.

Each car company is going to have its own rules for what they charge for young drivers. Read the fine print for each car rental company to get as informed as possible so you don’t get charged a bunch extra.

Have Credit Card Ready to Use

Have a credit card ready to use because this is the main way that a reservation is held by most companies. It is also important to know what your credit card limit is because this could be a factor for renting a car.

I had a relatively low credit limit which meant that I could not rent a more expensive car because those cars are too valuable. Check what your credit limit is could help you from not being able to reserve the car you are hoping to rent.

You can even make sure during your trip to use cards that do not charge any extra foreign transaction fees. I like to check a website that specializes in what the best travel cards are and how to get started with them. Check out Credit Karma’s website to find great information about the best travel cards.

Have The Oldest Driver Pay for Everything

Having the oldest driver pay for everything is another key way to save. On a recent trip to Peru with my slightly younger cousin it was very important for me to be the one paying for everything. This is because I am slightly older and this meant that it was cheaper for me to pay all the details.

The difference between me making all the bookings and payments actually was very significant. The older person is expected to have more maturity and be a safer driver.

Computer for Searching for Best Deals
Research Online Effectively Before Car Renting Trip

Research Effectively Before Car Renting Trip

Researching effectively before your car renting trip will set you for success because you will be informed. There is a lot of fine print with car rental companies. Reading all the little details connected with each car renting option is going to be important.

Take your time to research the best deals and search around at the bargain resources.

The following 4 are considered bargain car rental websites:

  • Priceline
  • Autorentals.com
  • RentalCars.com
  • Booking.com

All of these websites could be great for finding affordable deals but my best suggestion is to go with Booking. I explain why this is my best suggestion to use below. Taking your time will help you find the best deals and not feel pressured to go with an expensive package.

Stick To Budget By Not Buying Extra Features from Car Rental Agency

Stick to your budget when picking up your car rental because this will save you loads of money. The car rental agency will try to sell you tons of extra features that they claim you need to be protected.

While some extra features that they claim you need would be helpful, it is unlikely that they would be needed. Some of these features could include GPS, Insurance Protection, Customer Service Communication to help if there is a problem.

The bottom line is that one of the main ways that these agencies make money is by selling features to you that you probably don’t need.

Gray Basic Car
Rent Economy Cars

Rent Economy Cars

Go for economy cars instead of other luxury cars to save on money.

For my recent Peru trip the difference in picking a luxury car versus an economy car was a big one. The security deposit you put down for each car varies for each car. Security deposits for a luxury car will be much higher compared to an economy car deposit.

The main reason that the deposit is much higher is because the value of the luxury car is much higher than the value of the economy car. The security deposit is an amount that you will only be charged if some significant damage occurs to the car you are renting.

There can be other reasons why this deposit could be charged to your card too and check the car rental agencies’s policy about why this occurs.

Use Booking.com

Use Booking.com to find the best comprehensive and affordable deals. This resource could be useful for renting a car, hotel booking and how to find the best flight too.

Using this website will likely give you all the essential information about renting a car and how to acquire the most affordable deal for you. They break down the best deals and they are a free service to use.

The more frequently you book with this resource the better deals it will give you. I used this resource for my recent trip to Peru and it made it very easy to find all kinds of options to choose from for an affordable car.

If you want to learn more about this resource, read my Review of Booking.com.

Use Your Own Insurance

Using your own insurance can save you tons because you will not have to pay more for this feature from the car rental company. The car insurance company will likely try to charge you extra for their own specific insurance protection plan.

This is one of the main features that they want you to buy to keep yourself overly protected. Double check what your insurance covers when you are in another state or country. This is an important step to prevent you from feeling forced to pay extra just to be covered.

Do you Need to Rent A Car?

The key here is to determine whether you will need a car for your trip. The car can give you tons of freedom to explore on your trip but it can be unnecessary for many trips.

If you are visiting a city and plan to be in that city for the duration of your trip, then renting a car is not that practical. Trying to navigate a new city in a rental car doesn’t sound that fun to me and will cost much more for your trip.

This is where it is a good idea to plan out your in more detail ahead of time. Doing this will give you a realistic idea of whether you need a car or not.

You can see a lot of your area by walking around more. There are often options for public transportation in most cities you visit that can charge very cheap prices to get around.

Car Driving Towards a Snowy Mountain
You Are Ready for Your Next Adventure!

You Are Ready for Your Next Adventure!

You are ready for your next adventure because now you have some useful tips for your next car renting opportunity. Renting a car can be fun especially when you know the best ways to save and now you hopefully have gained a few of them.

Take your time to find the best deals and always read the fine print for each car rental company

I hope that you enjoyed this post about the cheapest way to rent a car and found useful tips to use on your next trip.

If you have any questions, please leave them here and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

4 Replies to “Cheapest Way to Rent A Car – 10 Best Tips”

  1. Wow, great post Jesse, and great tips!!! We all rent cars and think we know the process but a few of these I had no idea about. For instance, my wife (a bit younger than me) almost always makes our rental car reservations during travel. Who knows how much that could have saved us in the past. Thanks for the tip!!!

    I do have a question, as stated above we generally do try to rent a smaller model car than we’d actually need, especially if it’s just the two of us. Almost always, when we get to the counter, they ask if we’d like to get the next highest level car “at no extra charge”. Is this really no extra charge? Or are there other hidden costs that we’ve not really aware of? I’m always hesitant to do so although it does seem like a good idea at the time.

    Thanks again for this info. I’m sure to visit other parts of your website for other postings and topics.

    1. You are welcome!
      There are many factors when renting a car and it pays to do your research beforehand.
      There might not be an extra charge for being upgraded to the next level car at first. But there probably will be a bigger chance that you will be charged more if something happens such as a small accident.
      They probably will charge you the same car rental per day fee but if there is a significant car accident, then you will likely be charged the security deposit for the more expensive level car. The security deposit can be much higher for the next level car compared to the car that you initially reserved.
      I am happy that you liked this post!

  2. These are some great tips, I live in South Africa so most people own their own cars. When I purchased my car I had to rent an Avis car to travel to Johannesburg to pick it up. I should have actually found out if I could have used my own insurance for that trip I could have saved on that fee. I will have to look into that for next time.

    1. There can be many ways to save on renting a car. Many times your insurance will be more than sufficient to cover you when renting a car.
      I am glad that you liked this post!

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