Road travel is a wonderful American pastime for a reason. There is no such thing as rolling windows, making music, hitting the highway. But if spending hundreds of dollars on a rented car seems less than ideal, do not worry. It is possible to cut some costs, whether you are using a traditional car rental company or one of the newer alternatives. Here are seven tips to keep in mind when packing your bags.

1. Rent from a strategic location

map with geographical connectionAirport agencies may have the best inventory, but convenience and demand can increase the cost of cars from those lots. According to Coupons.com spokeswoman Janet Pavini, sometimes it is better to rent from a nearby location instead, as base prices and taxes may be lower. Get a few quotes before booking to make sure your “outside the airport” location is actually cheaper. It’s also a good idea to look for a facility that is easily accessible by taxi or public transportation. Sometimes you can even return the car to the airport at no extra charge.

2. Take action against hidden insurance premiums

magnifying glass with dollar signInsurance is possible when you are behind the wheel. But you do not need to pay for renting an unnecessary car through a rental company, which can significantly increase your total bill if you are otherwise insured. Your car insurance policy can provide rental coverage, so call an agent to find out more about your specific situation. Pavini also offers to check with your credit card company to see if your card offers this benefit, which may allow you to opt out of the extra insurance premiums.

Review your policy.

3. Choose one-way rentals

right arrowIn general, it is expensive to take a rented car from one place to another. But car rental companies sometimes need to move their fleets across the country to meet seasonal demand (say, from northeast to Florida in winter). One-way rentals during these periods can be severely reduced or the departure fee canceled. Sign up for hire newsletters, check out the offer pages online, or call the companies right away to ask for special fleet offers.

4. Shop around

shopping cartOnline car rental coupons are extremely popular, says Pavini, so always check them before booking. And compare the cost of packing a car, hotel and airline tickets with renting a separate car. If you rent for a few days, he offers to check if the weekly rate is cheaper. you will have the opportunity to return the car early. “Just make sure it is not penalized,” he added.

5. Be active և prepayment

CREDIT cardMany rental agencies offer discounts if you pay in advance. Or it’s usually not a lot of money, says Pavini, every little bit of savings adds up. However, keep in mind that you can rarely make changes when you pay in advance; cancellation can mean you lose money.

6. Work in your networks (social և IRL) for discounts

network peopleIf you belong to a credit or employment union or have a membership in a warehouse club, it is better to start with the prices from them, says Pavini. “These groups are negotiating with companies to get better deals for members.” Do you plan in advance? Sign up for car rental newsletters և Follow the big rental companies on social media so you’ll be the first to hear about offers when they are announced.

7. Try a Car Exchange Club

SUVInstead of going straight to your nearest car rental company, think of a car rental club where you pay a monthly membership fee (less than $ 7 per month) to drive by the hour or day. According to Pavini, the potential savings depend on how often you rent and where. “If you rent a car often, it might be worth it,” he explains. But always compare costs. “Before you sign up, get an interest rate on the cities you drive the most,” he says.

By Daniel Blandel

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