Securing the Best Rental Car for Your Needs

A positive travel experience depends on selecting the ideal rental automobile for your needs.

By shopping around, comparing rates, and inspecting vehicles for damage, you can secure a great car at an affordable price.

Be flexible with pickup and drop-off dates to save even more. Follow these six tips to help you find the perfect vehicle for your next trip!

Consider Your Needs


When renting a car, there are several things you should keep in mind to ensure that you get the best experience possible. This begins with thinking about your specific needs, such as the vehicle size you will need. If you are traveling alone, for example, you may not need a large SUV. In this case, a compact car may suffice. This will save you time and money when it comes to your rental. For personalized rental solutions and tailored vehicle options, consider the offerings provided by Budget Car.

Shop Around

Like airfare, rental car prices are often flexible if you’re willing to play the game. Since you don’t usually prepay for a car rental, you can shop around or present a membership card that may qualify you for a lower price. For example, presenting your loyalty card can convince reps to reduce prices to retain customers.

Moreover, smaller rental agencies may be more receptive to haggling than larger companies, which might have more rigid policies. Using online tools, you can evaluate costs from several suppliers.

For instance, a free service includes discounts, coupons, and other promotions. It also alerts you if the price drops after you book, allowing you to cancel and rebook for a better rate. The best part is you can do all this from the comfort of your own home.

Ask for a Discount

It’s a little-known fact that you can negotiate a discount when renting a car. While many agencies have set rates, it’s not uncommon for there to be room for a bit of haggling, especially during off-peak times and when there is an oversupply of vehicles. Pro Tip: Smaller, independent rental agencies are often more willing to negotiate because they have a different customer volume than larger chains. Also, try booking online through cash-back shopping portals, frequent flyers, and hotel booking platforms offering loyalty points. These may be worth a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Ask about duration discounts, which can be lower than regular daily rates. Additionally, make sure you understand the fuel policy of the vehicle you are renting to avoid any unexpected charges.

Read the Fine Print

It’s easy to agree to terms and conditions without thoroughly reading them, but rental car companies often hide hefty fees within their fine print. Michaels recommends carefully studying all terms and conditions before booking a rental car, including the cancellation policy, extra charges, and geographic restrictions. For example, unlimited mileage may only be offered for rentals at a specific location. If you drive outside that coverage area, expect to be charged 50 cents per mile. Also, if you plan to use your credit card for insurance coverage, ensure the card company’s terms and conditions allow it. Otherwise, you could void any coverage that’s on your card.

Another thing to look out for is an arbitration clause that requires you to submit any disputes to binding arbitration.

Be Flexible


As the semiconductor chip shortage causes rental car agencies to have fewer vehicles available, rates are rising in many popular vacation spots. Shop around for the best prices, but don’t remember to consider quality. Check websites to see the quality of cars each supplier offers, and read reviews. A more expensive rental will likely have better service or more reliable vehicles.

Also, renters should be aware that some companies place a block on your credit or debit card for more than the amount you pay at the counter. That is designed to ensure that you have enough money in your account to cover any extra charges. You can cancel your initial reservation and make a new one at a discounted price if the price reduces.

Book Early

With the economy finally rebounding, rental car companies have been working hard to boost their inventory. If you can avoid renting on a day when demand is high, you’ll be more likely to find availability and a better price.

Another way to secure a great car rental deal is to book early. Rental car prices are most competitive within the 4-6 months before you travel. Booking too far ahead can cost you more than waiting until a few weeks before your trip.

Additionally, booking as early as possible is worth booking if you’re after a more expensive car like a convertible, four-wheel drive, or luxury vehicle. These cars are typically more challenging to come by, and they’re gone once they’re gone. Finally, rental car prices fluctuate and often drop at the last minute. Keyes recommends checking rates at least once weekly until the week before you travel.