How to Save on Car Rentals is a post inspired by a huge mistake I made. Had I not investigated more, I would have ended up paying almost $500 for this mistake. (I chose the comic book theme on this image.. because I really felt I needed a superhero to the rescue).
Traveling with a family of 6 is expensive. My husband’s family lives back East. With us living here in Las Vegas, it makes it hard to travel back there often. We tried to go back for Christmas, but airlines tickets were outrageous. Our budget didn’t allow us to spend $3000 in airline tickets. However, shortly before Christmas, I did come across an amazing deal through Frontier Airlines, we took advantage of one of their specials and got tickets for the family for under $1000.00. I was ecstatic. It wasn’t the preferred time we wanted to go, but in order to save money and stay within our budget these were some of the little sacrifices we had to make.
Car rentals are really expensive for us, since we always have to get a minivan or large suv to fit the family. So before I purchased my tickets, I checked how much a car rental would be. I searched my favorite car rental site.. aka Hotwire, normally how I save on car rentals and they found a great deal through Enterprise Car Rental for around $377.00.
I thought we were all set! I made my reservation got my confirmation email etc.. My husband starting mapping out our route and noticed the reservation I made with Hotwire ended up being at a location almost an hour away from the airport. What?!! I am one of those people who type in airport codes when traveling. How could this be? I never had issues with Hotwire and now they disappointed me. When I called, they couldn’t explain what happened either. The vehicle I reserved wasn’t considered a hot rate ( a hot rate would have required me to pay in advance) so I was fortunate that I could cancel the reservation.
But now my $377.00 car rental mistake would cost me $960.00! This was practically the same price as what I paid for my tickets! My cheap trip, was no longer going to be cheap.
So with hours of research. I finally found how to save on car rentals and here’s what I learned:
1.) Renting a car at the airport rental is usually more expensive.
2.) Look for a location off site. I happened to find a location less than 4 miles away from the airport.
3.) Checked cab fare / shuttle fees. For us traveling 3 miles away in DC was estimated to be $20.00. Paying this cost was well worth the savings.
4.) Check the drop rate charges. With Enterprise I could rent the car off site and drop it at a different location for $50.00. I’d have to pay $20.00 to take a taxi back to the airport so spending an extra $30.00 to return the vehicle at the airport was definitely worth the cost and convenience.
5.) Make a reservation without paying anything in advance. This was you can continue to search deals, up until your travel date to find the lowest cost.
By doing this, I was able to save close to $500.00. Yes, it did inconvenience us at the beginning of our trip. But not at the end, and not for the amount we saved.
Car rental prices change often and normally on Wednesday you can find them at their lowest rate. This situation may or may not work depending on the area you are visiting. BUT…. It’s definitely worth checking out to see if my idea how to save on car rentals works for you.
Do you have a different way on how to save on car rentals?