Vacationing is supposed to be carefree. A time when you can relax, lay back and see the world. But vacationing gets complicated and becomes the opposite of relaxing when you start to talk about transportation.
Getting to and from a place by plane is one thing. You get on, relax and the pilot does the rest. But if you are expecting to drive on your vacation, you are in for an adventure. If you decide to rent a car in your country, it can still be a headache. But renting a car where you drive on the other side of the road can be a nightmare.
Unfortunately, some travel destinations require a car, and if you plan on renting, beware. It can cost a pretty penny. But it does not have to with these simple tips.
- Rent away from the airport. Just like a everything else you purchase at the airport, renting a car will be significantly more expensive if you rent at the airport. Airport car rental agencies are able to charge sky high prices in exchange for the ease of getting off the plane and seamlessly stepping into a rental car. Do not be lured in. Many rental car agencies that are nearby the airport will offer free shuttles to and from the airport, making it just as easier- and cheaper- to rent a car.
- Shop around. Thankfully, the internet has made car rental comparison shopping infinitely better. Big car rental agencies will provide rates on all different cars so you can find the best price and option for you. Buying airplane tickets through a travel site? Save big by booking both at the same time. Travel sites like Expedia or Kayak will offer steep discounts for bundling up vacation packages. Save even more by tacking on your hotel reservation. If you are only looking for a car rental, call the rental agency directly and ask for a discount. It never hurts.
- Read the fine print and avoid extra fees. One sneaky fee that car rental agencies charge is to refuel the car. You are usually given two options: refill the gas tank yourself, or pay for the car agency to do it. Once while renting a car, we calculated the math; it was almost twice as much for the car rental agency to fill it up. Save yourself some dough and return the car with the fuel tank filled to the brim. And always clean out the car. Rental agencies can tack on cleaning charges if needed.
- Travel with flexible dates. Just like flights, car rental agencies have high and low days. And I’m sure you can guess on which days the rental prices are higher. If you can, try traveling on the weekend when car rentals are generally down. And just like hotels, the longer you keep the car, the bigger discount you will receive.
- Get an itemized bill. This is a good rule of thumb for any purchase. Be aware of what you are being charged for to avoid any sneaky fees.
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