Car Rental Tips for Travelers on a Budget

Many travelers shy away from renting vehicles, as they believe it to be prohibitively pricey. While it’s true that renting a car isn’t exactly cheap, there are numerous ways to make it comfortably affordable. So, if you’d like to have access to a reliable vehicle on your next trip, renting a car is an option worth considering. Even if you’re working with a very limited budget, vehicle rental shouldn’t prove financially strenuous – provided, of course, you’re working with the right tips.

Explore Your Options 

When it comes to renting vehicles, there are many more options than most of us realize. So, if you have little to no experience with regard to rental cars, it’s in your best interest to go online and start comparison shopping. Through doing this, you’re likely to discover that there are a large number of attractive options in your immediate price range. So, if a trip to Illinois is in your near future, bring up your favorite search engine and enter “car rental Chicago.” 

While there’s no denying the importance of cost, a rental service’s approach to customer service should be every bit as vital to your decision. Some services won’t hesitate to overload customers with hidden fees and hold them responsible for damage they didn’t cause. This is where the web’s most prominent consumer feedback tools are sure to come in handy. Resources like Consumer Reports, the Better Business Bureau’s website and Google Customer Reviews can provide you with a clear picture of what you’ll be getting from a wide assortment of rental services. Major car rental companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car are competitive on rates so it’s good to use these sort of businesses to start your research

Take Advantage of Discounts 

There’s a very good chance that you’re eligible to receive car rental discounts that you’re not even aware of. Many major credit card companies, for example, provide card holders with convenient discounts on vehicle rentals. Furthermore, a sizable number of banks offer similar discounts to their customers. So, if you’re curious about the discounts for which you may be eligible, don’t hesitate to ask a representative from your preferred rental service.    

Don’t Purchase Rental Insurance 

At first glance, rental car insurance is liable to seem like a no-brainer. After all, if something happens to the vehicle while it’s in your possession, you don’t want to get stuck paying for that damage out-of-pocket. However, it’s important to understand that many auto insurance policies already provide policy-holders with coverage for non-owned vehicles. So, before shelling out the cash for rental insurance, make a point of reviewing your current policy.   

Refuel the Vehicle in Advance of Returning it 

No one relishes refueling rental vehicles before bringing them back. Doing so is cumbersome and entails paying for gas you won’t even get to use. Still, blowing off this crucial step stands to add a hefty fuel service fee to your bill. If you neglect to refill the tank before returning your car, this task will fall to the rental service – and they’re likely to charge you more than you’d pay at the pump. As such, unless you’re in a tremendous hurry, make a point of refueling your next rental vehicle prior to returning it. Additionally, avoid purchasing prepay fuel plans, as these often entail spending more on fuel than you otherwise would have. 

Don’t Get GPS 

If onboard GPS is an option, you may be able to save some money by declining it. While GPS can prove tremendously helpful for travelers in unfamiliar locales, there are numerous other ways you can take advantage of this technology. For example, if you already own a detachable GPS unit for vehicles, just use the one you already have. Secondly, since virtually every smartphone is equipped with a GPS app, you can simply use your phone in place of a dedicated GPS unit. 

Vacations and other ambitious travel excursions can set you back quite a bit. Between airfare, lodging and meal costs, certain trips stand to leave a sizable hole in your finances. That being the case, it isn’t hard to see why so many travelers won’t even entertain the possibility of renting vehicles. While there’s nothing wrong with being frugal, it should be noted that renting a vehicle is far more affordable than many travelers realize. Provided you heed the pointers discussed above, getting a great deal on a reliable rental car should be well within your abilities.  

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