A good vacation can often become even better with the addition of a rental car. While your hotel may be willing to pick you up, you can’t beat the freedom that comes with having your own car with which to get around town or take day trips. Renting a car entails an array of options that can be bewildering. Keep the following tips in mind to minimize your costs and maximize your enjoyment.
– Shop around. The Internet can be a great place to search for good rates on a rental car, and some companies provide Web-only discounts to renters.
– Check out weekly rates. If you’re going to rent a car for five days or longer, it may be cheaper to pay for a weeklong rental rather than to pay by the day, particularly if you’re renting during the week when daily rates tend to be higher.
– Make sure you understand the full cost and scope of the rental. Car rental agreements sometimes come with added costs or stipulations that can turn what initially looked like a great deal into a mediocre one. Be sure to find out whether there will be any fees tacked on to the price you’re quoted, and check to be sure the rental agency will be open when you need to pick up and drop off your car.
– Consider manual transmission. Outside of the United States, rental cars with automatic transmission can be expensive and hard to come by. Thus, if you’re traveling internationally and can drive a stick shift, you’ll probably be better off renting a car with a manual transmission.
– Reserve your rental car in advance. Booking your car ahead of time can save you money and ensure that you get the vehicle you want. Reserve your car at least seven days before your trip.
– Bring your own car seat. If you’re traveling with small children, you may get walloped by the per-day fees rental companies charge for car seats. It may be more economical to bring your own or rent a minivan with child seats built into it.