Getting a cheap car rental is often an afterthought. You may prioritize getting affordable flights and hotels only to get stuck with costly rental car rates. But your next trip doesn’t need to work out that way! Believe it or not, it’s possible to get a cheap rental car. By knowing what you need and doing a little research online, you can save a lot of money. Here’s how to add an affordable rental car to your vacation itinerary.

Compare Rates

One big mistake when renting a car is just going with the first company you find. However, there are many rental car services out there. You can easily compare rates from more than 33 rental car providers online. Online tools make it easy to search by city or airport and date and time. When you see all the possibilities compared with one another, it’s just a matter of choosing the company with the best value.

Avoid Airport Locations

Many vacationers procrastinate getting a rental car until they arrive at their destination. The problem is that airport rental locations often have higher rates. Book your car away from the airport to save big.

Search for Coupons and Deals

There are plenty of discounts for rental cars you can find. It’s just a matter of keeping your eyes peeled and signing up for alerts from rental car websites. You can easily score up to 25% off rental car rates.

Consider Off Brands

You don’t always need to go with the big names. When you’re looking for a rental car on a budget, it’s a good idea to look at what smaller and local chains have to offer. There are plenty of smaller agencies that deliver quality services.

Pre-Pay for Your Car

Paying upfront is always the way to go. If you wait to pay when you pick up your car, you can end up paying as much as 35% more than if you would’ve paid ahead of time.

Know What You Need

Determine what to expect while road tripping, and what type of car and how much mileage you need beforehand so you can budget appropriately. You don’t want to end up paying for more car or more mileage than you’ll actually use. If you have a smaller group, it’s smart to opt for an economy or compact car, such as a Ford Fiesta or Toyota Yaris.

Consider Weekly Rates Even If Your Trip Isn’t That Long

Weekly rates are often better deals than daily ones. Even if your trip is only three days long, you may be able to save by opting for a five-day rate.

Check Your Coverage

Your personal auto insurance may cover rental cars. Some credit card companies even offer affordable insurance options. Sometimes, insurance bought directly through rental agencies can be costly and ineffective.

Forego Unnecessary Add-Ons

While a navigation system or extra protection plan may sound tempting, it’s usually best to forget them. You generally don’t need bells and whistles when it comes to a rental car.

Fill Up Your Tank

You can save a lot by opting out of fuel plans. Just fill up the tank before returning it.

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