Road trips were a huge part of my childhood. I have extended family all over the country and we were constantly taking trips to visit them or just to travel.
My dad has taken many trips across the country and prefers the road to the air so he can see the sights along the way. He also loves to book rental cars. “Why put the wear and tear on your own car when you could drive someone else’s?”
So whenever I fly home to visit, I try to book rental cars so that my parents don’t have to drive 2 hours to the airport (I am from the middle of nowhere) and that way we can have an extra car while I am home.
These are my top tips for booking rental cars.
- Price Watch + Refundable Bookings
If you are traveling outside of the holidays, car rentals actually seem to go down as you get closer to the date. Certain travel sites will even let you book fully refundable rental cars, I’ve done this before with Orbitz. As soon as you know about your plans, book a refundable car and then price watch till the day you pick up the car and see if you get something better. Hotwire is one of my favorite booking sites, they don’t tell you the company but usually you can’t beat the prices. They also usually offer promo codes if you opt in to get their emails and cash back via Ebates. These cars are usually not refundable so only buy them once you know it’s the best deal.
2. Don’t Pick the Car up at the Airport
Rental cars are way cheaper if you book them in the city vs. at the airport. Sometimes this is impossible due to your travel plans but check to see if the estimated uber ride to the car lot might be worth the amount you’d save.
3. Check Your Work Perks
Sometimes large corporations offer discounted company rates for employees even if you are not traveling for work. Check your benefits to see if this might apply to you. Be sure to check both the corporate code and whatever codes you’ve found on your own. Some companies are locked into rates and you’ll save more booking a last minute deal than you would at the negotiated price. Research is key!
Happy road tripping!