How to Score Affordable Car Rentals for Your Next Trip

More tips and tricks for renting cars without breaking your vacation bank.

Tip No. 1: Understand second driver policies

Most places will charge you if they find out that you allowed a second driver to get behind the wheel. So, if you want to share driving duties on your trip, you should ask about these policies in advance. If there is a charge for another driver, consider if it’s worth the added cost. Just remember that if you try to fudge it and get caught, it can lead to penalties.

The same is true for other policies. If the car is no smoking, you could incur fees for cleaning if they think that you smoked in the vehicle.

Tip No. 2: Don’t double up on insurance

Car rental companies always offer insurance in case you get into an accident or debt the vehicle while parking. But it’s not always in your best interest to take it. The reason? You may already be covered through another means.

There are two ways that you could be covered without buying insurance through the rental car provider:

  1. Your own car insurance policy may offer coverage for driving rental cars.
  2. Your credit card may offer a collision damage waiver to cover deductibles.

If either of those are true, then you probably don’t need the insurance the rental company offers. You can skip it and save some money. Regardless of which coverage you use, always review the policy carefully to know what’s covered and what’s not.

Tip No. 3: Consider gas consumption before you hit the road

When it comes to fueling up a rental car, you usually have two options:

  1. You buy a discounted tank of gas from the company before you hit the road
  2. You agree to cover any refueling charges after the fact

Which option you use really depends on your driving needs during the trip. If you’re planning on driving a considerable distance away from the airport on your trip or you’ll be hitting a lot of different places in different directions, it makes sense to get the full discounted tank. However, if you only plan to drive to the hotel and back again, then a full tank isn’t worth it. Instead, you should skip the discounted gas and just fill up at a station near the airport.

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