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How-to-Guide: Save Money on Rental Cars
Written by LOZO
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Here is the official LOZO step-by-step guide to getting the best price on a car rental. Have an even better suggestion? Add a comment below. We'll add all of the best ideas here to make this the perfect guide to renting a car.1) First, find the lowest rates on rental cars at Hotwire. See what size/price combination seems like it will work best for you (sometimes it is only $1 or $2 more per day to get a slightly larger car). Be sure to look at the “total” price which includes all taxes and fees. This is the price you are now going to try to beat.
2) Visit a comparison search engine, such as Kayak, to find which rental car companies are the ones offering low rates (note these down). The rates are probably higher than Hotwire – for now – but you will try to get them lower with coupons.
3) Try one of these options to get the best coupon offers, and match these with the low rates you found in step 2 (you take the coupon code and enter it at the company’s website and see what your resulting rate is; you might try different coupons at the same place to see which gives you the best discount):
- Best: If you own an entertainment book, look at the offers inside or go here (don’t own a book? Buy one here)
- Better: If you are an AARP member, visit here
- Better: If you are a Costco member, visit here
- Good: Everyone else, check out a good summary list here
4) Now you should know the best rate (either Hotwire or whichever company gave you a better deal after the coupon). Take the “Total” cost and divide by the number of days. That is your “all in” daily rate. Now we will try to get even lower!
5) Visit Priceline and click “bid now” under the banner “name your own price®”. Enter your info. On the next page, you can offer a price. Pick a price lower than your best “all in” daily rate so far. Just remember, if Priceline accepts your bid then you are locked in so make sure you are ready to commit! If they turn down your bid, maybe try again with a slightly larger or smaller car size, and a slightly higher bid. Check out Betterbidding.com for Priceline bidding strategies.
6) Note: if you require special vehicle type or one-way rental, first visit Expedia to see which companies are offering what you need. Then check each of the company’s websites directly to check and compare prices.
If you want to read more, SmarterTravel.com has a nice “Step-by-Step Car Rental Booking Guide”