How to Spend Money Wisely » Travel

10 Ways To Save Money On Car Rentals

Renting a car can be a frustrating and expensive experience. But with a bit of planning, you can save money on your car rentals and enjoy the ride!

  1. Look for the best price on travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity.
  2. Call the rental companies directly and see if they can beat the price you found online.
  3. Additional discounts on car rentals are available through memberships with CAA or
  4. Do you work for a large corporation? You may be able to get a discount or preferred service through their contract with a rental agency.
  5. Choosing a smaller car will not only save you on the price of your car rental, but you’ll also save money on gas to run it.
  6. There is often an additional fee to pick your car up at the airport. You can save some money by taking a taxi from the airport to another rental office. As a bonus, this may also save you the hassle of long lines at the busy airport rental office.
  7. Skip the car rental insurance. Through either your regular car insurance or possibly even your credit card, you may have enough coverage to not need the loss damage waiver (LDW) and collision damage waiver (CDW) that car rental companies will pitch to you.
  8. Look for any scratches or dents on the vehicle before signing the papers and driving away. When you return the car, you can be charged for any damage not listed from the original report.
  9. Fill up the car’s gas tank before you return it. The rate the rental company will charge is much higher than what it will cost you to fill it yourself.
  10. Find out how late the car can be returned without being charged for an extra day.


  1. Aaron

    Good idea about the pick up fee. I will have to look into that next time. Cabs are expensive though.

    Not only will checking with your current insurance or credit card help save you money, but it will save you time too. The folks at the desk can be real pests about selling you upgrades because that’s how they make money. If you are confident you’re insured, you can move along a lot quicker.

    Very true about previous damage. And if they say, ‘we’re only worried about things larger than a quarter,’ get the employee to write that down on the inspection sheet.

  2. jeff

    Car rental companies can make a killing on charging insurance to clients when they rent cars from them.

  3. Anne

    When we rented in CA half a year ago, I got the best price by shopping online + looking for discount coupons. I did call other companies on the phone but no one could beat the price I got online.

  4. Anthony

    Most insurance companies will add coverage for non-owned vehicles – such as renatal cars or dealership loaners – at a very small price. Well worth it if you are not covered by your credit card.

    • Fred Schebesta

      That is a great tip. I am going to give them a call now and inquire! Thnx

  5. George S.

    I ALWAYS use Hotwire for my car rentals for the following reasons: the rates can’t be beat, you always know to the penny what the cost is going to be; it’s always at the airport; and it’s always unlimited mileage. Beyond that, I don’t care who I rent from!

  6. Joe Lahey

    Lately Priceline and Hotwire are giving the best prices. I suggest checking the rates at hotwire and bidding a few dollars below that on priceline.

  7. Cryant Richards

    Nice post. Simple and practical tips for car rental customers like me. I just rent a car in Israel with Avis and I’ve read a couple of do’s and don’ts beforehand so I didn’t have much of a headache.

  8. Tina

    You are right about checking prices online first and then calling. I can ‘sometimes’ get lower prices by doing that. Other times with some employees that do not care, they will just say,’the price is the price’.

  9. sherlin

    Most of the people is not charged for any sort of upgradation but this is something about which one needs to make oneself aware with this true factor of timing especially when you become late .So to avoid this sort of service ,read the terms and condition carefully.

  10. Traveler

    Very good the tip no 8, but is difficult to manage when they are doing on purpose. Be aware of ZOOM rent-a-car. Their strategy: a tourist waiting for the shuttle for the airport; I signed for a 5 cm long scratch on the bottom of the bumper. An out of visibility area (checked very first time). I was charged 530 CAD (5 working hours and 100 CAD for the paint!!!!). Outrageous!!!

  11. Traveler

    The dispute with ZOOM rent-a-car was solved. Following a complaint sent to the manager, a better solution was put in place. Managing his employees will be another thing to solve for a better business.

  12. car for hire

    Massive cloud of reasons why you need to go for the car hire services.If you are in a foreign land, it would be hard for you to navigate around the areas you need to visit and effectively use your GPS gadget when using a cab or public means. Having a personal vehicle can save a lot of funds and hassles as well. This is why you should go for car hire services when you are in a new place and want to have convenience with you and comfort.

  13. MightyTravels

    Great post! I found the discount codes with Avis are giving me the best
    price usually. I used about half a dozen and it’s normally 50% (often
    80%). I never had trouble with the rentals and had some spectacular
    Mercedes upgrades in Europe.

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