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Planning a Car Rental

July 21, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Planning a car rental

With rising gas prices, driving causes more headaches than it used to. When traveling, though, you may need to rely on a car rental. There are ways to save money if you plan well. Next time you’re looking for a quality, affordable car rental, consider the following:

1. A car rental at the airport sometimes costs more than at a nearby agency. Compare prices ahead of time; it may be worth taking a taxi a few miles to pick up the vehicle at a different rental location.

2. Choose a no-frills car rental. Many less-luxurious cars get better mileage.

3. Car rental agencies usually have better deals on compact cars. If you don’t need the space, why pay for it? Compact cars also get better mileage.

4. A car rental is usually more costly if you pick up the vehicle at one location and drop it off at another. However, consider the price of returning to the original locale. Is it cheaper to pay for the gas or for the drop-off? This might sway your decision a little.

5. Car rental agencies offer prepaid fill-ups when you return the vehicle. Compare their costs with the gas pump prices and decide ahead of time which is a better deal.

6. A weekly car rental usually costs less than paying for five or six days alone. If you’re staying just under a week, you may want to pay this rate and return the car early.

7. Avoid purchasing insurance from the car rental company if possible. Many credit cards cover car rental insurance; in the event of collision or theft you’ll be taken care of. Check your credit card agreement ahead of time.

8. Save the extra driver cost by choosing a designated driver. Some car rental agencies charge more to add a driver.

9. Look for car rental coupons in travel magazines or an Entertainment book. Agencies also give discounts to AAA and AARP members. Be sure to inquire about available deals.

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