While it’s easier for travelers to find flight deals, it becomes ultimately difficult for them to find the right rental car deal as this is often seen as an uncharted and bewildering territory. While it’s true that we don’t ride as often as we should, but this shouldn’t be a reason for us to allow confusion get the better of us.
Whether it is for a quick getaway over the weekend or a cross-country trip with your significant other, these tips will help you get the cheapest deal for your next road trip.
1. Avoid rental cars at the airport
This is an oldie but also a goldie. Avoid renting cars at the airport due to the imposition of extra surcharges that you can definitely do without. Plus, the airports are often filled with other travelers who are searching for deals as well as you are which makes demand high and queues longer. But when you visit off-site locations, you could get rentals at cheaper prices except for some few cases such as in big cities like New York which might be an exception to the rule.
Before you book for a rental, check for a discount that applies to you. If you work for a company, there could be a company code that scores you discounts at some of the major car rentals in Kuala Lumpur. Some of the popular rental agencies offer discounts to companies – you can check for this before you book online. You can also check with the rental company or the HR company at your firm before booking.
3. Book Multiple Rentals
This is a new trick with car rentals where you can book for multiple cars and then cancel as the rates get lower. Unlike with flights where you might incur a fee if you cancel a reservation, with rentals, you can cancel a reservation as long as it’s done beforehand. Once you cancel, you can then re-book once you notice prices fall.
4. Skip insurance
This can be tricky but it’s important nonetheless. Insurance helps protect you while driving a rental. While we don’t expect you to get involved in an accident, things happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry or worse, sued. You can place a call to your insurance company to inquire about the insurance needed when driving a rental. This allows you to skip unnecessary insurance and saves you cost of up to $50 per day.
5. Stay away from Free Upgrades
As much as possible, stay away from free upgrades outside of a member program. It doesn’t exist. The only time you can accept is when your location is out of the car class you reserved or you’re picking up on a slow weekend and the agent is super friendly. You might get bumped from an economy to a compact.
6. You can buy upgrades
Well, not exactly, but you can get it for free in equivalent to the amount it would have cost you if you purchased it. Just don’t roll in and demand it. It puts agent off and will largely be ineffective or put the agent off and will make it difficult for them to help you. But if you come up with your AAA membership card and they can identify you as a savvy bargain hunter, you will likely be rewarded with a bargain discount that you could have paid for. Also, if you plan to purchase extra insurance or prepaid fuel, start the conversation with that. Once an agent realizes that you’re doing them a favor, which they will likely be rewarded for, they are more likely to give you a break on your upgrade.
7. Book in advance but check rates often
The best time to book is ahead of time and check the rates regularly to monitor them. Once they fall, request your price adjustment. Most rental agencies have a software that links to third-party online travel sites that adjust prices listed online and the company’s available inventory.
8. Agency Website is not Important
Booking directly through the agency’s website won’t save you much money. There are discount travel sites (wahdah.my) that you can get discounts from if you search for them. They include Expedia and Orbitz. Often times, these websites pull from the same rate tables with only a slight difference between them and sometimes, the best discounts could be gotten from the company’s website or buying directly.