When you travel, cheap car rental is a must. Traveling is expensive enough without spending more money than necessary. Too often drivers pay more to rent a car than they should just because they do not want the hassle of dealing with the agency. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to pay the least amount of money on your rental.
Reserve Rental Car
You can save money by booking your rental in advance. It is nearly impossible to simply show up at the counter and expect to get a good deal without a reservation. Your costs can be particularly high during peak travel times including holidays and weekends. Not only will you pay more, you will probably have a long wait.
When you are ready to book a rental, you have more time to shop around and compare rates from multiple rental agencies. If you absolutely must rent a car and are unable to make a reservation, consider smaller companies and those that are not located in prime spots such as airports. You will find those options to be less expensive in general.
Get Gas Locally
Many rental agencies provide the option of making sure you have a full tank of gas when you pick up your rental. That cost is passed on to you which can be 100% increase over the actual cost. You can save quite a bit of money if you fill up the tank yourself.
There will be plenty of gas stations nearby so you will not have to worry about finding one. Just give yourself sufficient time to actually stop and fill up your tank. You always want to make sure the tank is full when you return it because if the agency has to fill it up in preparation for the next customer, they will pass that cost on to you as well.
Protect Yourself from Damage Claims
Since most drivers have cell phones today, it is a good idea to take pictures of the cheap car rental before you leave the rental agency. Make a note of any prior damage and make sure the agency is aware of it so they are not able to hold you responsible. It is frequently upon returning a rental that these types of "hidden" fees become apparent.
Inspecting the rental thoroughly from the onset can save you money and the aggravation of fighting a damage claim. You will want to check the interior as well as the exterior. Document every flaw from door dents to upholstery stains. Cheap car rental is not a guarantee unless you do your part to get the lowest rates.