Are you planning to hit the road? Well, finding the best way to rent a car rental is a whole different ballgame than hunting for cheap flights or affordable room rates. That’s because the various factors at work in car rental pricing are not only hard to understand, but also benefit the company instead of the consumer.
Many travelers believe that shopping for car rentals is a waste of time as the rates offered are almost the same, but that’s far from the truth. Car rental rates do vary (sometimes even greatly) from one company to another, depending on model, day, availability, location, etc.
Related read: How To Find Cheap Flights?
Whether you need a new set of wheels for a business trip or vacation getaway, these hacks will help you save money on car rental for your next road trip.
Save Money on Car Rental: Top 5 Tips to Get Cheap Car Rental
1.When Is The Best Time To Rent A Car
Is there a best day or cheapest time to rent a car? Not really, but it’s the general consensus of opinion that travelers should try to book their car rental at the earliest date. During peak holidays, make sure your booking is done at least six weeks in advance to avoid the possibility of unavailability. Some travelers, though, prefer booking much earlier to get the very best rates.
2.Remove Browser Cookies
Related Read: How to Delete Cookies Automatically at Browser Exit?
3.Get Coupons for Discounts
By using company coupons available on the internet, you can get an additional discount for your car rental. Simply type the name of the car rental along with the year (SIXT rental car coupon code 2018, for example) on Google, and coupon sites like retailmenot.com and groupon.com will list the discounts codes.
4.Visit International Versions of Car Rental Websites
Since the prices of car rentals will vary by the origin of the website, browsing through its alternative versions such as (.ca) for Canada or (co.uk) for United Kingdom may reduce the price. However, you will require a VPN to take advantage of this hack and avoid being redirected to the local version of the car rental website.
5.Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
In case you aren’t already aware, car rental websites use also your IP address and location to determine how much you should be charged. Therefore, clearing your cookies alone will not help in reducing the prices of your car rental. Using a VPN is the best way to rent a car, as it allows you to change your IP address and save BIG on your car rental booking.
Not only this, a VPN will also enable you to browse for car rentals from a location where it’s the cheapest. For instance, US residents may find cheaper rates for car rentals than, let’s suppose, UK residents. All you would have to do is connect to a server in the US, and explore the best car rental rates from the UK!
How We Saved Up To 70% on Car Rentals Using a VPN?
So, how to save money on car rentals? This question has troubled every traveler looking to plan a trip without breaking the bank. Well, here’s a quick look at how one person saved 70% on car rentals with this simple trick:
Note: The following is a case study of how a certain someone used PureVPN to save money on car rentals.
Let’s suppose that Mike wants to rent a car in San Francisco. He visited different car rental websites and got varying results.
Sixt offered him a Hyundai Accent or similar (Five seater, automatic, 1 piece of baggage) at a hefty price of US$34 with one benefit of unlimited mileage.
Priceline, on the other hand, offered him a Nissan Versa or similar (Five seater, automatic, 2 pieces of baggage) at reasonable price of US$26 with unlimited mileage and the option to choose your rental car service.
Price or Policy?
For an extra two bucks, Fox Rent a Car offered him a Toyota Yaris or similar (Four seater, automatic, 1 piece of baggage) via Expedia Car Rentals with added benefits like reserve now pay later and free cancellation plus unlimited mileage. If Mike is unsure about his trip, he can cancel it without incurring any extra charge which makes this option worth considering.
In general, Mike was able to save 24% off the price by using comparison websites like Priceline.
Now, Mike changed his virtual identity by using PureVPN and he obtained the following results for different countries.
Note: All Prices are in US$.
Enterprise Rent a Car offered him the option of a Kio Rio or similar (Four seater, automatic and 1 piece of luggage) via Rentalcars at the cheapest price of US$17 with added benefits of free cancellation, booking amendments, and book now pay later.
After connecting to PureVPN, he was able to save approximately 64% (i.e. US$30) in cross domains and 71% (i.e. US$42) on the same website. However, a lower price wasn’t the only thing he was able to avail by changing his IP address!
Mike was also shown attractive policies meant for foreign travelers…
For example, when he connected to a German server, he was offered a Ford Escape with benefits like no prepayments at pickup, unlimited mileage, and shuttle to car, all at a price of US$28 – just by connecting to PureVPN!
How People Around the World Save Money & Find Cheap Car Rentals?
While using a VPN is undoubtedly the cheapest way to rent a car, we wanted to find out what other ways travelers use to book cheap car rentals. We reached out to them and asked to share the best way to rent a car, and here’s what they had to say:
- Natasha Rachel Smith is a Personal Finance Expert from Top Cash Back.
“The best way to save money on your rental is by renting via smaller, regional chains and independent agencies. Just because they’re smaller it doesn’t make them less reliable. They might not have all the bells and whistles but those small companies are most likely to give you a better deal. A car is a car and shouldn’t cost you more than needed.
Also look for rental places away from the airport to save a couple bucks. Search for the lowest price on the web and make sure taxes and fees are included in the price. Just a few minutes of rental car research can save you a significant amount. Car reservation through TopCashback.com and you will receive a percent of the cost back as a cashback rebate with popular brands. You can also purchase a rental car via travel sites such as Expedia.”
- Ernest Shahbazian is the founder of Trip Astute.
“If your card has rental car insurance benefits, it may be worth declining the insurance offered by the car rental company. You can now purchase liability-only insurance for often cheaper, especially if renting for a longer period of time. This works great for folks that have the rental car insurance benefits on their credit card, but want to add the liability insurance just to be safe. Since a lot of people now rely on ride sharing and public transport, or choose not to own a car, this can be a great option to protect yourself when renting a car.
Also, Refill your own fuel. Rental car companies are notorious for charging high prices when it comes refueling your vehicle. Skip the service and fill up your car’s gas tank before returning the car. Better yet, if you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, check and see whether they have any gas stations in the area. Apps like GasBuddy can be very useful in getting the latest prices for stations near you.”
- Andre Arriaza is a travel blogger at Barcelona Eat Local Food Tours.
“I usually travel and rent vehicles in different circumstances, and by experience, I tend to rent in airports. Prices are usually cheaper, probably because of a demand issue. I even do this when I am traveling through an airport, provided the fact that it is easily accessible by public transport and not so far away.
As well, when I am buying airplane tickets for traveling and I do know I will rent a car, I explore the combo options of buying altogether, it is usually cheaper. For this, I use sites such as Expedia or eDreams.”
What Car Rental Companies Don’t Want You to Know?
Car rental companies employ a variety of ways to determine your location so they can increase their rates whenever needed. Some of these include:
- IP Address & Cookie Tracking: Your IP address identifies your exact location, while cookies keep track of your browsing activities and preferences.
- GPS Tracking: Websites can use the GPS of your device (when it’s enabled, of course) to find out where you are located.
- Geo Location Coding: With the help of HTML5 coding, websites can track your exact location and coordinates at any given time.
A variety of factors are considered by car rental companies (like the IP address, point-of-sale and chosen payment currency) while determining the price that you will get for your car rental. This is exactly why you may have to pay more than someone else in another part of the world, even if you are car rental needs are similar!
Therefore, the trick to get the best deal on your car rental is making it appear like you are booking from another location with cheaper prices. And let’s face it – there’s no better way to change your virtual location and access any website from anywhere than PureVPN!
A vast majority of travelers don’t scrutinize as critically as they should when it comes to car rental shopping. However, this approach would only cause your road transportation costs to go up higher – straining your travel budget in the process!
We hope that you found the car rental tips in this guide useful, and will now be able to save huge bucks on car rentals for your next road trip. Safe (and cheap) travels from the team here at PureVPN!