You’re headed out on vacation and are debating whether to rent a car for your time away from home. Even if you’re driving to your vacation spot, a car rental can be a prudent investment, but there are some steps you can take to make the most of your car rental dollar.
Shop, shop, shop. The Internet is one of the best things that could ever have happened to comparison shopping. It takes only a little time and effort to get prices, terms and conditions for almost any product or service you can imagine, and a car rental is no exception. Start your shopping as early as possible because some car rental services will give you discounts for early reservations.
Shopping early will also help you plan your trip because you’ll have an accurate idea of what you’re going to be spending on your car rental. That’s much better than being blindsided by a price you can’t afford that will put your entire trip in jeopardy.
Beware of contracts and terms. Any car rental company is going to require a contract. This is equally true of the legitimate companies and those that are less-than-scrupulous. But you should never sign a contract without reading it carefully. Yes, it will take some time. Take it to a chair, sit down and read.
You may think there’s really no need to read the entire contract. After all, the nice sales clerk has assured you that you’ll owe only $29 when you return the car, and that IS what the company advertises on television. But the reality is that the contract overrides both the advertisement and the contract. If the contract calls for a $29 base fee with a surcharge of $2 per mile for every mile you drive, that’s what you’ll owe at the end of your trip.
When you pick up your car, check the odometer. Even though they’ll assure you that they read the odometer and that this is the mileage indicated, you should check for yourself. If you’re paying a “per mile” fee, even a few miles difference could be costly.