5 Ways to Save on Your Next Car Rental

Looking to cut some costs on your upcoming vacation? These budget-friendly car rental tips could save you a bundle.

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Money-saving car rental tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

How to Get the Best Deal on a Car Rental

Whether you're heading out on a road trip or travelling for work, a car rental is often the most convenient way of getting around—especially if the first leg of your trip involves a flight. (Here's what smart travellers always do before a flight.) The cost of a car rental can be a real budget-buster, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you know where and how to shop, you can save a lot of money on the rental car you need without giving up the comfort, style and features you want.

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Car rental agency loyalty programPhoto: Shutterstock

Join the Car Rental Agency Loyalty Program

Simply signing up for the car rental agency's loyalty program could entitle you to perks like an upgrade to a full-size or luxury car for the price of a mid-size. If you are not yet a member, consider registering. Even if you never use that company again, the money you save right now could make it worthwhile.

If you're already a car rental loyalty program member, check your point status to see if you're eligible for any discounts or upgrades. You can save a lot of money or even qualify for a free rental.

Looking for travel inspiration? This is the best country in the world for a road trip.

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Car rental discounts with airlinesPhoto: Shutterstock

Check with Your Airline For Car Rental Deals

Many airlines partner with specific car rental agencies, so check with the airline you're flying with before booking a car for your trip. You may also be able to use your frequent flyer miles to save money on rental cars, so check your current balance and see if you qualify for a discount.

You should also try these six tricks to save on gas.

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Car rental package dealsPhoto: Shutterstock

Consider a Package Deal

Many airlines offer discounts on package deals (booking the vehicle and flight at the same time). A package deal that includes flight, rental car and hotel could save you even more money. Check the price of each part of your trip separately, then compare that cost to the cost of a package deal. In many cases you will find that the price of the package deal is far better than you could get on your own.

Check out five budget-friendly vacation tips you'll wish you knew sooner.

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Rental Car Tip #4: Call Your Credit Card Company

Does Your Credit Card Offer Car Rental Discounts?

The optional insurance coverage is one of the most costly parts of any car rental, but the good news is, you may not need it. Many credit card companies will cover damage to a rental car if you use their card to book the reservation.

Be sure your credit card offers full coverage before declining the optional insurance. You don't want to get stuck with paying for damage to a rental car. In some cases your personal auto insurance also covers damage to rental cars, so call your insurance agent, too. (Here's what you need to do within 10 minutes of having a car accident.)

Find out more ways to upgrade your vacation with these credit card travel perks.

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Compare car rental deals onlinePhoto: Shutterstock

Search For Car Rental Deals Online

Always check online before reserving a rental car to investigate current promotions, discounts and perks. You can start with the website of the rental car agency you plan to book with, but be sure to check their rates and specials against competitors' websites as well. You should also consider consolidator travel websites, including Priceline. They compare discounts and offers across a wide variety of companies, and can help you find offers you may have missed.

Next, get to know the sure signs you're falling for a bad car rental.