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Budget Travel - Get The Best Deal On Your Rental Car

Aug 25, 2008
The rental car can be a big vacation expense, and getting the best deal you can on the transportation you need is important to keeping your vacation fun while staying within budget.

One way to keep costs as low as possible, of course, is to choose the smallest, most economical car you and your family are comfortable with.

Choosing a compact, subcompact or economy car makes sense on a number of levels. For one thing, such cars are generally less expensive to rent in the first place.

The other important consideration, however, is gas mileage. You as the renter of the car will be responsible for keeping it gassed up, including topping off the tank before returning it.

Buying a car that gets great mileage will definitely help your travel budget stretch farther.

If you need a larger car or minivan, it is important to shop around for the best deal you can find. While it is important to shop around no matter what type of car you are considering, it is even more important when trying to rent vehicles for which there is a lot of demand, like convertibles, minivans or SUV's.

Shopping around at a number of travel related web sites, as well as at the web sites of the rental companies themselves, is usually the best way to land the best deal.

The length of the rental can have a large impact on the cost as well. Weekly rentals are often far less costly than a comparable daily rate spread over a week. So if your vacation plans are for a week or more, be sure to inquire about special rates.

Joining a frequent renter club, or using the same rental car company each time, is a great way to get some special coupons and some very good deals.

In addition, most car rental companies partner with at least one airline to provide frequent flyer miles or other types of rewards when you rent a car.

In addition, many airlines run bonus programs where you get extra miles or extra credit, so be sure to inquire about these bonuses when making your reservation.

Another great way to save money and keep your rental car budget low is not to buy things you do not need. In most cases, this means waiving the optional collision insurance coverage offered by the rental car company.

Many rental car companies really push this insurance, but in most cases you are already covered and can safely decline it.

For instance, most automobile insurance policies already provide collision coverage for rental cars, so be sure to check with your car insurance company before starting to plan your vacation.

Even if your insurance company does not cover your rental car, chances are one of your credit card companies does. Many credit cards provide coverage for rental cars paid for with the card, so be sure to check with your credit card company to see if they provide this coverage.

Another method to keep rental car costs to a minimum, and one that many people are unaware of, is renting a used car. There are a number of large national companies, and a number of smaller local companies as well, that rent used cars at a much lower price than comparable new cars.

In most cases, these cars are only a few years old, and they provide the same protection, and the same transportation as more costly new cars.
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