Submit Government Guide
Rent-a-Car Advice and Tips
can save you money and a lot of hassle. We learned point 5 and 6 below the
1. Check with your insurance
or credit card company in advance to see if they will cover any damage done to
the car. You will be offered insurance from the rental agency which adds quite a
bit to your daily rental fee.
Check off-airport rates. When traveling to an airport, realize that the airport
branch of the rental car agency charges more than a local branch, sometimes
We recently traveled to Austin, TX and found out that airport rental agency
charged almost double the rate when compared to non-airport rental car agency –
same company! So we took the hotel shuttle to our hotel and called a local
branch to come pick us up. We saved $90.00 over a two days!
Understand all the taxes and fees that you will pay. The final rate is much more
than the advertised daily rate for the car. Every city is different, airports
are more expensive, some agencies have expensive one-way drop-off charges.
(Enterprise had no drop-off charges at the time of this article but their
policies were not uniformly accepted by all local dealers in the U.S. Call
ahead and check with your drop-off location.) If you rent in NY your price
is going to have some HUGE taxes added on, compared to renting across the river
Check for weekly and monthly rates. You might get a lower rate by keeping the
car a full week than six days. Negotiate.
Inspect the car thoroughly! Sometimes they move the cars out fast to accommodate
a busy line of people, but on the way in they may look the car over very
carefully. This is especially true if you’re doing a one way rental between
cities. Don't feel pressured when you inspect the car going out.
We rented a car in Orlando, Fl airport. The site was busy and we pointed out a
few scratches which they noted on the contract but we were under pressure to
move quickly. We drove up the coast and turned the car in 1 month later in New
Jersey. We had no bumps or accidents at all. But… the rules were a little
different in the new location. The management was very particular and we got the
idea that they didn’t really want to take the car in, although they said
everything would be “no problem”.
The branch manager noted a quarter-sized scratch on the bumper (which had been
there) and pointed out that the bumper was slightly tweaked. I could barely
notice this, but after he pointed it out, I could see that the bumper line was
slightly altered. Well, he wanted to report it and it was going to cost us
plenty, including our insurance deductible and a host of charges not covered by
our insurance, just because we hadn’t noticed it when we took the car out. So we
decided to not turn in the car at that dealer and instead went to the airport,
where they received the car without any problem. This burned an entire day but
we were grateful we didn't have to pay for the damage we didn't cause. We now check our rental cars
6. One Way Rentals: We rented one way from
Enterprise in Orlando. We thought we could turn the car in during our time
with family in Ohio where we didn't need a car for a week and then re-rent a car
to go one way back to California. Sounds easy but franchise owners have
different rules and rates then the corporate stores. They wanted a dollar
a mile in addition to our rate!!! We took the train home. Once
you get a one-way rental, I recommend keeping it the entire time, or call in
advance to make sure you drop off and pick back up.
Rental car agencies will negotiate, especially if you have a better price
elsewhere. Get your best price and then go the agency you prefer and ask for a
price match. You would be surprised at the 'wiggle' room their is.
If you have a portable navigator, bring it! If you don’t, get a rental with one
installed. It helps tremendously. BUT... don't trust it completely.
Their maps are not always updated and they can lead you down a dead end, or to a
gas station that burnt down off a dark turnpike at night near a graveyard.
(happen to us!). You've still got think your route through.
Have a paper map with you to refer to. Also realize that a navigator can
find you the shortest route, or quickest, but not necessarily the 'safest'.
For example: On a highway in a city, if you need to use a bathroom, you
can have the navigator take you to the nearest restaurant or gas station...
which might be in a dangerous neighborhood, or you may have to drive through a
dangerous route. Don't take the navigator voice as the gospel truth!