Time is money and knowledge is power! Keep these 5 tips in mind when renting a car and you could save yourself time, money, or both.
1. Your credit card may provide FREE insurance if you use it to pay for your rental
Make sure to check with your credit card company BEFORE purchasing the added insurance offered when you rent a car. This is called Collision Damage or Loss Damage Waiver (CDW or LDW). You can save from $10 to $30 on insurance fees if your credit card company includes it as an added perk just for being their customer.
Your credit card may offer free rental car insurance
Don’t buy CDW or LDW
Save $10 to $30 per day
2. Renting a car at the airport will always cost you extra
All car rentals at the airport include a concession fee (up to 10% of the total rental charges) paid directly to the airport. The rental car company will always pass this fee on to the consumer, so you will save yourself money if you arrange to rent your car at a location other than the airport. For example, if you’re renting a car in Belfast, you’ll probably pay less if you take an airport shuttle into the city to rent a car rather than renting at one of the Belfast airports–George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD) is only 3 miles from the city center, while Belfast International Airport (BFS) is 18 miles away. Of course, renting your car at a non-airport location takes more time than picking it up directly at the airport so you’ll have to weigh the cost of the added fee vs the benefit of time saved. Keep in mind that this strategy will certainly pay off on a longer rental.
Don’t pay a 10% airport concession fee
Rent your car at a non-airport location
3. Drivers under the age of 25 will always pay a surcharge
If you are under the age of 25, you will be charged an added fee of up to $30 per day. Most rental companies don’t rent to drivers under the age of 21, but those that do charge an even steeper fee of up to $75 per day. Outside the US, it is also common to see surcharges on drivers over the age of 70. Always check ahead, as surcharges vary by country and location.
Added fee of $30/day for drivers under 25
Added international fee for drivers over 70
4. Bringing your own “extras” can save you money
If you’re traveling with small children, a car seat is mandated by law in most countries. Renting a car seat will cost $10 to $25 per day to rent theirs. And since you may be navigating in unfamiliar territory, be prepared to pay $10 to $20 per day for GPS. Satellite radio may also cost an added $10 to $20 extra per day.
- Save money by bringing your own car seat, GPS or satellite radio
5. Fill the car up with gas before you return it
It is much cheaper to fill the gas tank yourself at a nearby station rather than paying the rental company to fill it. This is true just about anywhere you rent a car — the rental company will charge you a much higher cost per liter/gallon than a local station. If you’re short on time and have to return the car with less than a full tank, be prepared to pay for it! Also keep in mind that you will NOT receive a credit if you overfill the gas tank.
Save money by filling the tank before you return the car
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