Summer in full swing and so are the summer festivities that go along with the warmer weather. Baseball and softball games, outdoor concerts, weddings and road trips are often on the calendar as much anticipated events. But all of these events could mean extra mileage for your vehicle depending on their location.
Driving is an everyday event for most people, but if you are taking a summer road trip, the cost of these extra miles can add up. For longer road trips, renting a car could be a better alternative than driving your current vehicle on your trip. It saves mileage and wear and tear on your personal vehicle while giving you the opportunity to test drive a newer make or model. If you plan to rent a car for your summer road trip, here are some ways you can save money in the process.
Don’t Prepay for Gas
The rate you’ll pay at the car rental desk if you prepay for gas is often way higher than current gas prices at the pump. If you only use a quarter of a tank but you pre-paid for a full tank, you won’t get a reimbursement for the gas you didn’t use. To save money on gas, make note of where the gas marker is before you leave the rental lot and fill it back there when you return the vehicle, unless your rental agreement specifically states to return the car with a full gas tank.
Go With a Smaller Vehicle
If you are doing city driving during your summer road trip and your rental options are either a huge SUV or an economy car, go with the economy car. It gets better gas mileage, plus you don’t have to worry about parking a large vehicle.
If the SUV is cheaper, and sometimes this happens, look at how much driving you will be doing and the cost of gas so you can see which is more economical for your summer road trip. Another perk of reserving a compact car is that if they are all gone with you get to the rental counter, you could be upgraded for free!
Don’t Pay for Extra Insurance
Your personal insurance usually covers liability in a rental car, and most people won’t wreck the vehicle during the rental duration anyway. Getting extra insurance is ultimately up to you, but most of the time you won’t need this extra coverage.
If you reserved your rental car with a credit card, check to see if your card covers rental insurance. Most credit cards cover liability and auto-body. Just be sure to read the fine print so you know what is and isn’t covered.
Shop Around for Deals
Brand loyalty isn’t always the best way to save money, so when you get ready to rent a car for your summer road trip, check for travel packages and specials that may be going on. This can save you hundreds on your car rental depending on the length of time you’re renting a car and how far you plan to drive it. You can also rent your car through Expedia as they normally have some of the best rates available.
Take Advantage of Reward Points
If you travel extensively for work, use those mileage reward points to get a better discount on your rental. Credit card reward points can also be an option to help you save money on your car rental. Affiliate memberships, such as AAA or AARP, provide rental discounts or specials that could be advantageous too.
Are you planning a summer road trip? Will you rent a car? How else can you save money when renting a car?
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