Rental cars: 5 tips to drive a hard bargain
Renting a car might be getting pricier soon, but you can still save money if you know where to look and what to say.
Along with airfare and hotel, renting a car is one of the Big Three expenses when you travel. But while everyone talks about how to find cheap fares and cheap rooms, no one talks with the same fervor about how to find the best wheels deals.
And there's never been a better time to seek out car rental tips, because the landscape may soon get more challenging as Hertz and Avis fight to take over Dollar Thrifty. (Update: Dollar Thrifty shareholders have rejected the Hertz bid.) A deal will mean less competition and potentially higher prices.
Let's start with a news story I recently shot. Check it out, then meet me on the other side for more.
As I mention in the video above, there are five easy and not-often-talked-about ways to save on a rental car. Here are some more details:
And speaking of asking, asking for a free upgrade never hurts. It's amazing what a nice smile, some kind words and a simple request can do -- at the airline ticket counter, at a hotel front desk, and at the rental car counter.
- Auto insurance quiz: Covered or clueless?
Then there's the standard rental car advice, which is pretty well known but worth repeating: Shop around for prices by searching the websites of the major players, check out discount and name-your-price travel sites like Priceline, fill up the tank when you return the car, and check your credit card coverage and car insurance policy before you leave home because you might not need the expensive insurance from the rental agency.
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