We usually consider traveling as a positive expense. Whatever happens, we always take something home with us from the trip, whether it’s a small memento or a great story. What we don’t enjoy, though, is wasting money especially if it could have been easily avoided.
For instance, we understand that there are times when renting a car simply cannot be avoided. But if we’re thinking about what to spend money on, making rental car mistakes surely isn’t one of them. If you’re reading this article right now, then chances are, you don’t too.
Hence, join us as we list the different mistakes that people tend to make when renting a car in hopes that in doing so, we will be able to better avoid them in future trips.
Saving Money while Renting a Car: 6 mistakes to be avoided
Where to rent your car, no gassing up, failing to check accurately the car before picking it up… Sounds familiar, right? Let’s see our 6 tips for rent your car without financial mistakes.
✈️ Renting Straight From the Airport
One of the reasons why we rent a car while traveling is for our own convenience. This is also the reason why a lot of car rental companies are stationed at the airport because they know that a lot of people are just going to rent cars anyway, even with the added surcharges. If there’s something that we have learned when we were just starting a business, though, it’s this: a little preparation can go a long way.
There are a lot of off-airport rental services available if you just do your research before the trip. What’s more, is that most of them offer transportation from and back to the airport if you only take the time to do the reservations. Honestly, we even find it more convenient this wayーto have a car waiting for us already. We won’t have to deal with long lines and crowds anymore.
At the same time, we need to remember that “time is money”, so it’s preferable to rent a car at the airport in many cases (you don’t waste time to pick up your car and you avoid the risk to miss your flight…).
>> ✈️ Read also: Is It Cheaper to Rent the Car at Airport or Online ahead of Time?
👨💻 Not Doing Enough Research
Speaking of which, another costly mistake that you can make when renting a car is not doing enough research. Don’t just settle for what’s already in front of you. We highly encourage taking the time to shop around to score the best deals. There are even websites such as Rentalcars, AutoSlash or CarRentalSavers now that make the job easier by allowing consumers to compare prices between rental companies.
>> Read also: How to Evaluate a Car Hire Company –> rentcar360.com/evaluate-car-hire-company
We also encourage you to check for available coupons and discount codes. You can find a lot of them online as well, especially during off-peak seasons.
🙅🏻♀️ Refusing to Join the Club
We understand if you don’t feel the need to join the car rental company’s loyalty program if you’re only going to a particular destination once.
However, if you do believe that it’s a place where you will keep returning to (or if the company has branches all over the country)…
…then we definitely believe that rewards program worthwhile.
This will not only give you access to promos and discounted prices, but it will also allow you to enjoy certain perks such as being able to skip the long line and just drive right off.
There are also companies that offer free miles, upgrades, and other features at no extra cost, especially for their most loyal patrons.
⛽️ Not Gassing Up
We understand that a lot of us don’t really have the time to fill up before returning. It’s easier to just pay for the full tank price anyway, right?
This is the bread and butter of car rental companies. They won’t care if your tank is still half-full, or only a hair away from being topped off. They’re still going to charge you for a full tank anyway.
So take the time to drive by the gas station and fill her up. We promise you. It’s worth it.
👍🏽 Saying Yes to Extra Features
Do you really need the GPS if you have a navigation app on your phone already? Is getting this feature really worth the extra $10 per day?
How about a car seat if you have already brought your own? Parents will also be pleased to learn that there are a lot of airlines now that allow travelers to check a car seat at no cost.
To be honest, borrowing a car seat from a rental company can cause us a great deal of anxiety. First, most of them are not as hygienic as you’d hope.
How will you know if the previous user didn’t vomit on it, or made a mess? Were they able to clean that up to our personal standards? Aside from that, how safe are they to use? Is there a way to know if they have been in an accident before? That’s right, there’s no way. But even so, you’re still going to get charged at $10 to $15 per seat daily.
Unless you’re getting these features for free as a member of their club program, then you’re probably better off without these upgrades.
🔎 Failing to Check the Car for Previous Damages
Here’s a costly mistake, probably the most common and dangerous one: skipping the checking process and finding out later on that you’re going to have to pay for a scratch that was probably already there before you even rented the unit.
Play it safe and smart by taking the time to inspect your car before driving off. You can also take time-stamped photos of any damage that you have spotted just to document evidence in case they are needed.
Finally, don’t just leave the car upon returning it.
Have an employee do a walk-around with you for one last inspection. It will give you some peace of mind and can potentially save you from getting billed hundreds of dollars for something that you weren’t even aware of.
⏱ Failing to Return the Car on Time
Finally, make sure to get the car back upon the agreed time. Not a moment earlier or later (that’s why it’s better to rent the car at the airport, in some cases).
You might think that it’s a good thing to return your car early, but there are actually companies that charge their customers an early return fee if the car is back a day or two early. On the other hand, you can suffer from being charged a full extra day if you return the car late.
Hence, just remember to check the fine print carefully to ensure that you have your return info right.